The End of the Road

As you may know from a previous blog, my husband and I have been traveling extensively for the 22 years of our marriage. During the last 6 and 1/2, we have been nomads – no home, no car. This year I had planned a 5 and 1/2 month trip to and around Europe. Two weeks before we left, we learned that my husband has bone cancer.

Ron looked good and felt good – aside from increasing pain which he attributed to arthritis. We optimistically believed we had many good months ahead and proceeded with our trip. Sadly, our optimism was not warranted. Ron began to decline soon after we boarded the ship for the transatlantic crossing. Upon arriving in Europe, he struggled through a painful, debilitating 3 weeks before conceding that we had to fly back to the U.S. After one week in the hospital, he was admitted to hospice. And now we wait.

Lingering in the shadow of death with a loved one, everything that is unimportant is stripped away. You soon realize that the vast, vast, vast majority of what we think and do and give our attention to is unimportant.

Life as we know it is a fleeting image. As Buddha said, “A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky.” What are you doing with the miniscule amount of time you have on this earth? What are you thinking, worrying or dreaming about? Who are you spending time with? Who are you loving, forgiving, resenting, praising or complaining about? How are you treating your family, your friends, your co-workers, strangers? How are you treating your body? Are the words you speak kind or cutting?

If everything you think and say and do is not an expression of love, then it is unimportant. It a waste of time. It is meaningless. You may be successful, even rich and famous. But if you do not do what you do with love, all the money and success in the world will not bring happiness, fulfillment or peace.

Though we bandy the word love about, Love is actually too big to comprehend. Personal love is often tainted by neediness, expectation, and dependency. Impersonal love is a shower of light that shines on everything and everyone.

If you could see the ugliest leper with the eyes of Love,
His beauty would out-dazzle in your eyes the starlit sea.

If one drop of the Wine of Vision could rinse your eyes,

Wherever you looked, you would weep with wonder.
Rumi

Impersonal love recognizes the unity of life. It has no boundaries, no conditions. Perhaps the closest we come to love in this world is forgiveness, gratitude, patience, kindness, compassion. Oh, that those characteristics would be our goals. Not the perfect body or the ideal mate or the rich bank account. All that is impermanent, meaningless in the end…

Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:14

My husband says he loves me now more than ever. In the end, everything else dissolves. Only love remains. The love we have been showered with at this time is overwhelming; far beyond what I could have imagined. I am humbled. My ego says, “I cannot possibly be worthy of this.” But I realize that is the ego’s way of making us shut down and reject love. And so I pray to keep my heart open that the love flowing to me flows through me. I pray to remember and live my life by the knowledge that…

At the end of the road, nothing matters but love. SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Hate Makes the World Go Round

Let’s be honest – it’s hatred not love that makes the world go round. Hate gives rise to terrorism, violence, racism, and bullying. It’s hate at the root of greed and anger, hostility, and abuse. Hatred divides and gives birth to most of the problems in the world.

What is this overpowering, malignant force? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, hate is “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.”

Sources of Hatred 

Fear. Safety and security are in jeopardy. Think economic collapse, terrorism or failing health.

Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear. Bertrand Russell

Anger. Value is demeaned, belief system threatened. Think insult, ridicule, liberal vs. conservative.

Debate and dialogue is taking a back seat to the politics of destruction and anger and control. Dogma has replaced thoughtful discussion between people of differing views. James McGreevey

Injury. Physical harm has been inflicted. Think violence, torture, physical abuse to self, others, animals.

Pursuit of the ability to manipulate and control now produces only violence and destruction. Gary Zukav

Thanks to the media, fear, anger and injury are all around us. One would think that the world is fast imploding with violence and hatred. But according to Steven Pinker’s masterpiece The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, “violence has actually been in decline over long stretches of history, and today we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.”

That is not to deny that there are horrendous acts of violence taking place every day. But when it is fed to us across every media channel, it builds fear and fear can spark irrational hatred.

Why Such Focus on Fear and Violence?

Fear is a powerful force of manipulation. This from The Power of Fear:

Fear is instilled in us at an early age and infects our perceptions throughout our lives. We are taught to be afraid of crime, afraid of losing our jobs, afraid of AIDS, afraid of immigrants, afraid of the Russians (or the Moslems), afraid of terrorism, afraid of chaos, afraid of failure, afraid of not being loved, afraid of going to hell. All these apprehensions are seized on and magnified by the media, the government, the corporations and the Church, whipping us into a frenzy of fear.

