Any experience itself is never lacking. We may perceive lack in the experience, but the experience itself is full.
Love creates a container – a safe space – within which to experience oneself and heal. Love offers security to go through hardship. To offer and receive love even when it is challenging to do so offers the deepest experience of love.
The universe is a giant river, always flowing. Everything is in the process of disintegrating. A hundred years from now our bodies will be gone as will most of the things we’ve used on a daily basis. A million years from now there will be no buildings and no recognizable formations on this planet as we know them now. A few billion years from now there may be no earth and no sun. Everything is created in loving detail for only a moment, only to dissolve in the river of life to never be experienced in the same again. Loving non-attachment is the foundation of all creation.
Wholeness is a function of presence. Lack of presence usually entails seeking something in the future or the past. This seeking takes us out of the present moment into an alternate moment that offers some perceived value outside of this moment. Were you to experience the fullness of the moment and wholeness of yourself, presence would be natural. Our lack of perceived wholeness relates to our relationship with time. We use time to search for wholeness until we realize that we are whole as we are. Then we no longer lose ourselves to the future or the past.
Wholeness is reclaimed through presence because it acknowledges that nothing is lacking as we are. Our being exists across time. In the wholeness of that being is everything that we are and this moment is a perfect expression of that being. This sense of wholeness can be found in the full presence of the moment – this moment. Right here, right now.
I’ve been thinking about how each person is a world unto themselves. We all have so much going on inside ourselves. So many emotions and thoughts. Each person has this complex landscape of activity going on inside their head. We live in an external world where all these inner worlds are interacting.
I have a world inside myself, you have a world inside yourself, and then we interact with each other. It’s like two iceberg tips passing by each other across a distance, neither one fully realizing the depth of the other.
People often try to find some path, some sort of universal truth that we can apply to ourselves and everyone else. Something where we can say, “this is the right way to live.” Yet how can any one person conceive and understand how all people should live? Ironically, as we begin to fully embrace our own individuality we begin to look for one path to truth that can accommodate all individuals. In the process of actualizing ourselves we don’t realize that others are similarly actualizing in an equally unique way. Each person has their own path to truth. By recognizing that on a collective level we can hold space for true individuality to emerge.
As individuals we are acutely aware of our personal perception of reality but less aware of our collective experience of reality. Is there a collective awareness that somehow functions as a sum of all individual experiences? And, if so, would it not make sense that there are aspects of our reality that we cannot fully understand purely from the basis of our individual awareness? How do we open ourselves up to tapping into this collective awareness and becoming more aware of our own true nature?
One bridge to bring these pieces together is deep listening and empathy. To allow yourself to truly feel the other person. To allow other people to change you. How often do we have conversations where we disagree with someone and automatically respond with our opinion? We don’t step back to listen deeply and aspire to understand the other person. We are consumed by the perspective of our own awareness. We try to change the other person, instead of letting the other person change us. If you can deepen your listening and come to a deeper place of understanding, you’ve been changed. In a sense you’ve tapped into a certain collective understanding by expanding yourself from your personal perspective. You’ve engaged in a real dialog instead of a debate. In this way, it’s not a matter of being right or wrong, it’s a matter of growth – learning from our common humanity.
There is the potential to recognize common humanity in every person. That crazy voice in your head, your insecurities, your fears, the things you suffer, all those things are in the other person as well. Your hopes and dreams, your desire to be recognized, to be loved, to be validated in some way or another, all of that is in the other person as well. The world that is me is not dissimilar from the world that is you. Your insecurities are likely not much different than mine. And if I seem different when you talk to me, well rest assured that you do too.
Knowing is less important than learning. Remaining open and always being curious. It is the curiosity itself, the willingness to be open, the increasing capacity to learn which is liberating. The willingness to be open takes love because it requires us to constantly unattach ourselves from what we have learned. As human beings, we crave identity and validation, which knowledge provides. Knowledge thus liberates and simultaneously binds us as we become captive to it for our sense of self worth.
The delicate balance lies in learning to learn without attachment – in loving ourselves so much that we need no external input to validate who we are. This involves both an open love towards ourselves and a curious love about the world around us. Less about knowing more and more about becoming better, more open learners; becoming more receptive to life itself.
When we become dependent on external factors for how we feel about ourselves (what we do, who we’re with, what we have), our energy shifts. The difference can be subtle (or not) but profound. It is the difference between being an energetic giver or an energetic taker. As long as we are looking for something outside ourselves for how we feel about ourselves, we are taking energy from a situation. Our intention may be well meaning, but the awareness of our full intention is lacking.
By becoming firmly established in our being, we are able to participate in the world without selfish motive. We are able to engage others with genuinely pure motive because we are not looking for them to contribute to our sense of self worth in some capacity.
This is difficult to understand and see. To observe it we must deeply examine our motivations for why we do what we do to recognize that we are most likely looking for some form of emotional validation in most of our actions. Once we can clearly identify that energy, we can examine why that validation is important to us. Can we find that satisfaction, that wholeness of being, without the external stimulus? This wholeness is a function of our being – it is our birth right. It is present in every moment, we just need to become aware of it.
Being affects our very relationship with time and space, both of which we often use in pursuit of some form of validation. If we can become aware of this self perceived lack we can begin to engage in each moment as a whole being. Not looking for the moment to satisfy some expectation, but rather experiencing the fullness of the experience itself. This is the wonder of life, the miracle of every moment.
