Saving the whales, tutoring under-performing students, building low-income housing, replanting native prairies… All of these are important activities that have value in the world. So do meditating, writing poetry, playing piano, and going for nature hikes. Anytime we engage within or outside of ourselves, it matters.
For a single mother of several children, finding time alone can be a treasure. In a comfortable home filled with material wealth, it can bring new depth to give time and energy to the community. To working class people developing a strong sense of personal ability may be vital, while to a forester spending time with his family in downtown stores shopping may be important.
Each of us gets to identify, draw out, and sustain what is important to us in life, what connects deepest with our Heartspace. When we do this, we are engaging with life. Engagement, which is a sustained connection to anything within or outside of ourselves, is how anyone can find deep warmth, joy, and fulfillment in life. It is the most elastic feeling we can have, because it holds all others: Love, happiness, pain, sadness, all can have a home in engagement. The treasure I have discovered is that none of these feelings are wrong to engage in, just as no action is wrong to engage in.
Engagement is an unselfish and unbiased feeling. Without requiring specific attention or energy, we can engage deeply throughout our lives. In many ways, engagement is indifferent to our circumstances. It can change purpose or form, but it is always the same: A sustained connection within or outside ourselves. This sustainability is marvelous, because it allows us to be distinctly human, and simultaneously, deeply universal. We become one with all creation when we simply live, instead of having to interpret and assign. The treasure of Heartspace is that it allows us to be non-dualistic and one with everything. And that is what real engagement is, oneness with everything.
That oneness can feel challenging to attain. One awesome thing about Heartspace is that by maintaining our quest for engagement we will never be disengaged. It’s a reward unto itself. But remember this: The next time you’re in the garage working on restoring your old car so deeply that you loose track of time, you have found it. When you’re rolling around on the floor with the kids tickling and playing so much that you feel like a kid too, even if just for a moment, you have found it. Painting that scene, laminating those pictures, knitting that scarf, breathing in the ocean, serving food at that shelter, praying… These are all different ways people can become engaged, different avenues towards Heartspace. If you are looking for ways to get engaged in your own life, you will find them. The key is to know when you’ve found what you’re looking for.
If you want to change the world, change yourself and get engaged. If you want to engage in yourself, do something to change the world. The beating pulse of Heartspace flows through reciprocity, and in this way it is ensures that we maintain deep integrity. You can’t fake engagement. You can’t become engaged for someone else, and you can’t do engagement to someone else. We can only get engaged ourselves. You are engaged in ways throughout your life that you haven’t acknowledged yet. Look and see, and give yourself credit for your engagements.
Today I am grateful for all that I am engaged in. Every day my life changes, and every day I am engaged. It really is a wonderful life.