The Wrong End of the Telescope
How a simple reversal of perspective will give you the life you desire. But first I have to share a word with you that is so significant to our health and happiness, that it is the only key to our personal joy and to the flourishing of the earth and the universe she rests in.
So mystical is this word that it frightens us and wakes us in the night, and causes war among brothers. So magical is this word that when we say it with understanding, we are liberated from all fears—forever. This word represents a gift of creation so powerful that it rivals the miracle of our birth.
And that word is Death.
Birth and death are the parenthesis of our life on earth. And what transpires within those brackets (into the world and out) is our Life. Life can be short and meaningful as a Japanese Haiku or fraught with the drama of a Greek Tragedy in multiple acts. Because we fear death more than revere it, we live our lives as if we might somehow avoid it altogether. Illness, accident or old age—the vehicles of death always seem to take us by surprise—as some sort of mistake in judgment or wrong turn. If only she hadn’t smoked, if only he had made a full stop, if only she had taken her vitamins.
Death is, at once, the ultimate certainty and the ultimate mystery.
The fact is that as surely as you are reading this you were born and as surely as you were born you will die—sooner or later. The journey to that final door marked Death is your true Life purpose. Forget worrying about what your Life purpose might be—you are living it even as you search.
Forget, “When I have my own apartment, car, million, private plane, I’ll be okay.” Forget, “When my children are grown, when I have enough money, when I retire, I will paint, write, garden.” Replace the word “then” with the word “now.”
Take a deep breath. Exhale out loud and listen to that exhalation. That is you breathing. That is you – alive.
When the stork dropped you, he dropped you with a sack of goodies. Rudimentary supplies to get you started. Girl, boy, black, white, yellow. The soul of a poet; the mind of a mathematician. It is an intriguing mix of potentialities. Your mother’s eyes, your father’s walk—immediate stuff. But you also have a blend of their blend.
Going back just two hundred years or ten generations to 1811, 1,024 people had to have intimate encounters for you to be here now. If you multiply 1,024 by the number of genes—both latent and dominant—then you have a staggering complexity of possibilities in your makeup. To follow your line back to the beginning of time, well, you have to think in terms of stars and galaxies to grasp the limitless possibilities.
But that’s not all! Your baby sack got dropped into a garden, concrete jungle or war zone. And your family either thought it was a good thing or not a good thing that you were born, and they cried, smiled or cussed.
Now imagine rising up at lightening speed above your crib until you are amongst the stars looking down and seeing all the living beings on the planet—nearly seven billion—and how their thoughts and actions tilt the world mood and outcome like a teeter totter between Nirvana and Armageddon. Now you have a minute sense of the potential influence of heredity and environment.
But heredity and environment are only what is in your bag. It is not YOU.
Your body is the physical draping around the spark of Life that is your pure potential. The oak within the acorn. Your brain is the recorder and processor of information, and your conscious mind—awareness—is your connection with all of Life. Consciousness is not a connection in the sense of a thread or umbilical attachment, but rather like cupping your hands under the water of the ocean.
Your body is the physical envelope if you will, but the whole of the creative Life force fills you and surrounds you and ebbs and flows. It is in you and all around you at the same time. The Life force is in you and every other person, mineral, plant or planet.
Your life began with a choice and is continually micro-directed by every subsequent choice. The first choice was not the obvious one of “him” and “her;” otherwise all siblings would be identical. The first choice that defined you was this sperm and that egg. Now depending on how quickly you individuated and made your own conscious choices, the sooner you took charge and shaped life according to your deepest desires.
You might have been allowed to pair orange and purple as matched socks when you were little or your mother still picked out your shirt and tie for your first job interview. Whichever the case, your heart’s desires were either expressed or repressed.
If you have had a difficult life or are enduring a patch you don’t like, you might complain that you didn’t choose to be born. No one in his or her “right mind” would choose to be born to an abusive parent or some other unfortunate circumstance, but your mind didn’t do the choosing. In its desire for evolution and creation, Life chose to be born through you. The difference between an animal or rock and a human being is that the creative Life force called Nature continues to make the choices.
You, the human being, on the other hand, are aware that you are conscious. You have the will to move with and express Nature through your choices and actions, or override and repress Nature. So what does that have to do with your mixed bag of heredity and environment, and your eventual death?
And what does this all have to do with health and happiness? Well, only this: Everything.
It really may seem with all the infinite possibilities in your makeup, that finding a thread and being solely responsible for creating your life tapestry might seem too complex. There are just too many outside influences and responsibilities, and on top of all that the world is in chaos.
What can you really do? You can’t change the world chaos any more than you can hold back the tides or stop the earth in its orbit. And if you believed you could—how would you manage those choices?
It is actually sublimely simple: What do you desire? The energy of Life starts within and works outward. The oak is already in the acorn. When the acorn falls on the forest floor and takes root, all its energetic focus is on being what it is. An oak. It reaches into the soil for nourishment and water. It reaches skyward toward the life giving light of the sun. It takes up its space in the earth, in the forest, in the air necessary to fulfill its wholeness.
Lichen on the rock beside it, or a tiny plant of wintergreen sprouting waxy leaves and red berries fulfill the “self” same mandate of all that it can be. There is no competition or desire to be other than it is.
Each has its own space and influence on the whole of its environment.
As human beings, our “oak” of Self—actualized—is within us and requires our conscious participation; our free will. We choose how we root into the soil of our physical environment. How we create and share in the abundance that surrounds us in our community, and ultimately how we influence the world in which we live. As humans we are born with basic propensities within an environmental context. Infinite possibilities.
How we play it out is entirely up to us. Pleasure or pain; joy or sorrow. Only in following the inner wisdom of our heart’s true desires will we know how to ride either/or on the buoyancy of a good life well lived!
When we lay our head down on the pillow for the last time, not even then knowing exactly when we will exhale for the last time, what will be running through our mind as important?
The thing is: As we look at the infinite odds that conspired in our unique blend of genes to become us—the microcosm—and then look up to the night sky and imagine those trillions of stars and galaxies—the macrocosm—we glimpse the actual significance of our personal life role in the scheme of the whole of the universe for all time. The only thing that matters is what our life meant to us.
Do you love? Are you loved? Are you fulfilled?
If your name is called tomorrow, are you ready to let go? Up until that last breath will you have been all that you might be—and know the blessing that you are?