"Everything that lives, lives not alone, nor for itself." --William Blake
We are each expressions of a fundamental reality, an essence that some call God, some spirit, some consciousness, some love. It doesn't matter what you call it. It doesn't care. It is beyond names. But it is real, and thus we all belong to the same family. My blood is the same as yours, my heart is the same as yours, my body is the same as yours. We seem to stand apart from each other, but our essence is one. We only seem to be different, but we are all parts of a whole. Naturally, whatever any one part does touches and affects the whole. If we think that we do not effect the whole, we are wrong. We can say that whatever we do to ourselves, we do to each other: each action is a stone thrown into the pond of our common existence. Within minutes, or hours, or days we will feel the ripples of our actions wash over everything. This is why we cannot war our way to peace, because the killing keeps coming back. We have to wage peace, not war. And then peace will keep coming back.
Not only do we belong as brother and sister to other human beings, but we belong as brother and sister to all living things. We are not meant to have dominion over other creatures or the Earth, though we behave as though we are. This wrong thinking is based on the idea of separation, of being independent from the whole. This wrong thinking leads us to believe we are entitled to do anything we please, to usurp Nature for our own purposes. We are not entitled to do as we please. We must live within the law of universal truth, within the heart where we are all brothers and sisters under one roof, in one house, with one father and mother.
The crux of wisdom is the experience of Oneness. This is not an idea or a theory or an ideal. It is the most salient fact of the mystical experience and it is universally true. We each exist as expressions of the same fundamental reality. We are each unique expressions, yes, but of the same essence. This is both spiritually true and practically true: whatever we do to another, we do to ourselves. Every thought, every word, every slight touch of our hand sends energetic impulses racing outward on the trillions of strands of connective tissue that enfolds us all in the One. To believe otherwise is the source of all suffering and violence and pollution on this Earth.
It is not just the belief in separation that creates problems. Beliefs in general separate us from the whole of existence and lock us into the prison of our thoughts. Thoughts, beliefs, concepts -- these are tools to navigate the limited, physical plane of reality. They are not in any way capable of understanding the limitless truth, which must be felt with the heart. We cannot think our way through life, we have to love our way through life. The biggest problem in the world today is that people have come to believe that what they think is what is real. This is wrong. Reality -- truth -- lies between thoughts, behind beliefs, before concepts. Truth is revealed in Silence, and Silence restores our connection to the whole. This is where humility comes from: Silence. Silence reveals that our thoughts do not describe reality, they hide reality. We must listen to Silence. Silence is where our conscience is born, where we rediscover that love is our essence, and where we remember that true happiness lies not in personal fulfillment, but in service to others, and thus to our true Self, the Self in which all exist as One, in which all life is our life. Silence is where the arguments and arrogance of egocentric living are dissolved as salt into the sea of wisdom.
When we come to the end of our life, we are likely to have misgivings. This is because the purpose of life is to realize, consciously, that we are the embodiments of love; and many of us have not sought to realize this. When we realize that we are a manifestation and embodiment of love, we become full and complete from the inside. All of our materialistic pursuits are called into question, and we find that we need far less than we might have thought. We realize we don't have to live in a state of constant becoming and acquiring. Within each moment we find peace and deep contentment, which are inherent in our essential being. With peace and deep contentment filling us from within each moment, we do not need to manipulate external circumstances to attain happiness. We do not have to tear at the fabric of life. We do not have to be greedy. We do not have to be afraid we will not have enough, or be enough, or do enough. We can live simply. We can simply live. Once we recognize who we are -- underneath all the thoughts, ideas, and beliefs we hold about who we are -- this will happen naturally.
With peace and contentment filling us from within, we open without effort to the surrounding beauty. We have created a lot of ugliness to be sure, but underneath that is the natural beauty of life itself. Life is so beautiful. Everything is alive! The same conscious presence that lives within you lives equally within all. Is it not amazing to feel the living spirit in this way? You feel yourself in others. You feel yourself in all that exists. Feeling this, how can you harm others? How can you not feel the fear, or suffering, or despair of others? How can you throw ugliness onto beauty? We cannot do these things anymore.
Feeling is the key. Feelings and emotions are not the same. Emotions are mind states like jealousy, anger, and fear. Emotions are sponsored by thoughts. Feelings are sponsored by the heart and are signs of wisdom: love, awe, joy, wonder, beauty, connectedness. Feelings are the consciousness of the heart. The heart feels, the mind does not. The heart is alive, the mind is inert. The heart experiences, the mind conceptualizes. The heart joins, the mind separates. This is why we must emphasize heart, not mind. If we do not live from our heart, we will be unable to account for our own actions, because all our thoughts will be in the way. We will be victims of our own thinking, looking elsewhere for the one "who did us in." It is no one but us. Our thoughts are good servants, but terrible masters. Our thinking must reflect the wisdom of our heart. We cannot allow the mind and its constant stream of thoughts, beliefs, and concepts to persuade us that the heart is not real, or true, or useful. It is indeed the only thing that is. We have forgotten this, and now we must remember.
We are all born as embodiments of love. We are all born with this knowledge; it is not lost, only ignored; not forgotten, only disregarded. What we once knew can be known again, right now. We have only to enter our heart to remember who we are. I entered my heart, and I remembered what I once knew. I remembered light coming from everywhere. I remembered peace coming from everywhere. And love, such love, the kind of love that dissolves all fear and separation and anger. The kind of love that fills us with forgiveness and peace and compassion. What else? Just this: Every human being wants to touch and taste the same happiness, the same goodness. And so we are all joined together, we are all as one in our desire for happiness and wholeness and love. This is ours, from the beginning. This is what I remember; this is what I know; this is what my heart teaches me: all things are sacred; do not harm or kill others; do not pollute natural beauty. Love created this universe and it is the nourishing nectar of all creation. Love is heart and pulse, yes; but love is tendon, too, in that it binds all existence together into one body. I am one who has remembered that love is the power of creation itself, love is the world, love is the law to which we must all surrender. All of creation comes from love, is sustained by love, and returns to love.
As the embodiments of love, how shall we live? What shall we do and what shall we not do? How shall we live? How shall we demonstrate what we know, deep in our heart? How are we to make real in this world what moves silently within us all? It is not enough to ask and answer, Who am I? That is only half the equation of wisdom. The other half is to ask and answer, How shall I live? But answer slowly, and deeply. The first shout is likely not it. You've got to get down below the surface.
How shall I live? is the question that brings us from the mountaintop of inner realization to the valley of daily living. Here, in the valley of daily living, is where our realization is polished and tested. This is where we show ourselves, where we tell the truth about our love and loves, where we finally make sense of the whole thing not in words and ideas and theories, but in the simple way we touch living things. In our daily living is where we demonstrate what we know about being an embodiment of love.
Yes, love is a feeling, but it requires action to become complete, to become whole, to become realized. What actions will we take, moment to moment, in our daily lives, that demonstrate our love?