When I was in ninth grade, our philosophy teacher gave us an assignment to write an essay on the meaning of life. I had just finished reading Wayne Dyer’s “Your Erroneous Zones,” which left a deep impact on me. In my essay I plainly stated that the meaning of life is to simply live it in its fullest expression and I quoted Blake’s famous verse:
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour”
A week after that, my philosophy teacher handed out the graded essays back and mine was full of red exclamation marks. I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad, and I tried to decipher his comments. As if he had read my mind, he then proceeded to rave about what I’d written in front of the class. There was a glimmer in his eyes, a restored hope in the student body, an excited confirmation that his efforts were not wasted in vain. Apparently he was in agreement that life’s purpose was to simply live it. I felt proud and accomplished, having been able to deliver a satisfactory answer to such a fundamental question that had always haunted humanity. Life was ahead of me, and as Rilke put it, all I had to do was to:
“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final”
The simplicity of Being
The other day, while walking on the trail, Life gave me a little more detail on what this whole thing is all about. What is the purpose? To expand into Love. We all have our own unique path, our own navigational system. Love’s expressions do not have to be grand, they can be as simple as a smile, an honest and sincere “How are you?” question and hearing the answer with love and kindness. We all stumble and fall on this path (way more than just once), but this is how it is supposed to be. Every time we get up, we put ourselves together differently, not necessarily better, but with more knowledge, more understanding, more gentleness and compassion towards ourselves. It’s not about being perfect and not making mistakes. Are there mistakes at all? Or is everything simply an experience and isn’t that what we are here for? To experience it all, to get a feel of this and to get a feel of that. It is about the contrast and finding the golden middle in between. The good times and the bad times, the fun times and the sad times – they all comprise a whole, without one the other would not be able to exist. We are doing all of this together, the process we call living. There is so much beauty and so much terror in the world. If I focus on the latter it brings me down, if I focus on the former, it elevates my soul.
At some point in the middle, there is this dwelling place, for even in the midst of all the terror, all the ugliness, of all the sorrow and harshness of life, there is that glimmer of hope, the dream that comes alive, that helps you to keep going. This is the vision that creates the world of tomorrow.
Our reality is a reflection of who we think we are.
What is time, anyway? Is there such a thing as past and future, or is it one all-encompassing now? How much of our anxiety and depression will simply lift away if we master living in the present moment. Remember when you were a child, how did that feel? How everything was exciting, how you existed in a permanent sense of wonder. How the smallest of things could send you in bursts of uncontrollable laughter. Go back there. Just be for a moment. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you – whether it is birds singing or the hum of the air conditioner. Let your thoughts pass by and don’t identify with them. Let them float, one after the other, like clouds in the sky. Who are you? The idea of personhood. Can you be the same person throughout your life? Our cells regenerate completely every seven years. What are we holding on to? What if for a moment we allow ourselves to embrace change, like nature does? What if rain was not in the forecast today, but it rained. It poured down. Can we just accept and allow this to be? Can we take things as they come and accept life as is? Or do we constantly have to mould it and attempt to control it according to our expectations? What requires more effort – swimming against or with the current? All these questions… Are we supposed to come equipped with all the answers? Or is it a part of the excitement of the journey the getting there, the not knowing, the guessing, the questioning, the finding out…
We don’t need to explain our path in life, we just need to walk it in faith.
Somehow, with every spiral loop I complete, life always brings me back to one answer: Love. For is there anything that is more real than that? The kind that has no shape, face, form, boundaries, country or religion, and purely is. All these parts of you that have been shamed, guilted, discarded, rejected, hated, unloved, unwelcomed – bring them back in, give them a hug, cradle them. They were there to serve you, they did their job. Now it is time to integrate them back into your being, allow them. All is One, all is You, all is Love. Repeat it to yourself when you go to bed at night. Say it silently or aloud first thing in the morning. Greet the day with joy, there is so much to be thankful for. Smile. Relax. Allow. It will surely come. For it has never left. The Love has always been there, it has always been waiting for you to open the door. It will squeeze through the tiniest of cracks. Let it in. Let it be. It will illuminate your being. Let it reside inside you. For this is who you are. Stop hiding. Come out, Love. It’s ok, you can surrender. You can collapse into its arms. You were always there for You all along. Nothing and nobody is needed to complete you, you are already whole and enough as you are. You will know it, sooner or later. Allow yourself to fall apart. Allow Love to put you back together. For it is in the symbolical death and rebirth that we find home. Miracles are at your doorstep. All you need to do is to see with new eyes. Trust that life has your back. The mere existence of you is a miracle that cannot be duplicated.
We are all the same, yet we each have something special on the inside that is longing to come out. Go within and set it free. Stop doing for a moment and just be. In the silence, it will surface. Resistance will come, but you don’t need to follow that path. Cherish your uniqueness and simply Love.
The answer always is, Love.
