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There is a quote attributed to the Persian lyric poet, Hafiz, which states, “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.”
For the majority of people who read that sentence, it is only a vague yet nevertheless beautiful abstraction illustrating utopia. In fact, when most people see it, they resist the deeper meaning in the message altogether.
The astonishing light of my own being, you may ask? What in the world was this hippie talking about? Was LSD available in his era?
I don’t have to tell you how sad and depraved our world is, nor how catastrophic the dysfunction has become. As humans, we live in a dimension of materialism, and most of all, fear. We’re conditioned to believe that all that we see with our own set of eyes is all that there is. We’re nihilistic, subscribing all too often to the French philosopher, René Descartes’ notorious statement, “I think therefore I am.”
In my perspective, it seems as though everything we inherit upon incarnating into physical beings on planet earth keeps us under the illusion that we are limited—and none of us are at fault for this. After all, before there was matter, there was only empty space. This emptiness was nothing yet everything, all in one vein. It was what quantum physicists call a singularity. Then, suddenly, all things emerged in a violent burst as they appear to us through the five physical senses.
Since that time, there have been pockets of humans who see and understand the sacredness of that single, minute point and were aware enough to make a connection between the matter and the divine. But, unfortunately, there have been far many more who have lost themselves in the world and descended, like a fallen star, into abject materialism.
Before I proceed, however, I want to mention that none of us are immune to materialism and fear—at least not entirely—but many are much more stuck in these states than others, and the planet is unduly bearing the brunt of this. We are, in effect, born in to a state of spiritual amnesia; we’ve forgotten where we come from as well as what and who we truly are, at our core. Because of this, greed has taken hold, as well as a sense of entitlement and ownership over land and resources. We believe we are a gender, a race, a nationality, and we wear an “us-versus-them” mentality. We thus create enemies based on these limited perceptions of who we and others are, and that is where trouble begins. Welcome to planet earth, folks.
At the risk of unleashing what I now call my “inner (Charles) Bukowski,” I believe humans are ultimately a self-serving species with limited identities and belief systems, and the state of our world so perfectly and accurately reflects this. To this day, I am astonished whenever someone shakes their head in dismay and voices a complaint about a backward law (think: Roe versus Wade) or a politician they do not like. My thoughts, to follow, are often: why does all of this insanity surprise you? Look around you. Open your eyes. Look at the world and observe the level of consciousness in the people in it. What sort of idyllic situation could come of this?
Unless we change, our laws, customs, and leaders won’t reflect what it is we want, in tandem. Change happens on the level of human consciousness before it is able to manifest on a collective scale. No one particularly likes that answer because no one sees it as being quite that simple. Also, few of us truly like to go within and see how we might be contributing to the destruction of our planet. As a result, the streets become more noisy, more angry, and more polluted.
On a personal note, since June of last year, I’ve been growing and learning, exponentially. One seemingly innocuous epiphany had a profound ripple effect and urged me to question nearly everything I’ve ever come to believe about myself, the world around me, love, and life on a grand, philosophical scale. Many of the things I’ve learned are still in the flowering process. I am, in a sense, learning to unlearn many of the things I’ve taken for granted or have been socially conditioned to believe—and one of those things is about love.
When it comes right down to it, whatever it is we’re seeking holds some kind of salvation, some kind of promise, for us. We believe, for example, that being wealthy will make people respect us or grant us more freedom (in one sense, the latter is true, but we often forget that wealth can also limit us in ways other than the tangible). We believe that having the right job or the right partner—both of which are entirely subjective—will give our life more purpose or meaning, and also make us happier. While these things are certainly pleasant to have, if we do not have a sense of who we really are beyond what Eckhart Tolle refers to as the vertical level of being, none of these things can ultimately fulfill us for very long.
According to Tolle, “Time is the horizontal dimension of life, the surface layer of reality. Then, there is the vertical dimension of depth, accessible only through the portal of the present moment.” So, why is this relevant to the topic or even important, you ask? Because without the awareness of Self that is only accessible through the present moment itself, our minds run amuck and dictate the course of action we take on the surface of things. When that happens, we attract to us things and people who are not truly in alignment with who we are beyond our thoughts and ideas about ourselves and our life.
