Resolve this. Resolve that. I have learned to monitor the “control freak” mode. I have noticed it does not take long to exhaust myself, after waking in the morning, with the automatic effort to analyze, categorize, dissect, and survey dominant issues in my life. I try so terribly hard at something which hardly requires a fraction of the energy input involved. This is my recipe for unhappiness.
Not only do I find myself being the unneeded resolver of issues, but I find myself grumpy. On my morning walks, for example, drivers on the road are not good enough. The Pepsi truck blocks the driveway just as I need to walk through. The driver on the corner makes a right turn in front of me just as my turn to cross the street comes. The pedestrians walking in the opposite direction toward me use the entire sidewalk forcing me to walk on the lawn. Finally, in the claws of exhaustion, I realize I am trying too hard.
I try too hard to force my life into what I believe it should be. I try too hard to have definite answers for my career, health, love life, and family life. I cannot think of a surer way to invoke unhappiness. Gratefully, the highest answer arrives. It asks of me to make a concentrated effort to release obsessive, compulsive thoughts. It is that simple. I gently repeat to myself, “release, release, release.” Invasive thoughts begin to retreat, and I find peace, once again. The core of my compulsion is fear, and the hero is courage driven by efforts to banish meddling thoughts. In the final analysis, this is the outcome of prayer. The control freak gives way to the higher power of love and wisdom.
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photo credit: Noirathsi’s Eye <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/145099538@N08/30063356505″>Yes, my liege…</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
You are in the arms of divinity no matter what you are doing or where you are standing. Even in an ordinary moment on an ordinary day you are constantly accompanied by guiding light. Every waking moment is an act toward the fulfillment of the highest purpose. Consider not one single moment insignificant, quiet, or uneventful. Do the same for every person you encounter. Consider no amount of money or possession of material assets relevant to the highest purpose unfolding. In the stillness, in the silence, observe the revelation of truth. Do not be weary if by material standards life appears complacent, unfortunate, unlucky, and meaningless. The owners of the highest treasures are the least recognizable, the most forgotten.
Out of the most oppressive conditions rise the most exalted seeds of knowledge and wisdom. The mission belongs to the grateful. Accept the assignment of trials and tribulations, and forge the armor of peace, love, and power.
Separation is an impossibility. You are meant for eternal union with the higher dimensions. Believe what your eyes do not see, feel what your hands do not touch, hear what your ears do not grasp. Involve your heart in all your labor regardless of its outward smallness. Define your life by the breadth of your understanding and the compassion you share with others. Have mercy on the plague of fear and walk with courage in the face of misunderstanding. Bow down to the stream of inspiration which guides you, and rely on its constant, never-ending source.
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photo credit: Nicholas_T <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/14922165@N00/18797191784″>Hawk Run (1)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
It took me too long to realize you were my friend. Little did I know a good spell had been cast which linked our hearts together. I was the benefactor of your existence and could ask for nothing more when I was in your presence. In some mysterious way, you fed my spirit with wholeness. We never needed words. In your silence, I received all your care and happiness. Beautifully, you are rooted to this Earth, yet, reach out to heaven and serve as a magnificent example for others. Under the sun, we lived as one and quietly exchanged vibrations of peace and pure joy.
Trying hard not to let it show, I yell out to you inside my head, “You were my friend! You were my friend!”
Thinking back, I reflect on the incredible fortune I possessed by having you near me. I thank the force which made your companionship so easy to find and your positive energy so easy to take. Nowadays when I pass you by, I endure a knot in my throat and hold back tears. Trying hard not to let it show, I yell out to you inside my head, “You were my friend! You were my friend!” I ask myself where the road turned which separated us. I blindly sacrificed our bond for things I considered more important. I left you behind for a race of ego because, somehow, I joined forces with fear and adopted the illusion of imminent self-destruction. I had a mission to survive my false illusions, and, in the process, became insanely insensitive to your eternal significance. Honestly and painfully, I forgot about you and, in doing so, forgot what I was meant to be.
