When I think about living the life I came out of the universe to experience I sometimes feel intimidated by the prospect. The idea seems too fantastic to be a legitimate possibility. How can one reasonably expect to live their highest version of themselves when the world is so cynical, so hypnotized by the glitter of material, social and experiential consumption? This mad substitution for authenticity and meaning draws us away from the essence of who we truly are and what we truly need to satisfy our fundamental human yearnings for security, love, connection and meaning. So how, in the face of such relentless conditioning, does one find the source of their true self and bring that energy into one’s own life and the lives of everyone they touch?
What do we want from this life? What kind of life do we long for? What qualities of life do we dare not hope to experience yet secretly yearn for? If such a life were available to us how and where would we secure such a life? Are we to suppose that the most we can reasonably hope to accomplish in our life is the accumulation of financial and material abundance? Is the realization of our highest potential to be measured by how much wealth, power or fame we achieve?
As we are in the season of Love I thought this might be a good time to share some of the insights that have come to light from research into the feelings of love we experience in the presence of others. To understand how our feelings of love work we need to start with the recognition that every human being is nurtured by love and suffers when love is denied them. Our deepest nature is unconditional love. This is the animating life-force at the core of our being so the motivation to experience love is not just a nice-to-have, it is a compelling need for our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
What do we actually have control over? Let’s suppose we’ve made the decision to take responsibility for our life. We have come to understand that our experience is not the result of the conditions in our life but of how we interpret these conditions. We are no longer waiting for the world to change in order to get a more fulfilling and satisfying experience but have turned our attention inwards and begun to consciously explore and identify the gifts that we already have. This shift in focus, from things outside us to things inside us, brings with it an immediate change in how we experience our life.
“I should…” ; “S/he should…”; “They should…” are judgments all of us are familiar with.
“I should eat healthier, exercise more, be a better father, husband, brother…” “S/he should be more understanding, less irritable, more tolerant, less aggressive…” On and on the list grows as I identify the gap between what I or others are currently doing and what I expect of myself and them to improve the quality of my life.
I sometimes talk to my body and share with it my absolute conviction that every cell is filled with unconditional love and the healing power that is everywhere around and within us. I encourage my cells to draw on this life-giving power to restore their vitality and joy of life. I can’t prove this strategy works but I know it makes me feel better and that is the whole point of the exercise. I invite you to try it if it feels right for you. Remember that your mind cannot distinguish between a powerful visualization and reality of the outside world. To the mind they are the same thing.
New Years is often referred to as the time for a fresh start, the time to reflect on the past year and imagine a more life-affirming future. But the New Year only occurs once a year so what about the other 364 days? Do we really need an event like the first day of a new year to give ourselves a fresh start or is it possible to create this condition at our discretion?
Like birthdays, anniversaries, and other significant milestones in our life, the New Year is a time of remembrance for what we encountered and experienced over the past year and what we hope will arise for us and those we love, in the coming year. Some of these hopes center on personal improvement goals, others on the life we hope we will enjoy. How many of these desires are focused on conditions outside of us being different and how many on what we hope to access within us?
Last night as the wind roared across the Langley countryside, the inevitable loss of power was a reminder of how little actual ability we have to influence conditions beyond our personhood. As we approach the season of giving we are bombarded with messages suggesting that particular things are the way to express our love and affection for those we care about.
Once again I am blessed with another day of life and once again I pray with all my heart that I can be of service to Unconditional Love in body, mind, and spirit so that Unconditional Love can encounter and express Itself in form. I am starting to find my voice and it is the voice of Unconditional Love saying if you could only stop and appreciate all the wonders around you and recognize that everyone and everything arises and returns to the same source and that the basis of your suffering is fear and the basis of genuine happiness is love.
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