This text from Bulgarian philosopher and spiritual teacher Peter Deunov really speaks to me, so I translated it for you (I tried to stick as closely to his original expression
“Love is the most important inquiry in life. If you solve that, you will resolve all other inquiries in life, whether they be personal, communal, family-related or universal. Love is the force that transforms everything and saves man. It comes in a real, аlive form and removes all barriers. Whoever manages to reach it, enters the realm of sanity…
Love is sublime… Love is fundamental, it is the base of everything, since it is a virtue that is blind towards the mistakes of people and does not get offended by anything. Even in people’s biggest mistakes it only sees good. Love is deaf to all bad, hurtful words. You cannot make the loving heart bitter, neither darken the loving mind, nor disturb the loving soul. A loving person will smile at all offence and bitterness. Love is an unbeatable force. Whoever has Love is a strong person… Somebody wants to show another that they love them, but is afraid to be cheated on. Can Love be afraid of lying? The Sun shines on and gives warmth to all living beings, even though some of them commit crimes. Love comes from the contact between the person and Source and spreads through an inner thirst, an inner impulse… It opens people’s eyes, and does not close them. The one who loves, sees things clearly. Only through Love you can get to know people. Love, that holds fear, is not true. The only force in the world which does not know fear, is Love. Only the warmth of Love is capable of removing all doubt, suspicion, and disappointments in life.
If you want to love, you should not be afraid. If you want to be loved, you should not doubt… if you are not ready to sacrifice everything in the world for Love, you cannot understand life. One should be ready for sacrifice. Not to leave life, but to see the beauty in all contradictions. If you take the worst vice a person might have and throw it in the fire of Love, it will immediately turn into a jewel.
Love is a powerful force. It creates miracles. The one who has/is Love, cannot be defeated by any other force. They are a person with a new understanding. They live in peace and light. People who have/are with Love are ready for such sacrifices that they would never make without Love. Love makes everything better and brings nobility to people. That’s why, whatever a person does, must be done with Love… Everybody transforms, when they feel that they are loved. Through the Love of Source a person gets born, and through the Love of his fellow men a person grows. Are there many ways in which a person can be saved? There is only one way – the way of Love. When you believe in Love and live according to its tenets, you can be saved. Have in mind, that unless you come down, you cannot go up. If you don’t want to go down, there is no way to go up. Both of these go together. When you enter the realm of Divine Love, it will command you to give up the sky and come down to earth, so you can help. When you love somebody, you help them, and it helps you to go up.
Love has no sin. Love comes from Source. Love is the connection of the human soul with Source. Love that uplifts a person, comes from Source. Crime means not knowing, misunderstanding, and misusing Love. It is a crime that we want to bind Love in shackles. According to Love and Nature’s laws, everybody needs to be free to express their own essence, since choice flows freely. The worst thing comes from big restrictions. It is sublime not to restrict. The one who loves you will come to you on their own volition. They will not wait for you to look for them. In whatever form Love comes to you, be grateful, for it comes to purify everything unclean that you meet along your way. People don’t have to ask each other: “Do you love me?” What gives light, does not burn. The one who loves, does not speak. Love should not be demanded. The one who demands Love, does not have Love within… Who needs to love – the strong or the weak? The weak cannot love. Only the strong can love. When you love somebody you have to ask what good can you do for them, how can you transfer your Love in such a way that you satisfy them. Only in this way they will know that you Love them…
The difference between human and Divine Love consists in the fact that Divine Love complements everything in human Love, without modifying it… Love on its own is pure, but the vessels in which it is being poured are not equally clean, and consequently Love dwindles… Love does not think about consequences. It is guided by principle, and when the principle is right, the consequences will be right and good.
There is a special time for Love. To feel, to prepare you can do at any time, but to Love in such a way that it transforms you, to free yourself from all instincts, to train the wolf, the tiger in yourself, does not happen at any time. When two people Love each other, they bring an impulse to create something grandiose in the centre of the whole cosmos. Your first Love is like a visitation from an angel who takes you to the one you are going to Love. You cannot love somebody who you have not been connected with in the past. Love between people does not arise only in a single lifetime.
Everybody shows the way, the shape of how to be loved. The way you love is the way you are going to be loved. The way you act towards others is the way they are going to act towards you. From the outside nobody can save love or take it away from you. To love somebody, does not mean that they need to be thinking about you. The person you love needs to have an opposite character to yours, so you can complement each other.
The ones who loves you will be able to foresee your every need. The one who loves gives a lot. The new moral requires such giving and taking that does not cause any loss. Only the person who loves you can give you something. If somebody does not love you, they cannot give you anything. Nobody can make you love them, If there is no inner pull to express your love to somebody, no outside reason can make you love them. When two people love each other, they need to understand each other in their hearts, minds and bodies. This means to have harmony between the two of them. Everybody has somebody meant for them to love them. And everybody needs to find the one who loves them… if the thought of another person never leaves your mind, know that they love you. If you do not leave their mind too, you both love each other… When you love somebody, you see your own reflection in them like in a mirror. And when somebody loves you, they get reflected in you… Only the person in whose presence your difficulties gradually subside and disappear, loves you.
In love there is no power. In love there is something more sublime than power. In love, you tremble for the one you love. You foresee everything they need. You have a right to love, but you don’t have a right to obsess. Nature does not allow obsession of the gifts it has bestowed upon you. It gives you something to use, but not to hoard. Nature will always counteract if you try to possess what it has created.
To love somebody who loves you is easy, but to love somebody, who does not love you is where the power lies and he is the one who can teach you so many useful lessons. Everybody can love the ones who love them, that’s human. However, to be well meaning towards the ones who are not well meaning towards you, that is divine. Everybody can teach the smart ones, but to teach the foolish, who will respond with madness, that’s divine! If you are angry, you will never attain love. When you are angry, you are far from love. One cannot find love with anger, suspicion and doubt as their companions. The one who truly loves never regrets that they love even if their love is unrequited.
Life cannot be improved without love, without good deeds, without right and light thoughts. Physical love must be an interlude for spiritual love. Spiritual love must be an unterlude to Divine Love.”
P.S. Photos taken with my cell phone on my walk the other evening.