As the grace of life would have it, one day, as I passed you by, I was touched by the golden light of remembrance and uncovered the truth and miracle of your existence. I was given a vision of the powerful wonder and magic I had lost. In dark contrast, the life I chose over you depends on frail measures of success and triumph. As long as I perceive that I could never have enough, be enough, I live in miserable poverty. By your side, I was wealthy and life was timeless. I had no inclination to linger in the past or future. You gave me the power to be happy effortlessly. Now I see I need nothing more. Therefore, tree of nature, tree of life, restore me to my former, higher self and mend the limbs of friendship I carelessly broke so long ago so I may, once again, be at one with the leaves of peace, truth, and joy, at one with Earth, at one with you.
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photo credit: Marcin Krawczyk <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/148203138@N06/31880725024″>Sunday…</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
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The standard of happiness by which I live depends on accepting my life exactly as it is right now with disregard to bank account dollar value, title, status, number of friends, depreciation of vehicle, square footage of home, and brand of shoes I wear. I intentionally do not attribute to my standard of happiness ideologies constructed by business, political, scientific, and social authorities. Everyone has a story, and this is my story. The drive which compels me to express myself concretely has its source in a dimension greater than what I may define in the context of time and space. In this greater dimension originates my standard of happiness, and from here I tell my story.
Through my story, I am granted the means to encourage the possibility of awakening in another what belongs solely to them. To each of us belongs the gift of Earthly expression, and, like fingerprints, that which each of us is meant to express is unique to our existence. The only force I may extend to you is the hope of knowing the gift of your expression.
Today, I am meant to polish the gems of truth and beauty found in the most ordinary of places and circumstances. The story of life which we await to hear is your story. The hero’s name and face belongs to the stranger in the crowd. Beneath an exterior of commonness resides the light bearer of our streets. Search in the shambles of forgotten cities. Step into the homes of the hungry and cold. Recognize the tired face and silent mouth. Open the gateway of expression assigned to each of us, and deliver the staff of transformation eternally allotted to all.
To them without a name and face belong the crowns of self-mastery.
I make no claim to the ultimate answer. I stake no claim to fame, fortune, and power. I lift a mirror to the spirit of human evolution which finds its origins in the urgency of today. I follow the hidden path and listen to the hidden people. I stand by them and walk by them. The gift they have to offer, the story they have to tell drives the story of my life and dictates the words I write. To them without a name and face belong the crowns of self-mastery. Listen in the oppressive silence, walk on the streets of desolation, meet with the face of destitution, sit with the greatest stranger, and give recognition to the true prototype of peace on Earth.
photo credit: The British Library <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/12403504@N02/11169705976″>Image taken from page 6 of ‘The Victorian Age! (The birthday of our beloved Sovereign. May, 1899.) [A poem.]'</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/commons/usage/”>(license)</a>
photo credit: Ivan Rigamonti N06/30912391712″>The other side … via photopin (license)
The force of good played an epic hand in the glory of victory. Against the tide of emotional, social, and political oppression did the labor of prosperity propel an omnipresent, undying dream. Quietly and persistently, mile by mile, stretch by stretch, stride by stride, many times crouching and crawling, a sprawling desire to construct love, order, peace, and equality made way in the fertile valley of manifestation.
Before leaving home, the remains of broken dreams were laid to rest. The roots of cultural familiarity were yanked from useless soil. A solemn gift of commemoration was offered three tiny children swooped to heaven after being cradled in their mother’s womb to term, but, through hands of destiny, unable to take their first breath. Deep ties of love to those who stayed behind were placed in an armored chest of cherished, priceless memories. Very little to nothing was there to pack, but very immense a vision was there to uphold. A journey on robust feet in tattered shoes with stoic hearts in rotting cloth embarked to a place where return home would often be difficult and hardly take place.
