You are already engaged within yourself right now. Today, here in this place you’re reading this at this particular moment, you have lasting connections to the things that matter to you most in your world. If you want to be engaged with yourself, stop being concerned about it, because you’re already there.
If you want more or different engagement in your own life, then you can acknowledge that and sit with it. If you want deeper or more powerful engagement within yourself, then you can see that work from that place. If you want to form lasting connections to the world around you and keep those throughout your life, then you have clear work to do. However, if you want to know whether you’re engaged, relax and take comfort knowing you’re already there right now.
Alan Watts may have written it best by saying, “The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”
There are different ways we’re engaged within ourselves. Sometimes, we read extensively and learn like sponges, and that is personal engagement. Other times we get creative or reflect. But there are other ways you are engaged within yourself right now that you haven’t named so easily, and there is fulfillment in your life right now. Do you cherish your children and spend as much time actively parenting them as possible? Is cooking really important to you, something that you take great pleasure and pride in? Does woodworking get you excited, building birdhouses or refinishing old furniture? All these are forces of engagement within your life right now. For a long time, driving was really important to me. As a teenager I engaged in burning dozens of tanks of gas every year just for the fun of it, exploring gravel roads in the Midwest and racing the back streets of my city. That was something I was engaged in when I was younger.
I define engagement as the sustained connections we have to the worlds within and around us.
That helps us see the difference between the various entanglements we have in our lives. The job you have that doesn’t really matter to you, that you could quit and walk away from at any point? You are involved in it. The bicycling club you hung around with for a few years that you stopped riding with the other month? You participated with them. Girl friends, organizations, books, playmates, theories, websites, brands… all these things you consume, interact with, even connect with. At the end of the day, though, these things drift away, disconnect, and go to the wayside. You weren’t really engaged with them.
Your livelihood or career, which you have carefully navigated and stay focused on throughout your life, you are engaged in it. Your relationship with your life partner who you struggle with but still love is a personal engagement. The family history you’ve always cared about, the love for animals you donate to, your passion for social justice, and your commitment to teaching yourself about as many forms of dance you can learn, all these are personal engagement. What ideas do you have a lasting connection with? What activities do you feel lastingly connected to? What has hung with you since childhood or stayed with you through hard times, always having a safe place in your imagination and actions? You are personally engaged with these.
When reading about Heartspace, some people feel like they have a lot of work to do, things to change, and ways to be. That is not what Heartspace is about. There is absolutely nothing you have to do. Instead, Heartspace simply is. Look within you, where you stand right now, and see exactly who you are and how you’re lastingly connected within yourself today.
Sometimes we don’t like the things we’re engaged in, and by some measures sometimes we’re engaged in unhealthy things. Heartspace doesn’t make a judgment about how or why you’re engaged in something. The point is that you rely on the things you’re engaged with, just as many, many others things rely on you. That reliance- interdependence– is universal, going far beyond you individually or us as a society. Heartspace is indefinably infinite, with interdependence knowing no bounds throughout existence. It is this reality that supports us all, always in all ways.
In turn, being able to consciously rely on the universe for all our needs, we become aware of our infinite capacity for engagement. This makes each of us powerful beyond measure, whether or not we see it. A.A. Milne once gave Christopher Robin the chance to teach this to Winnie the Pooh overtly. In his boyish simplicity, Christopher Robin said to Pooh, “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Living from your Heartspace can give you this bravery, this strength, and these smarts. They are yours for the using, and all you have to do is remember.