It has been a whole year since my last blog post. It has been a year of incredible growth; immense joy, immense pain and immense love, all of it culminating into coming face to face with myself. Stripped of all that I have held to be true and “me”. In total, naked honesty. And finding that this truth is what I have been seeking and yet running from, for as long as I remember. But never mind, the inspiration is here now to write again.
Going through all these changes during an election year has had me thinking long and hard into what it really means when we talk about Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness in the Declaration of Independence being our three most celebrated rights. Here is one perspective, from the viewpoint of a spiritual seeker..
What is Life? A question I’ve asked for many years, and now discovering that Life is literally the phenomenon of simply being alive. And that my right to Life, to just “being”, is simply about learning to let go into Her (it might as well be a Him, or It – gender is irrelevant). To trust Her. That She will take care of it all. It is learning to stop resisting, to really and deeply know that I am here, in this place, because Life put me here, because this is where the learning for me is at this moment.. In my work, in my family, in the mundane issues that come up constantly that I would like to escape sometimes. Even in the pain that arises on occasion that I would like more than anything to go away. Finally, I am beginning to trust Life, and to truly be okay with the uncertainty of where this is all going. To not just be okay with it, but to thrive in it. Because, if Life did not think I needed this right now, I would not have this, or be here. How long it has taken to realize this! How long have I fought it, thinking that “I”, this little ego knows better? And amazingly, the more I trust Her, the better it gets. It turns out that whenever a change in my life or situation is needed, She either hands it to me, or creates circumstances where a change is necessary. Whether it is made willingly or unwillingly on “my” part is irrelevant to Her – She will not have it any other way. How long have I kicked and screamed, trying to change the course of things.. How much have I lamented when things have not turned out the way “I’ wanted them to? And miraculously, each and every single time that things did not turn out the way I wanted them to, it has been, in retrospect, the best thing that could have happened to me, and I have grown monumentally as a result of it.. So there it is – trusting Life, and surrendering to Her is not just my inalienable right, but positive foolishness to not do so..
Then there is Liberty – ahh, the ideas this word conjures up! Is Liberty just the right to express myself in written or spoken word, and do as I please? Am I truly free with that sort of Liberty? Only now am I beginning to discover the sweetness of freedom – what it means to be free in this moment; free of past conditioning and judgment and to function in the here and now in a state of free choice. I can choose to behave in a certain way, no matter what has happened in the last moment. And this comes down to how much I can let go and trust Life.. Am I able to do this all the time? No. But, when I’m present in the here and now, interacting with people or situations, and living life without any pre-suppositions, I experience joy and beauty that I have never known. Most importantly, this kind of living in the now has led to fading of the continuous judging, comparing, and criticizing voice that most of us seem to take for granted as a ‘normal’ state. With that voice gradually subsiding, I am aware of a vast, expansive space, the space of true freedom. Liberty, it turns out, is a direct result of trusting Life – the more I trust Her and surrender to Her, the more freedom I experience..
Finally, the pursuit of Happiness.. What gross misconceptions of Happiness have I carried in my mind for so many decades! Even though I’ve joined the bandwagon and declared “Happiness comes from within”, I never really knew what that meant and never could really convince myself. Turns out that Happiness comes neither from within nor without – it is who I am, when I trust Life and live in a state of Liberty. It is the natural state of every being, when the mind is quiescent and the heart is full. The quality of Happiness is not an ordinary joy of having a desire fulfilled. It is that precious “gap” between thoughts, which becomes longer and longer as we learn to abide in it. It is silent, full, blissful, radiant.. It just is.. In the times that I rest in that silent happiness, it feels expansive, going in and out simultaneously, loving without discrimination, giving without concern and deeply connected with everyone and everything.
Our wise founding fathers sure were on to something when they placed Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness as the basic rights of all citizens. As we grow, learn, become pliant and let go of compulsive control, we find that these rights come to life within ourselves, touching our core and bringing us alive.