They marched through doors of social and political hostility. Through furtive actions, defined by one side as criminal and by the other as asylum, they made their way over the wall and set foot on the promising foundations of democracy where, without hesitation, they arduously reaped the fruits of economic opportunity. Day after day, year after year, decade after decade, they sowed the seeds of faith and created a legacy meant to fulfill the vision of this united land. Through moments of personal turmoil with undefined causes, embarrassment for misunderstanding the norms, the words, the signs, and, sometimes, the rules, submission to difficult and underpaid labor, unwelcome glances and words from those resistant to unfamiliar faces with foreign language and customs, my parents laid the groundwork for the coveted achievement of self-realization. In my mother’s womb, across a border created by man, in a vessel empowered by God, I made it to America.
photo credit: dennis.grailich Victory via photopin (license)
photo credit: x1klima Woman and Grief via photopin (license)
photo credit: yltsahg Liberty via photopin (license)
A relative to whom I was once fairly close once told me she could never forgive her parents for the hurt they had caused her. She explained this to me after I encouraged her to forgive them. Every now and then, I hear people say “I can forgive, but I can’t ever forget.” Undoubtedly, we hear of experiences so horrid and tragic that can make it awfully difficult to explain or comprehend the place of forgiveness in those situations. Preaching about forgiveness is about the last approach most people desire in a state of pain, and trauma, in some cases. As much as I value forgiveness, I sometimes doubt my fortitude to accomplish this virtue in the face of transgression. I can certainly intellectualize forgiveness as a powerful force which can set us free from the chains of stagnation. By forgiving, we gain the wisdom and strength needed to offer something of value to the world. Forgiveness shapes us into unique individuals and grants us the gift of healing others. No one can deny that this world needs this service of love now more than ever. However, intellectualizing a concept does not mean exercising our principles with passion. Rudolf Steiner, in Vision of Love, explains we must understand with feeling and feel with understanding. Therefore, forgiveness should move far beyond us saying it is an essential virtue. Forgiveness should also move us far beyond entangling ourselves in harmful situations, if it can be helped.
One day, a friend asked me for a ride to the cemetery. He wanted to visit the gravesite of a dear friend he had lost previously. Once we arrived, he kindly asked me to wait in the car while he visited the gravesite. It was a nice, sunny day and the cemetery was a bit hilly with green grass, which is what you might expect. I had an experience for a short moment that day which I may never, ever forget. I well recall I was in the early stages of desiring positive change in my life, and, though I still stumbled and fumbled plenty, I had some awareness of personal growth. Up on one of the small cemetery hills I envisioned both my parents as very small children standing together joyfully on the grass looking in my direction. Be aware, I have seen only one picture of my father as a small child and none of my mother. As I envisioned them ever so vividly, I began to cry a solemn cry of relief. Vividly imagining my parents as small innocent children allowed me to see them in a new light. It goes without saying, I was highly anguished at one point in my life over their parenting behavior and decisions. The point of my experience at the cemetery was not that the vision convinced me my parents were like small, innocent children. The point was I had been given a divine opportunity to forgive them. It was not about approaching them in real life and letting them know they were forgiven, or about justifying their errors, or about explaining they were perfect parents, or about giving them something of value at the expense of my well-being. Since that day, I desire to find and attain the gem of forgiveness any time the chains of resentment invite themselves into my life and threaten to cloud my opportunity to grow and change. Growth and change have been the divine gifts of a desire to be a better person, and I have had the honor to see these scepters of power unfold in my life.
I have hardly spoken to my relative over the last decade, at least. From what I have heard about her, and from what I have seen, she has had a very difficult time emotionally and mentally. I am also haunted by repeated dreams about her in which she is not doing well. At some point, shortly before she and I became distant, she slowly grappled with an obsessive idea about the experiences of her upbringing, which were, in the frame of time, decades behind her. I am too often disconcerted by the stories I hear which I can ascertain to be very close to true. My relative endures chronic mental collapse, and portrays inappropriate behaviors resembling those of a rebellious and tormented teenager, though she is, chronologically, what society refers to as middle-aged. I am not in a position to claim a genuine capacity to forgive in all situations at all times. I think I understand the grace and power of forgiveness, and have sadly seen in those I love the detriment of a refusal to forgive. All I can ask and desire is to master the power of forgiveness, and grow to be a vehicle of change even if it be in the meekest of ways. Ultimately, forgiveness is the source of peace and love this Earth deserves. It is the mightiest token of humanity’s treasure hunt for truth and healing.
photo credit: Neil. Moralee N05/31453486753″>Clouds in my coffee. via photopin (license)
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