By Nicolae Tanase
Q: Angela, what is the meaning of life?
Angela Farmer: At the age of three or four years, I knew without a doubt that I came from the sun and that all I had to do was shine!
Each night at bed-time my brother and I knelt by our mother to repeat a simple prayer that included the line, “Please forgive me for my sins”.
One day I stopped and said, “I don’t think I have any sins”, to which my mother quickly replied, “Oh yes you do”. I was quite clear in my mind that the day had flowed without a shadow, so I said again, “No there were no sins today”. Back came the sentence that blocked out ‘my sun’ with a big cloud,
“Well you were born in sin”.
Now there was no escape and from then on guilt and shame colored my life. Sometimes I felt guilty for things I never did, ashamed for simply being who I was!
My ‘inner sun’ never fully left but I had lost the pure shining light. From time to time over the years windows of ‘peak awareness’ opened and I would catch a glimpse of beautiful light, clarity, overwhelming beauty and deep wisdom. These momentary awakenings, when time stood still and my consciousness expanded gave courage, insights and fresh direction in life, inspired my practice and teaching and brought me together with Victor to this sacred valley of olive trees near the sea on the island of Lesvos Greece.
Here the healing powers of Nature abound and I can slip back inside to a place so ancient and yet familiar … far back inside my body like withdrawing into a cave where I feel safe and can receive……
….receive impressions, sounds, information, advice from the invisible beyond me or deep inside and most important of all…..love. I receive the love of the plants, the cold sea, the hot thermal waters, birdsong, animals with their mysterious ways and sometimes people.
In opening to receive, strange as it may seem …… we are received!
It seems to me that the meaning of life though different for each of us, has much to do with stopping, becoming aware of our breathing and just feeling grateful to life … the fact that we are alive! From there everything else happens. Our senses open up, our muscles relax, we begin to feel back in to our bodies and although it does not stop the painful things that happen, the pain, the losses, the grief …those too are part of this experience, those too will pass.
This experience became even more poignant recently with the Refugee arrivals on our shores just a few meters from our home. To have such intimate, heart-rending connections helping people you have never met before, who speak another language, wear different clothes and have risked their children’s and their own lives to cross the sea in an over-crowded raft or boat, was a gift and life-changing opportunity. A chance to step back and receive and thus be received by these open and most warm-hearted people. To hug strangers, dry babies, find food and clothes for them realizing they were our family too became the gift.
Life has so much meaning now when I remember to return inside and simply be present. I become then one with my surroundings, a tiny part of this mysterious thing called life and my soul no longer yearns to fill the gaping hole made so long ago.
I receive so much from the trees, the songs of birds, from the waves I swim through and the wild winds of this island that after 75 years, the little child has found again the sun inside and shines!
Of course it is a work in progress and will continue to be so, no doubt until I die but life has enormous meaning now…not in words but in the living.
Although hard to see sometimes in the tragedies that happen around us in the world and in our personal lives, each breath and every time we soften back behind the eyes, behind the heart we expand and are there to hold, to feel, to see, to taste the pain, the joy, the magnificence of it all in this moment.
Teaching Yoga courses together with Victor on Lesvos and offering workshops and Womens’ retreats around the world.
Original article published in Excellence Reporter