While passing through the Honolulu airport I stopped for a moment to look at some items in a shop window. A female security guard approached me and struck up a casual conversation. She asked me where I was headed, and I told her I was on my way to Japan to teach some classes. “What do you teach?” she asked.
“I help people get in touch with their passion and purpose and live authentically,” I told her.
She lit up. “Then give me some tips, would you?”
I asked her what was going on in her life.
“I’m the single mother of nine children,” she told me. “Most of my time goes to my kids.”
I placed my hand gently on her shoulder. “Is there anything you would like to do for yourself?” I asked her. “What could you do to nurture your own spirit?”
Tears came to her eyes as she showed me her hand. “I’d just like to get my nails done. That would make me feel pretty.”
I smiled and told her, “Then please do get your nails done. You’re worth it. You give so much to your kids. You deserve what makes you happy.”
The woman smiled and told me, “I guess you’re right.”
As I went on my way I thought about the fact that she was a security guard. We generally think of security as protecting our body and possessions from people who might violate them. Yet when we live in fear or a constant need to protect ourselves, we violate our spirit—a far greater injury than any that might occur to our possessions. Real security operates at a much deeper level than people who stand at the doors of banks and airports.
Oddly enough, when I returned from Japan I had another synchronistic encounter with a security guard walking through the airport parking lot. Our caretaker had come to pick us up, our family of dogs waiting eagerly in the back of our SUV. As the guard passed, he saw the dogs and told us that he missed his beloved companion dog he had to put down over a year ago. “I’m still grieving,” he confessed, the burly morphing to a little boy as he spoke. My partner Dee, sensitive to the man’s open heart, asked him if he would like to hold our Maltese, Nani. He took the little dog and began to pet her affectionately. As he did, we could see the fellow melt, on the verge of tears. He lingered in snuggling for a long time, obviously not wanting to let go of the little cutie. Finally he did, and told us, “It’s time. I need another dog. I will get one.” We wished him well as he went on his way. A Course in Miracles talks about “holy encounters.” That was one.
Real security is an inside job. You can take elaborate means to lock down your home, store, or computer programs, but if you are afraid, you are insecure. On the other hand, you can take few or no measures to protect your stuff, but if you feel safe in the universe, you are extremely secure.
After dealing with a health challenge, my friend Bette decided to turn her life into a trust walk. She did things no one else would do, like leave her keys in her car ignition while the car was parked at a New Jersey mall. One day Bette picked up a young hitchhiker who told her that he had left his wife after a fight, but now he was going home to reconcile. Bette offered him the use of her new car to get home to see his wife. He promised to return the car early that evening. When he didn’t show up, Bette wondered if she had made a mistake. Finally he arrived with his wife, and both of them thanked her profusely for helping them get back together.
I am not suggesting that you leave your car with the keys in it or lend it to someone you don’t know. I am suggesting that safety and security are states of consciousness we choose.
We are protected not simply by locks and gates, but by Higher Power. My friend Cliff Klein, an avid Course in Miracles student, heard someone in his Brooklyn apartment bedroom. He investigated to find that a burglar had entered through the fire escape. The man began to flee, but Cliff told him to wait. He asked the guy what was going on in his life that had caused him to break in. They had a heartful talk and Cliff gave the man some money to get some dinner. Cliff’s faith transformed a potentially dangerous situation into an altar of healing.
Bette and Cliff were ordinary people with extraordinary faith. My encounters with those security guards were ordinary moments that led to extraordinary results. You and I have the power to transform any situation, especially ones in which we feel insecure, into a demonstration that we have a security team functioning at a far more profound level than eyes can see. We are always secure if we remember the Source of our well-being. As the proverb declares,
“Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there.”
Alan Cohen is the author of I Had it All the Time: When Self-Improvement Gives Way to Ecstasy. Join Alan and other renowned teachers in Maui this December 7-12 for an extraordinary Course in Miracles Retreat: Coming Home to Love. For information about this program, Alan’s books, free daily inspirational quotes, and his weekly radio show, visit www.alancohen.com.