How we see life changes over time. When we are children or young adults, it stretches before us in vast waves of possibility and potential. In middle age, we become one with the waves and often forget about our own progress on the trajectory of life. Then as we begin to grow older, we may find ourselves looking more closely into the greater meaning of life and our own lives in particular. A subtle shift in language occurs: “my life” becomes “the rest of my life.” How strange that seems, both to hear and to say. That “rest” could be 30+ years or one year, no way of knowing. Of course, that is true at any time of our lives, but the longer we live, the deeper we feel that truth.
As I look at my life, I feel both joy and sadness. Joy at the blessings that fill it, both people and experiences, and sadness at its ephemeral essence. Impermanence is the basic nature of life on Earth. Yet, full acceptance of that very impermanence is one of the greatest pieces of wisdom we can attain in our lifetime. At a certain point, we come to realize that all we are given here is rich beyond words. Language cannot fully express the wonder of living with eyes and heart wide-open on this sweet planet. The longer I live, the more profoundly I am touched by the beauty of Nature and the love of friends and family, realizing it is all fleeting and everlasting simultaneously.
Over time, I have come to surrender to life exactly as it presents itself. That is the essence of the spiritual journey I have been on for many years. Initially I was looking for a way to accept eternity, the stretch of infinity beyond my lifetime. What I found, and continue to find, is that that acceptance lies hidden in all the details of my daily life. Each tree, flower, or human soul I encounter is eternal, the entire universe held in its very beingness. When I stand in awe of that living Presence, I “hold infinity in the palm of my hand,” as William Blake wrote. Infinity, once a source of fear and suffering for me, instead becomes a source of liberation.
Humans invented time and space to try to explain the world and our lives. When we step away from that limited view, explanation is no longer necessary. We stand in eternal Presence, and within that is the meaning of life. What I have searched for most of my life is not what I thought it was. It is not an answer to a question, but rather living beyond questions and answers. This is what Ram Dass referred to as “loving awareness.” It is not something that can be explained but only experienced. And the longer you live, the deeper the experience.
Ultimately, we discover there is no end, nor any beginning. Definitions and parameters fall away, and all that is before and within me is life as is, both a miracle and a blessing. Human joy and sadness interweave within that vision. Every single experience is part of life, designed at the soul level for our expansion into awareness of the light that fills us—and everything.
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