These are the questions from the book that I am reading currently called “The Endless Practice – Becoming Who You Were Born To Be” by Mark Nepo.
With the siege in Sydney before Christmas, the sieges that happened over the past three days in France costing lives of innocent victims as well as the perpetrators, and now the latest news of Boko Haram massacring over 2000 people in north Nigeria, I cannot but help ponder on what is the world actually telling us right now?
That violence is normal way of life and we passively accept it? Seems to be so doesn’t it?
Unfortunately the ‘unwanted’ has become the ‘familiar’ and we are constantly challenged in our struggles to reject that unwanted familiarity of violence riddled world invading into our lounges and homes.
In order to reject the unwanted, we either polarize ourselves between good and bad and stand firmly on one side only or we run from it all with a fear that our involvement even in thoughts might affect our safety.
Whilst we want to live in a ring of safety, we are constantly pushed to expand our ring of fear.
What capacities can we develop to not succumb to that ring of fear, to actually contract that ring?
How can we create and expand a ring of safety for ourselves, our immediate and extended families, friends and loved ones?
How can we cast a net of love to all peoples of the world so the language of violence and acts of terrorism can actually reduce?
To cast a net of love we need to first understand what love actually is and what it looks like in action – don’t we not?
- Is Love an uprising of joy from the folds of our hearts?
- Is it tears welling up in our eyes when we appreciate beauty?
- Is it the concerns that arise spontaneously about the well-being of those that are closely associated with us?
- Is it a heart wrenching pain we experience watching the innocent suffer?
- Is it a sense of duty (Dharma) that we have, to do certain things regardless of what we have to go through?
What is Love? What does it look like? How does it feel?
I understand and experience all the various situational values of love’s expression – Caring, Empathy, Compassion etc., but the big word itself – Love – I struggle to understand. What I do know is that Love is beyond the accepted cultural norm of expression and that it is a word that has many faces and cannot be easily captured.
These questions and the burning desire to know led me to do another exercise from the book “Writing To Wake The Soul – Opening The Sacred Conversation Within” by Karen Hering in which she asks to list random objects in your immediate area and create associated thing of the words in the list. After doing that she asks to create metaphors for Love using the words listed.
I did that and the metaphors for love that came up from the list are as follows:
- Love is soft, thick, layered textures of a Carpet that I like to lie down on
- Love is a fluffy, soft, comfortable support of a Cushion under my head when I take a nap
- Love is the discipline of a Clock moving forward
- Love is a Painting that is colorful and geometric holding many themes and patterns at the same time.
- Love is the thick long Curtain that filters good and bad light.
- Love is the Laundry Basket that holds clean and dirty clothes without complaining
- Love is the Coffee Table that silently witnesses the scattered mess on it.
How do these metaphors serve us in understanding love better? They are only showing one thing aren’t they not?
Love is understanding and accepting both sides, – Good & Bad, Beauty & Ugly, Light & Dark – completely without judgment and Be a Witness. Period.
It is only when we can do that do we have the capacity to extend our ring of safety and contract our ring of fear. Accepting both sides does not mean that we condone violence. Accepting both sides means we remember the larger wholeness in which we all belong and in so doing, we recover our wholeness within. We cannot afford to be separated from our soul because then we will be separated from life.
So what do we do? How can we live from a place of understanding and hold everyone equally in our hearts?
As hard as it may be,
- We need to try and accept everything happening in our lives as a blessing.
- We need to down our fear riddled masks which keep us from facing the truth and meet life fully with a vulnerability that is so human and so imperfect.
- We need to change our thinking from fear to love. Our fears only create more fearful events because we create everything first in our thoughts.
Mark Nepo says, “When the dangers of drowning in the troubles of living are near, when feeling separate from your soul and the fear of burning up is heating up, rub the place in your chest where you feel most human, most vulnerable, and you will be perfectly returned in time to a thoroughness that will present the next step.”
Let us embrace the world knowing that we cannot fully comprehend what is going on and why. That enables us to live in the world with a tender, open and loving heart and mind which does not contribute to the chaos but instead creates a pristine lake – the shores of which can be a shelter for all of us.
Hope you will join me in that embrace…..
Until next time
With Love and Respect