My husband and I were vacationing with some friends in Florida. One overcast morning we decided to take a sightseeing tour in their car for the sake of something to do to. Leaving the raw, magnificent ocean that fronted the property of their gated community behind, we ventured forth to the second largest fresh water lake in the United States: Lake Okeechobee. Once the site and cause of numerous storm disasters, Lake Okeechobee had been tamed over the years by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who built 20' high dike around its perimeter along with channels, locks and levees.

For a time, only the four of us walked on the fenced-in cement walls near the East lock. A family of four joined us in time. While nodding politely at one another, we learned that they were from Brazil. Their son, a six, perhaps seven year old, took to me like a fly to fly paper and began pointing out one cocodilo after another. They were, in actuality, alligators. Lake Okeechobee is a fresh water lake, the preferred habitat of alligators. Crocodiles tend toward salty waters. That much I knew.

Side by side, could I tell a croc from a gator? Not hardly. But a who’s who in the world of amphibians didn’t matter to me much as I figured that either one of them could bite my leg off in a single chomp. That bit of certainty made me keep my distance from their slimy-looking pools at the water’s edge in spite of the boy urging me toward a closer view. I finally smiled a warm smile and moved away from the young crocodile hunter and his obsession with the beasts.

Leaving my husband, friends, and the Brazilian family behind to tend to themselves, I walked out onto a dock or deck of whatever you wish to call it. I was contented to stare out over the flat plain of the water and sigh a sigh of total relaxation. In all honesty, I didn’t consider the lake or surrounding area to be very pretty. But then I suppose one woman’s not-so-pretty is another’s flower garden or some such thing. I know enough to appreciate the fact that we perceive things differently and can acknowledge that my point of view is not the only viable one. I did find great beauty in a moment of not having to do anything, of just being nothing, having no opinions, no needs, nothing to prove to anyone. That was sweet.

Self-absorbed, I wasn’t sure how much time had passed before I felt a presence. The Brazilian family’s ten year old or so daughter stood beside me. We nodded at one another before turning back to stare at the water. Later, my husband noted that from the back, we looked like family. We were two dark-headed females, one tall with a womanly figure and one shorter, barely shoulder height to me, with a slightly plump shape. Perhaps in some other lifetime, we were family—mother and daughter, sisters, cousins—not important to know, merely an observation.

Pointing at the birds overhead, while slipping her other hand into mine, the young girl spoke with a rhythmic softness. Unfortunately, my wee bit of high school French was useless; none of her Portuguese words held any meaning for me. I offered an apologetic shrug of my shoulders and she stopped trying to get me to understand. We stood still and listened for a time to the bird sounds above our heads.

Then it happened. The child spoke to me, not in her native language, but in telepathic images. She said that she could get out of her body, her soul could that is, and fly in the sky with the birds. Did I believe her? Could I do that as well? Yes and yes, I nodded at her, my eyes misting. She smiled at my confirmation and the world stood still. It was one of those moments in eternity that happen when all conditions are just so and we are present as a witness, as a willing participant, as one who is connected to life in the most profound of ways.
Words from paul Twitchell come to mind here: “Soul of man is the experiencer of life.” 1

It takes a precise alignment of time and matter, movement and stillness, births and deaths to create such moments. Will we miss all that colossal orchestration because we are too shy, too disbelieving, too unaware, too shut down, too preoccupied with desiring a moment other than the one we are in? I suspect that most often we do miss out, leaving the moment behind with only a glimmer of the possibility we foolishly let slip by us.

I have a favorite book: The Magus.2 Author John Fowles’ main character observed a decided madman communing with God. Of this madman, he wrote, “He was not waiting to meet God. He was meeting God....” I gasped when I first read that. I gasp even now. How do we become that which we seek? How do we move from the point of living in anticipation of something grand (or being completely blind to it) to the point of living in it? Must we become madmen?

Let’s suppose that we decide to have at least one gloriously, outrageously beautiful brain-dissolving moment each day. What would we have to do to surpass the mundane and experience the profound? Perhaps we would be required to...

Stop being afraid all the time and welcome the surprises in life.

Stop meaningless talk and embrace the revelations that rise up out of silence.

Stop relying on a mechanical way of acting in order to get by and just be here now.

Stop and listen with more than our ears and listen with an awakened heart.

Our tender sensibilities conjure up all sorts of unnecessary self-protection devices and thereby stifle the possibilities. We need to stop that. A child from another continent and I touched one another’s very souls that glorious day of days. We had both let go of the seemingly impossible outer appearances and entered into an arena of other possibilities. That’s what we need to do.

I still think about her from time to time when I watch sea birds circling in a clear sky. I wonder if she ever thinks of me. Maybe, if I become very still, I can hear her.

1. The Tiger’s Fang (ECKANKAR 1967, 2003) page119
2. The Magus by John Fowles (Triad/Granada 1977) page 308

Copyright 2009

Author's Bio: 

Jo Leonard is a spiritual adventurer. Her passion in life is to share the knowledge she has gathered after a lifetime of searching for God. You can visit her website at and join the journey. Look for her latest book, The Would Be Saint, on