“Understanding of the self only arises in relationship, in watching yourself in relationship to people, ideas, and things; to trees, the earth, and the world around you and within you. Relationship is the mirror in which the self is revealed. Without self-knowledge there is no basis for right thought and action.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
I stopped working for state government almost two years ago now. Since then I have walked an increasingly narrow path, studying and teaching and writing and parenting with all my time. Occasionally I make time for friends. In the absence of a regular 9 to 5 job, I fin a great release in learning and growing, and it’s been a tremendously refreshing time for me. This is how I have discovered Heartspace, the engine of personal engagement.
After exploring the issue of how to connect people throughout their communities in the most meaningful ways for more than 20 years, I came to understand that the most powerful way to do that was to connect people within themselves and outside themselves in sustained ways. In order to sustain engagement, it must be meaningful, effective, and reciprocal for both the engaged and the engage-r. Sustainability matters.
The quote above from Jiddu Krishnamurti illustrates for me the significance of engagement a person sustains for themselves and with those around them, including other people and our environments. Krishnamurti implies that we sustain engagement for ourselves, and this is exactly where Heartspace emerges in our psyches and throughout our lives.
Heartspace does not require people to do what I have by rejecting the traditional work world. It doesn’t require stepping out of ill-functioning friendships or having study times for yourself throughout the day. It does mean that a person engage with themselves and the world in a deliberate way, conscientious and meaningfully. While this can be challenging, it is not impossible. While we engage with the world we get to see the mirror that our lives provide us. This mirror can show lovely and ugly things, sometimes within the same breath. That is the point.
When we earnestly connect to the things within and around us that ignite our souls, our Heartspace becomes ignited, too. This means engaging with other people, building community and nurturing family. It means falling in love, smiling at children, listening intently to elders, hugging everyone a little tighter and longer, and holding the hands of lonely people. It means being authentic and vulnerable and real with other people. It means being real with yourself.
This being real with myself has been challenging for me at times, as I’ve faced some things I thought were long gone, and addressed people who I didn’t want to affect me. I have called out names in the night and let go of people who I was close to, buried the ghosts of friends and relatives, and released the stresses of the past and future that insisted I spend time with them. They’re gone now.
I believe that all of this is what Krishnamurti referred as right thought and action. When you move through your Heartspace you have all the right thought and action you need. I have all I need, right now.