Being Present for the Miracles

(photo used with permission by Michael Coschignano Photography)

Being Present for the Miracles

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”

 –Thich Nhat Hanh,

The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

What is a miracle anyway?  I never understood the nature of miracles until I started to make an effort to be present for when they happen!  Take yesterday, for example.  Jim and I went out for pizza for dinner.  We took our usual route home, which included driving by a lake near our home.  As I glanced at the lake, I did a double-take! There, on three little islands with clumps of trees in the middle of the lake, sat literally hundreds of white egrets.  I shouted, “Look!” so loud in Jim’s ear that he nearly went off the road!  We drove to the little parking lot next to the lake and I took about a dozen pictures of the amazing sight.  It was truly stunning to see these beautiful birds, brilliant white against the green evergreens and the orange, setting sun!  A couple walked by and I asked them if they knew anything about this roosting “event.”  Lo and behold, they said it happens every night at sunset!  I never knew such a miraculous event happened so often, so close to my house and I had never witnessed it!

According to Andy Karr of, most of us in contemporary society perceive the term “miracle” as something that is supernatural and superhuman, extraordinary and highly improbable, amazing and outstanding. There is another sense of the word that could be more interesting for those interested in mindfulness.  Miracle originally comes from the Latin miraculum, meaning “object of wonder.” We might agree that the greatest miracle is freedom from the bondage of life’s suffering, directly experiencing reality, fresh, just as it is. This is the miracle that is available to anyone who wishes to see it.

For me, nature is a virtual cornucopia of miracles.  Another example was a recent morning walk with Hunter, my energetic, six-month-old Welsh Terrier.  We had just set out and Hunter was pulling on his leash – nothing unusual.  Then, he suddenly veered off the road near a clump of bushes.  As I struggled to keep him under control while he tried to chase a rabbit, I came face to face with a wild blueberry bush, at least 6 feet high.  It was bursting with fat, ripe blueberries.  This bush was literally four houses away from mine, at the edge of a wooded area.  Why hadn’t I noticed it before?  Blueberries are my favorite fruit and I grabbed a handful to take home.  Surely, this discovery was a gift, if not a miracle.  My delight at finding this blueberry bush set the tone for a day full of pleasure and gratitude.  A miracle, indeed!

The Washington Post once conducted a little experiment. They had one of the best violinists in the world, Joshua Bell, play one of the most intricate and challenging pieces of music on a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. But this time, he played incognito in a metro station. After playing for 45 minutes, he had collected $32. Only a handful of people even paused momentarily to listen. No one stopped or recognized that the person playing had only two days before, played to a sold-out theatre in Boston with the average ticket price of $100 a seat.

Makes you wonder – what incredible, miraculous and beautiful things are we walking by each day without noticing or appreciating them? As we do our work today, interacting with colleagues, attending to the needs of patients, families, clients and participants, let’s keep our minds attentive and our hearts open to the moments of beauty which present themselves for our enrichment.  (Jim Andrews, Suncoast Hospice Director of Spiritual Care)

Here are some tips for bringing more miracles into our everyday lives:

  1. Try seeing something with more love –  the way you view your body,  the way you think about yourself, the way you see someone in your world
  2. Look for opportunities to start afresh. See every moment with new eyes and choose a new path to walk.  Maybe it’s meditation.  Maybe it’s showing gratitude to a loved one.  Maybe it’s letting go of something that you’re clinging to.  Choose a new path to walk your life.
  3. Forgive yourself and others. It’s amazing how miracles happen when we stop dwelling in punishment.  Practice loving kindness meditation for yourself and others.


Ordinary Miracles 

by Erica Jong


Spring, rainbows,
ordinary miracles
about which
nothing new can be said.

The stars on a clear night
of a New England winter;
the soft air of the islands
along the old
Spanish Main;
pirate gold shining
in the palm;
the odor of roses
to the lover’s nose. . .

There is no more poetry
to be written
of these things.
The rainbow’s sudden revelation–
The cliché is true!
What can one say
but that?

So too
with you, little heart,
little miracle,

but you are
no less miracle
for being ordinary.

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