Getting into bed tonight, an unusual storm brewing in Stanford with lightning and thunder, the journal I packed fell open on this page. After feeling hellishly sick since Wednesday evening, I had no energy to pen a post. Seems I was wrong…
20 July 2011
Last day of being 33. I’ve cried so much this past week it’s a joke. Almost everything makes me sad at the moment – my heart veritably aches for man’s inhumanity to man. All these small sufferings everybody undertakes as their own struggle: all trying to get by, get through, survive another day. It’s all so fucking pathetic – everyone so lonely and lost and trying so hard to get through, get home, get… something. Some kind of peace. So seldom do we stop long enough to witness what burdens our brother/sister labour beneath, how seldom do we help where we can. There’s always something, however small, we can do to ease another’s passage: how often are we open enough to see it? We spend so much of life wrapped in the fog of our own misery, an isolated hell we forge for ourselves. Even when we think we have nothing to spare: no time, money or affection for friends, family or a stranger – the truth is there’s always something we can share. A smile. An apple. A piece of bread. Small change. A hug. Forgiveness. A kind word. Something.
Ironically, it’s the smallest acts of random kindness that bring us the most joy: we’re social creatures and our hearts gravitate to community with others. We are, quite literally, born to love. And love is about being expansive, having open arms and an open heart. We already have everything we need – and more besides. It’s a silly illusion of this slowly disintegrating eon of materialism that has us believing in lack. There’s enough food – even if only for a bite. Enough sun to shine through the densest cloud. Without ‘things’, there’s freedom. Without a roof, the vast starry sky. Suddenly the simple pleasure of a sheet, a blanket, a smile becomes apparent. And it is, I believe, that simple.
Perhaps it looks different to how we pictured it, or what we thought we wanted or the movies and ad agencies would have us believe we want, nay need, to be happy. Perhaps the Stone’s were right: ‘you can’t always get what you want’. In truth, you’re certainly given what you need. The trick is to see it and remain untouched by the illusion of lack. Make peace with where you are (even if it is not where you’d like to/thought you ‘should’ be) and recognise what you have. And that you’re already so abundantly blessed right now, there’s extra to go around. Sharing makes you richer than any bank account with a zillion zero’s ever could. And giving from that authentically expansive space, to share in celebration with a fellow traveller, affords far more happiness than fighting to achieve some solitary gain.
We live in a world that revolves around interdependence and the connectivity of everything: we are but pieces of the whole. Yet we forget and suffer our imaginary isolation. We grab and cheat and steal – to get more, get ‘enough’, get by. And when we do, we become impoverished: poorer, weaker, lonelier. That is the illusion: holding tight hardly helps us to hold on, we usually lose exactly what we’re trying so desperately to keep.
Essentially we own nothing – except everything which is the whole. And we belong to nothing, except the whole from which we ‘live and move and have our being’. The parts are inseparable – yet we have waged wars, killed one another, destroyed ourselves trying in vain to do exactly that. Which is insane. Like the foot vying with the leg for autonomy of the body, thinking it is an entity unto itself. We all suffer what is torn asunder. Our only hope is integration, a coming together, the recognition of our essential unity. There is only us. And we’re in this together. And the sooner we realise that, the better…
Tomorrow is my birthday. I have no desire for presents but if you feel moved to take a moment in your day to share a little joy with someone through a random act of kindness, that would really rock my world. And just think how many trees you’ll save on all the gift wrap!