Something happened recently that triggered an age-old feeling in me of “I don’t belong here; this is not my home.” It was a tiny little thing, but the feeling that came up in me was huge! I started to wallow in it, but then stopped and thought: “Well, clearly this is not only about what just happened . . . so, what is going on here?”
And I started to look at where this feeling came from and what it meant.
Firstly, it was triggered by a desire in me for something sweet that actually could not be satisfied, because somebody else had eaten my stash! And I have come to learn that, when this desire arises, it’s because I am already feeling a sadness that I don’t want to feel.
I feel this sadness (and then the desire to sweeten it) any time I do not get my own way. When I don’t get what I want, I feel like I am missing out, I feel that I am not part of something, I feel different, isolated, not understood, not heard … any time, in short, when I make it all about me.
If I make it all about me, sooner or later I have to feel different, isolated, alone; because we are all different at the level where we are individuals.
And this is how most of us have lived, for a very, very long time, perhaps for longer than we care to remember. But I have some friends who live in a different way, and I am re-learning to live this way too.
What I am learning is that I can live in the misery and suffering of my self-centred creation when I choose to do it my way, get what I want, go it alone…
I can live in the joy and harmony of feeling and knowing that I am but one person among billions, all of whom matter just as much as me, and not only that, but that we are each part of a vast Universe of beings, all connected with each other and all part of a vast oneness.
Now this is quite a big jump, so are there steps we can take along the way?
For me, it starts with my body. Now this is something I have tried to ignore for quite a long time. I have indulged it, pushed it, used it, driven it, but listening to it and honouring it… that is a whole new thing for me.
When I listen to and honour my body and live in a simple loving way that deeply cares for it (and for me), I start to feel some things…
There is a physical reality to this human body, and to life on earth. I am made of flesh and blood, which is made of molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles that have been here since before the beginning of time. They have made up countless bodies before mine… and will make up many more to come. They are not mine to own, for they belong to the Universe, but it is my responsibility to care for them while I live in this body. The particles of which I am made are the same ‘stuff’ that has made up stars… I share them with the whole Universe.
If I really stop and feel this, I realise that I do belong here: in fact, I belong everywhere!
We are an inseparable part of the Universe, and we live in a great illusion that we are separate, because we have tried to separate ourselves from it. But we are still in it! The separation only exists in our minds. Our arrogant pride refuses to see the blindingly obvious and refuses to feel the un-numb-able fact that we are part of a stupendous whole, and that we live in a body of love that one day we will all come to know as God.
And the way back to this knowing is the stuff of which we are made, the particles that make up our being, the sparks of God’s flame that we call ‘us.’
When I live this way, in the knowing of this truth, life is joyful and full, and if the old feelings of sadness arise, they can serve as a signpost that I am choosing to live in the old way again, the way of desire, of self, of separation, of individuality… of me.
And I can choose to wallow in the misery of this again, or I can make a choice to come back to who I truly am, a great and equal part of the one glorious whole… a fellow human being, equal with everyone else, who lives in love, in truth, in brotherhood, knowing that none of us can do this alone, that we are all in this together, and that this is the way life is divinely designed to be.
By Anne Malatt – wife, mother, grandmother, eye surgeon, Australia