The warm summer evenings in my Midwestern youth were filled with fireflies and mulberries picked fresh from the trees down the block. My neighborhood was a hotbed of Saturday night action as cars peeled the streets at high speeds, house parties raged into the early morning hours, and cops sped through the area in search of another bad guy. Looking back on it, my mind swirls between nostalgia and resentment, bitter and sweet. Such is life.
I have spent a career with people who were determined to make the world a better place. Fired up bellies and intellectually stimulated minds left a lot of my people believing that the world was crooked, rotating on a tilt which they took upon themselves to correct. Teaching, feeding hungry people, organizing social justice campaigns, and raising money for the cause seemed the order of the day. These coworkers, best friends, girlfriends, and bosses all shared a predilection for acting hopefully what they called hopeless situations. That was work.
It’s been a long course, but I have begun to understand my own wisdom after all these years. One day when my daughter was three, we were walking home from her day school when she complained about another kid’s clothes. It was then I first said, “It’s not better or worse- it’s just different.” Just over the last period in my life have I come to see what that really means and how wide reaching it actually is.
Today I know that life isn’t black and white, out or in, down or up. There is no contradiction or defeat, no submission or winning. Life simply is. It was my way of living to assign those values for so long, to name things good and bad, declaring winners and losers. Life has kindly, graciously taught me that this perspective is utterly human, and not wrong in itself- so if you believe it, I’m not calling you wrong! I have simply come to know otherwise. It works the way it works.
For me today, I simply understand that everything is exactly how it’s supposed to be right now. I don’t have anything that I have to do anymore. If I decide to do anything, then so be it, and off I go! But that has no more intrinsic value than deciding not to do anything, intrinsic meaning it’s worth to the universe.
Exploring Heartspace had taught me that in the universe there is a perfect tension that exists among all things everywhere all the time, and that nothing can operate outside that perfect tension. Nothing is capable of violating the agreements all things maintain in order to exist, it’s simply not possible. This includes the neutrino, the murderer, and the hurricane. Everything is operating in concert to produce the exact outcomes we experience every way, everyday in our lives.
From this perspective I have also come to understand that the highest order of living is that of life: We exist for the purpose of experiencing, with all it’s crappy wonderfulness, naive complexities, and simplistic intricacies. We are alive in order to celebrate engagements, live in dynamic tension, and balance out-of-weight inevitabilities. It’s an amazing opportunity we share here!
This is why monks leave monasteries and yogis have too much sex with their followers. This is why teachers have to take professional development programs and why some parents read too many parenting books. This is why teens experiment, Americans constantly overindulge, and scientists keep getting funded. Life is experience, and from my perspective, it’s an experience in engagement.
So it is what it is. I’m going to keep digging into my life, my engagements, and Heartspace. What are you going to do to live your life the way you want to?