In our society, we tend to think that the revered “peace-makers” are above us. We marvel at their strength, bestow them with accolades and deify them – not just figures like Buddha or Mohammed but think Martin Luther King, J.F.K, Gandhi, Mandela. We say, “They are able to do what they do because they are special.” And they absolutely are special, extraordinary people. But here’s the thing – so are we.
We are all equipped with everything we need to transcend the ordinary and our physical surroundings. We need only to awaken to our purpose and, as a consequence, we will inevitably awaken to our higher self.
In spiritual teachings, we often hear that we should love everyone. If you are the easy-going type, you probably think that doing so is a difficult, but possible, goal.
The truth is, however, that we will not always like, let alone love, everyone we meet. Practicing unconditional love has nothing to do with "seeing" the love in every person we meet.
We are all different, so it makes sense that some people fit together better than others. We can choose the people or things that we want to surround ourselves with, but this does not release us from the responsibility of attempting to seek out the good in people, no matter how little we think there is of it within them.
What about so-called ‘hate-mongers’ or ‘Evil-doers’? Hitler. Jim Jones. Pol Pot. Idi Amin. Saddam Hussein. Al Qaeda. The KKK. Most of us say that there is no love in these people. Many say that they hate these kinds of people. But it is not the person or group they hate – it is their actions. The person is a victim, just as we often are, of misguided ideas about self-love and what it means to be powerful.
We all have love in us, just like we all have hate, anger, desire, etc. Our challenge here is essentially to laser our focus on that which strengthens the parts that bind us together.
There is a Sanskrit word ‘Namaste’ that basically means “I salute and pay homage to that place inside you which is the same as that place inside me.” Can you imagine the kind of world we would have if we all approached every interaction with this thought over-riding all others?
We will not always like everything that happens to us. But reacting badly to a situation that we don’t like doesn’t change the circumstances one bit. In fact, it often makes the situation worse. Learning to focus on gratitude for what is, rather than worry about what’s not, helps to shift our consciousness to one of peace and mindful awareness. When we live in a state of mindful awareness, then we open ourselves up to a world of opportunities to grow and learn through adversity…instead of being defeated by it.
Throughout time, people have gone on pilgrimages or spiritual quests in search of life’s meaning. The great thing about living a location independent lifestyle in the digital age is that we can choose to travel to or live anywhere in the world and still be financially comfortable – as long as we have access to our laptops. There is a tendency these days, however, for folks to get caught up in the seemingly exotic appeal of being a “digital nomad.” Yes, traveling and living abroad can be a fun and exciting, but the whole reason this kind of lifestyle became so popular was that people began to realize the need to get in touch with their inner compass. The prevailing sentiment was that it was important to follow one’s intuition and search for their own life meaning instead of always conforming to society’s rigid box of “shoulds.” Freedom, by all means, yes, but it’s important to remember that location is a perk – not the goal.
There is a saying that “The 2 most important things you can give your children are roots and wings.”
We must not just shower our children with love, but also consciously show them love in action. These are the seeds that will create the kind of change we seek in the world. This is the ultimate meaning of the words ‘full circle’ – our children grow up to heal the world that we created but in many ways have let get away from us.
This is not an exercise or practice. This is a way of being in the world – a shift in consciousness. As corny as it sounds, we must feed ourselves a steady diet of love. I use the word diet because we are cutting out old ways of thinking and bringing in a healthier world-view. If we can bring some spiritual words and thoughts into the common vernacular and learn to be open and comfortable with our loving intentions, we will make huge strides in personal growth and in healing the wounds of the world.
We often allow ourselves to ignore our true gifts because that is the easiest action. Shining our light takes work, consciousness, vigilance and thought. Sharing our gifts or talents is a responsibility we must take seriously. It is our duty to add value to this world, not get mired in doubt, fear, exhaustion and disillusionment:
“We are all meant to shine, as children do…It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -- Marianne Williamson
We are teachers, we are explorers, we are journeymen, we are ever-expanding. We are genius in motion. We are integral parts of an infinite connection; a never-ending circle that pulses with the energy of love, deep empathy and compassion. That is what our higher self is…and it is always there for us to embrace. We need only learn how to get out of our own way to experience it.