This last Burning Man I sliced my finger deeply and had to get eight stitches. Interesting enough, cutting my finger has turned out to be a “deeply” rewarding lesson…
I have observed that the human finger is made up of many layers and that each progressive layer, as you go deeper, is more sensitive. As the finger heals, part of the healing involved is the gradual reduction of sensitivity. In fact, at some point the finger looks almost entirely healed but is still much more sensitive than the other fingers. It continues to lose sensitivity as part of the healing process as the skin thickens to protect against the environment.
I am struck by the likely similarity to human beings in general. We are all so sensitive. Our hearts are so tender. But we have so many layers of armor. Healing, for many people today, is a process of reducing sensitivity because the outside world is so harsh. It’s hard to be exposed because it would be too much for our sensitive hearts. And so, our natural survival mechanism is to develop a thick skin. Much like the skin on our fingers we can’t really shed that skin but we can train our skin to be more sensitive.
A few months ago a friend of mine was teaching me how to sharpen a knife using a stone. He had his fancy Japanese blades and was showing me how you shave one side of the blade against the stone and then at some point this produces an overhang. Then you flip the blade, shave off the overhang and you’re done. You can’t actually see the overhang, you have to feel it because it’s so fine. He could feel it easily. I couldn’t feel it at all. We tried over and over, and I maybe barely felt it at the end. Maybe not.
My take away at the time was that that was a practiced sensitivity. With practice I could train myself to feel that overhang with my finger just like him. Maybe if I tried sharpening that blade right now with my healing finger I could be more sensitive to the overhang. I could certainly learn how to feel it with my regular fingers with enough practice.
My point is that emotional sensitivity is much the same. The way we are with other people, the way we perceive the world, the way we are with ourselves. We have so many layers to work through, but the sensory input is there. We just have to cultivate a sensitivity. Hopefully without having to slice ourselves in half.
Today, as I was browsing my Facebook feed, I felt uplifted to see all the love that the people I’m connected to are sharing. I feel blessed to have so many amazing people in my life and to be alive at a time when it feels like more and more people are living from their heart.
And then I saw something so deeply horrific that I can’t get it out of my mind. A video of soldiers burying people that are still alive and moving. I don’t know what nationality the soldiers are and I don’t have an ideological point of view on the video other than deep sorrow.
Are you pro Palestine? Are you pro Israel? Pro Russia? Pro Ukraine? Pro USA? Pro Afghanistan? Pro Democrat? Pro Republican?
How many sides do we need to take before we realize there is only one rational side: pro peace. Pro sharing this planet without destroying it and each other.
If you’re reading this, you have the benefit of higher consciousness. You have the capacity to see the world through a different lens.
What is right and what is wrong? Thousands of years of human history have brought us to this point. Do we blame each other? Do we blame the previous generation? Our ancestors? How far back should we go?
That terrorist? He’s the product of 14 billion years of universal evolution and was crafted by the circumstances that brought him to this moment. He has a family. Do you believe that any child is born wanting to blow himself up? He’s blinded by righteousness which was built into him by his environment. He didn’t choose that environment.
Is there a side here? Are we not one people sharing one planet? Those people on the “other” side, they’re fighting for what they believe in. They barely have a choice. And you might feel that they barely give you a choice. But you have a choice to recognize that they too are human. There is no ideology that will ever make that not true. We all have a choice to bring more love and compassion into our judgement. We all have a choice to rise above the judgement of others and stand for something greater than who’s right or who’s wrong.
Love doesn’t mean letting them kill you. Love is in your heart. Love is what is behind your thoughts, your actions, and your words.
Does the earth recognize our national borders? Is our blood any different because of national or religious identity? Does anyone step back and ask: what are we _really_ fighting for? Ideology? Land? Resources? Is any of it, any of it, worth even a single human life? Would you personally be willing to kill a person for your ideology? Yet every day we take sides that continue the cycle of hatred and violence.
We all participate in this world. All of us. We make the world the way it is and, just like terrorists, we are a product of our circumstance. We’re all human beings living in a crazy world trying to do the best we can.
I am human. This world is hard for me too. I read the news and my heart hurts. I too am numb to it. And when I try to go deeper my eyes well up with tears for everyone involved. So much violence. Too much hatred. Us vs them. Me vs you.
It’s time we stopped hating each other and started forgiving each other. Started forgiving ourselves for the way we treat each other.
It’s time we all looked in the mirror and asked ourselves if we have what it takes to create a peaceful world.
I look at my Facebook feed and I see so much love and light. And I ask every person reading this – can you extend that love to the people you hate? Can you find it in your heart to rise above right and wrong and be an ambassador of peace? Can you stand for peace in every action and every word?
Our great strength may be accepting our weaknesses. As humans we are all somehow flawed (one might say it is our imperfections that make us perfect). Certain weakness is inherent in our nature.
The human condition might be summarized as the experience of overcoming ourselves. Yet some limitations may simply be ingrained in our personhood and, in pursuit of their conquest, we cause ourselves undue misery. In this case, perhaps the greatest strength is acceptance. In this acceptance we find love for ourselves exactly the way we are. Rather than fighting with ourselves, we accept and, in fact, overcome through that acceptance.