I cannot count on one hand how many times I’ve heard well-meaning people tell me I am loved. Rather than thank them, my typical response these days is: I am not loved; I am love. I do not have to seek love from outside of me. Instead, love is the energetic vibration of my soul. To imply that I am loved is to suggest that I am an empty vessel or am wanting for it. I don’t need to go outside of myself to find it.
Instead, love is the silent space within me, or the peace that passeth all understanding. (And that, for the record, is not simply a case of spiritual bypassing.) Love is the quiet hum in the background of my internal experience that transcends all the loud cursing in the foreground, should there be any. It is the emanating life force within that carries me through the mud and the fluctuations that come with living in a world of duality.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Jesus, Sarah, how could you be so curt? Why would you bemoan a person telling you that you’re loved, of all things? My answer to that is clear-cut: because I’ve lived with that misconception all my life, and I’ve suffered greatly for it—especially within the past few years.
My belief that love is something I need to seek has caused me to succumb to love addiction and codependence. It has kept me up at night and left me feeling jealous, desperate, and heartbroken. It has even caused me to feel as though I hate the very same person I once purported to love, simply because that person was no longer feeling as though they wanted to act as some kind of romantic companion in my life. Beneath all of that anger, however, was deep grief. Eventually, I learned to spend enough time with the emotion to learn that it had another name.
Let’s face it, most humans have dysfunctional relationships. Something that feels so enrapturing in the beginning often fades or leaves us wondering whether we’d made the wrong decision, after all. On a more extreme scale, crimes of passion occur when someone we once felt over-the-moon for leaves us feeling wronged or betrayed. Welcome to what we call “love” on planet earth—home of dualism and the human condition as we see and experience it.
And yet, the overwhelming majority of us cannot experience this thing we call “love” in any other way. We simply don’t know any other way to live in the world we temporarily inhabit.
True love isn’t based on a set of criteria or conditions. It isn’t even based on a set of values, which is ever-changing, impermanent, and a product of the mind. Love, in order to be true, has to be embodied purely and holistically, and then as a natural consequence, brought forth into the world where right action subsequently follows as a direct result of being aligned with the energetic vibration of the soul. That is what we call being in love.
Moreover, if you want to attract whom you perceive to be the right partner, be in love in that way first, or else the person you resonate with most on an energetic level can and often will run from you. They will be a mirror for you, showing you, inadvertently and indirectly, all the ways you’ve been running from yourself. Love is not a verb first and foremost, but it has byproducts that are the prerequisites for loving actions, which to many, seems like a dichotomy. But it all starts from within.
We’re so far removed from the truth of that here on this planet that we’ve forgotten or resisted the above notion. Instead, we’re always seeking something, always wanting more, and more of whatever it is we lack. This is fear-based energy, a result of being incarnated here—and fear takes on many forms, including a lack mentality. Fear is what we’re born into; it isn’t part of who we are in absolute terms, or in the spiritual, which is more permanent than this finite physical form we call the self.
Now, stop reading and go meditate. Spend some quiet time in stillness. Let nature be your teacher. Observe how nothing in the natural world is lacking, and know that you are just as much a part of this phenomena as the birds, the flowers, and the trees.
Watch the thoughts come and go, like clouds, and notice that no matter how fleeting they may be, something else remains—something so much deeper than a thought entity. Beneath the noise, the restlessness, the boredom, and the rubble created by the mind, there is an awareness. There is an observer that remains unperturbed. That, right there, is your essence, your individual spark of the divine of which I am a part and you are a part. That is what you are. Peace.
You’ve simply forgotten this. You’ve created a story you call my life, not realizing that you are life itself. Your being enlivens each cell in your body. It is aware of its function, its perceptions, and even its own breath.
For just a fragment, forget that narrative and just be. This is what I believe Christ may have meant when he said, “Be still and know (that I am God).” You, too, are not separate from God, nor from Creation. You are both created as well as a Creator—the in-breath and the out-breath of the universe.
Be still and know love.
You are the love you seek.