“Every human being dwells intimately close to a door of revelation they are afraid to pass through.”
One of the many paradoxes we encounter as human beings is that what we most desire is also what we most fear.
We often fail to realize it, but the price of our deepest longings is often one we are unwilling to pay, be it for intimacy, success, or vitality.
We desire close connection with others, but are terrified of being truly known and of the inevitable sacrifices and losses innate to truly intimate relationships.
We long for recognition and success all the while ensconcing our most unique and precious gifts because we fear having the most tender parts of us rejected.
We yearn to experience the innocence, wonder, and vitality we felt as children, but resent the difficult and necessary vulnerability that opens us up to rekindling our childlike imagination.
In other words, the price for what we deeply desire often feels too steep.
And because of that, our deepest values often don’t align with how we choose to live.
This causes a rift in consciousness that can lead to anxiety, self-alienation, and numbness, disconnecting us from our most essential self and soul.
It reminds me of playing the piano.
I have this beautiful upright piano from the 20’s and I often envision myself playing by the fireplace and singing As Time Goes By while friends sing along.
But when it comes to practice, I usually don’t stick with it for more than a few weeks.
In theory, playing the piano is something I value and I have this romantic vision of what it would be like to play and sing my favorite songs.
But in reality, I don’t value it enough to invest the time and energy it would take to get there.
How we act shows us what we truly value, not what we think.
Not putting the time in to practice the piano is one thing, but what about when the thing we are not willing to invest in is our very soul?
The problem is that most of the time, we’re not conscious that we are making that choice.
Inaction is itself an action, and our diverted attention (i.e. addiction to distraction) is often enough to pull us in a direction that is counter to our deepest needs and longings.
We’re rarely aware of the fears interwoven within our desires, and thus often bewildered by the ways in which our actions repeatedly betray our deepest needs.
As the poet Rumi said, “Your task is not to seek love but to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself you have built against it.”
This applies not only to romantic love but also to the love we can source from the beauty of the world and the love we can offer to and receive from ourselves.
At the bottom of everything, love in all its forms is infinitely available to us if we can remove the conditioned frames that cause us to relate to life as a commodity that is to be controlled and consumed.
Life is not meant to be a resource from which we extract.
Life is akin to an infinitely complex being with which we can choose to cultivate a sacred relationship, rather than something to be controlled.
Cultivating this sacred relationship allows us to experience the ever-unfolding mystery of revelation within ourselves and the world.
At its bottom, beneath and within the pain, brutality, and tragedy of life, the world is perfect as it is.
This is a very difficult thing to say, because it sounds like it’s minimizing the extraordinarily harrowing terror and tragedy in the world.
But this perfection does not make these things any less painful, brutal, and tragic, or negate the fact that we should fight tirelessly against tyranny and suffering in all of its forms.
Our task is to untangle the knots that prevent us from seeing how the beauty and difficulty of life are intricately and inseparably entwined.
There is poetry in every aspect of life when we surrender our arrogant and narrow preconceptions and meet life on its own terms.
When we childishly demand that life submit to our petty notions of how we think things should be, we close ourselves off to seeing the beauty and gifts within every aspect of our humanity.
Discovering that pain is not separate from love allows us to shift our relationship with life from one of a loathed adversary to that of an intoxicating lover.
When we release our haughty and juvenile ideas of how life should be, it suddenly reveals itself as a great and mysterious love.
On the brutal threshing floor in which life continually strips us of all that we hold dear, we discover our souls crying out to be revealed in the world, calling forth the greater capacities that lie dormant within us.
We all stand eternally at the threshold of awakening to the way of being that most nourishes us and most terrifies us.
As Martin Prechtel says, we either struggle to feed the holy or we struggle not to. The choice is ours.
We can either suffer by avoiding facing the pain, beauty, and vulnerability that are our soul’s essential nutrients, or we can struggle with the exhilarating heartbreak of relentlessly surrendering to life.
Avoiding vulnerability causes us to lose touch with our souls, while remaining vulnerable, however painful, allows us to stay close to what is most precious to us.
When we stop expecting life to behave according to our small-minded whims, we begin to surrender to the inherent perfection of life on its own terms.
And when we let go in this way, then we can begin to just laugh at ourselves: our grief, our stress, our pain, our pettiness, even our tragedy, and see the magic in it all.
As my dear friend Jonathan Korsyk says, “Everything is funny and nothing is real.”
If you’re interested in reconnecting with your childlike wonder, creativity, and sacred connection to life, I invite you to join our transformational retreat hosted at a stunning biosphere reserve on the coast of Tulum, Mexico.
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