Ruminations from the Arizona Room is a series by Dr. Elizabeth Oakes, a former Shakespeare professor, a spiritual writer, and an award winning poet. A Sedonian of four years, she will share the thoughts that arise as she sits in the literal Arizona room in her home as well as the metaphorical “Arizona room” that is Sedona.
By Elizabeth Oakes
(March 13, 2017)
I have often said that unless there is one line in a poem that just comes, the poem will not, as Emily Dickinson called it, “breathe.”
Examples abound of ideas, images, and words just arising. In 1797 the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge heard the lines of “Kubla Khan” in a dream. Upon awakening he rapidly wrote down the lines until interrupted from his altered state.
It’s not only the arts. Einstein said, “All great achievements of science must start from intuitive knowledge. I believe in intuition and inspiration.”
Our imagination links us to the place that holds everything. In an effort to access this, some time ago I sat in my Arizona room and asked the universe for one sentence each day.
Sometimes what came was a declarative statement, sometimes I was the one spoken to, and sometimes I was the speaker.
Here are some of them:
There is a fine line between thinking oneself the center of the universe and being centered in the universe.
The higher self is not so much the guide as the pathway.
In your past is both your gold mine and your mine field, your gold mind and your mind field.
What looks like chaos in the material world may simply be the fallout of the universal plan/plane re-organizing itself.
The ego is not meant to be our GPS system.
The mind can recover from its pose of dominance, the heart from its illusion of fragility, and the spirit from its subterfuge of invisibility.
I don’t want to live in a gated community of the heart.
There’s a reason it’s called a keyboard – words are keys!
Let my heart be like the universe – ever expanding
Many times failure is just a different kind of success than we had in mind.
And sometimes “the universe” was funny, as, for example, this one, with a play on the word “sentence” as jail time! Your sentence is to live in the material world.
In this experiment, what arose from me was a sense of myself as a filament, as opposed to a figment, of the imagination.
Note: the image was part of an exhibit in 2015 in Cape Town of South African and Australian Aboriginal art sponsored by the Square Kilometre Array project. Its purpose was to enable “ancient peoples who have been doing astronomy for millennia and today’s astronomers” to share their insights, noting that the two groups just use different tools for understanding the universe.