Our fears control us, dominate our thoughts and poison our emotions. When we are afraid, we are weak and obedient. When we are afraid, we will do anything, believe anything, submit to anything or anyone to feel safe.

When we are afraid, we give up not just our power, but our humanity. We see others through the lens of hatred not realizing that it is ourselves we demean. Thinking we are right puts us in instant, automatic opposition to anyone who does not agree with us. We see the other side as the bad guy, not realizing that the other side sees us as the same way.

Fear is the most debilitating emotion in the world, and it can keep you from ever truly knowing yourself and others…its adverse effects can no longer be overlooked or underestimated. Fear breeds hatred, and hatred has the power to destroy everything in its path. Kevyn Aucoin

And destroy us, it will. With our rapidly growing population, we must learn to co-exist peacefully. The solution to many of the world’s problems has long been obvious: Nutrition and education. There would be a significant decrease in war, environment and social problems if some of the money that goes into defense spending were diverted into providing basic nutrition and education.

Education is a lifelong responsibility. We must educate ourselves on the issues. We must stop believing everything we hear or see in the news. We must demand real news, true facts. One fact that is surely obvious after all this time….

War has not solved the problem of radical terrorism

Understand The Psychology of Terrorism: Why Normal People Become Deluded Murderers. 

Learn about the positive contributions of Muslims and a concise explanation of the causes of terrorism in…

The Lost History of Muslim Geniuses and the Truth About Terrorism

And most of all, we must learn about ourselves and ever strive to learn and grow. If we do not rise above them, fear and hatred will destroy us individually and collectively.

Is it not time to listen to the better angels of our nature?

The Mystic Rumi on Love and Longing

Jalal-ud-Din Rumi (September 30,1207 – December 17, 1273) was a Persian poet and mystic. His prose expresses both the longing for and joy of union with perfect, infinite Love.

Who has not experienced longing? We long for a person, a feeling. We crave an object or a substance. And yet nothing we obtain can fill that longing for but a moment because what we seek is not of this world.

What we really long for is re-union with our Source. We have within us a faint memory of perfect peace and utter bliss or we would not crave it.

Listen carefully to Rumi’s words and you will hear the same song being sung by your soul.

From Rumi: The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing translation by Coleman Barks, John Moyne, Nevit Ergin, Reynold Nicholson, M.G.Gupta

Someone who does not run toward the allure of love walks a road where nothing lives.

Philosophers have said that we love music because it resembles the sphere sounds of union. 
We’ve been part of a harmony before, so these moments of treble and bass keep our remembering fresh.

Knock on the inner door, no other.

There is a fountain inside you.
Don’t walk around with an empty bucket.

A little while alone in your room will prove more valuable
than anything else that could ever be given you.
Hear the passage into silence and be that.

The following are lines are taken from www.dailyom.com/mycourses, translations by Andrew Harvey

We are darkness and God is Light; 
This house receives
all splendor from the Sun

Here, the Light is mingled with shadow.
Do you want your light totally pure?
Leave the house and climb onto the roof.

Go on a journey from self to Self, my friend…
Such a journey transforms the earth into a mine of gold.

Whatever you know, or don’t  only Love is real.

Run forward, the way will spring open to you
Be destroyed, you’ll be flooded with life
Humble yourself, you’ll grow greater than the world
Yourself will be revealed to you, without you.

If anyone had once, even once, glimpsed Your Face of Lightning, 
They’d spend every second stammering Your Praise.

Each moment, like the angels, they’d offer their heart to Your Fire,
Each moment, like the angels, they’d be reborn in You.

You are ‘there’, I ‘here’.
Worlds separate us,
Yet I say your name and waves of Light
Wash to me silently from your Heart.

There are a myriad of different ways to search, but the object of the search is always the same.
The roads are different; the goal is one.
When people reach the goal, all quarrels or disputes that flared along the road are resolved.
Those who yelled at each other along the road, “You are wrong!” or “You are a blasphemer!” forget all possible differences when they reach the goal.
There all hearts sing in unison.