The Roots of Living

There are cycles to our individual lives. Periodically, we find ourselves in similar situations and confronted with similar challenges. This is just one way the life process gives us feedback about ourselves.

For some people, life is Groundhog Day, where they relive similar scenarios over and over – they struggle through similar dysfunctional relationships, stumble across similar hardships, and make the same choices when a different choice would free them from the loop.

One explanation for repeating experiences is that life is a school and we are here to learn lessons. I don’t subscribe to the “Life is a lesson” paradigm because it results in people overthinking and overjustifying the “grand design” of their life without any real learning. Another possible explanation is that we simply gravitate to situations based on our nature and preferences – until these no longer work for us. Then, our world unravels. Unless we make fundamental changes from within, wherever we go – there we are.

As we flow along the spiral of experience, we take that occasional journey home. No matter how and where life has moved us about, situations come to a head and we return to our roots. Inevitably, something about us is so fundamental that it eludes change. Inevitably, our ability to see what was always there improves. Inevitably, we return home to take a closer look at what can only be described as love – even if we have no words to describe That.

My own journey started in darkness. I had no vision to see anything other than blurred shapes and movement. This is all I knew. My eyes were not blind, but my being was blind. My faculties were undeveloped. So, I imagined that life was just how I saw it. When I couldn’t see, I filled in images and colors that were to my liking. But, all along and despite my maneuvering, life was already beautiful.

One idea seems to permeate the entire world – life is better if we have wealth and the ability to influence others. Influence to do what? To like us and to convince us that we are likable and can control our lives. Some say that the global obsession with wealth and self-absorption is a sign of civilization ending, just like in Egypt or Rome. All around the world, children are dreaming of having lots of money and the power to “get.” Now this power of “getting” is also about escape from reality, which upon a shallow look is extremely boring and unpleasant to so many.

This obsession to overfill on stuff and escape is just a symptom of an underlying emptiness creeping about us – an emptiness that no person or thing seems to be able to fill. What else would there be if we constantly dream of owning what someone else created, waiting to consume as soon as something is produced? No one and no thing can “complete” us, but we continue to try to feed on the creativity of others. When we spiral away from our roots, we forget about the gifts of true relationship – with ourselves and with every thing and being surrounding us.

When we relate superficially and without feeling “presence,” we begin to starve. I listen sometimes to people carrying on about endless mundane details, which they would undoubtedly forget on their deathbeds. There is so much talk everywhere, but it is devoid of spark, creativity, or inspiration.

People endlessly digest “problems,” “bargains,” obsessions, gossip, and plans and events to which they pretend to relate. People market themselves, groom their images, and measure their worth based on one-upsmanship. Half-smiles, drama, and daily minutiae with unmistakable sadness lurking beneath. Words fill spaces and leave no room for connection, reflection, and celebration of life. There is not enough listening and feeling, and mostly our exchanges are lifeless “filling.” Talking is habitual: “How are you?” “Good to see you!” “I’m so busy!” “Look what I bought, and it was such a sale.” So, you bought it – are you still so unhappy that you need others to validate that you just “got” something? Most don’t really care how others are and don’t really even see anyone. We can let go of our programmed chirps and gahs, which we think we are supposed to express around company.

Beneath every facade, I see a person’s roots – their sparkling being. Perhaps they are veiled by their fear, but the shine is there nonetheless. As a person talks, I listen deeply to their being. This act of listening stumps most as unusual. They don’t know or remember that they could listen like this too. The conversation turns to something deeper and more awe-inspiring. If all listened with our being, we would know who we are while in the company of another. We could be at our roots of existence with every gesture, thought, and word.

We don’t have to return to ourselves only when situations fall apart and we have nowhere else to turn – only to reinvent the wheel that there is only love. We are our own home. Ironically, we don’t even ever leave it, despite forgetting and ignoring the tugs to reality’s depths.

Some look at life in terms of gains, losses, and more gains and losses. I don’t see life that way. Instead, I see that life cannot be a pithy quote, a well-crafted goal, or even a dream. Life is just us learning to see and feel ourselves at the root and beyond any fascade of pomp and circumstance. Interestingly, innocence ignites when our roots touch.

So many movies and books exist about people forgetting themselves and being forced to return to the basics of loving. But, what if we remained steady in our being and never left?

Regadless how we get there, it is a gift to return to the core of our being with more refined faculties to embrace ourselves. The more I entwine with uncertainty and not knowing, the more I love myself, my children, and my friends. All I have is my ability to be here and in this body – these are enough to love. And from here, an entirely different image of life replaces all others – there is only light reflecting off the waters and listening deeply to our every undulation. Being in love with being is all I can feel and express.

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