Tag Archives: human life

There Are No Absolutes In Real Life

I saw the quote below on social media. I see many quotes like this. I believe these kinds of quotes somewhat miss the mark about life.

Surround Yourself With…

We don’t and can’t always choose who surrounds us. The reality is, we wake up every day and some people just surround us.

We may have our families, friends, people who don’t understand or like us, people who do like us, coworkers, and passerbys. Everyday. The whole mix.

We can certainly cherrypick in who we invest most of our time. For those who live in small towns or villages, at some point we may run out of cherries. We’d still be surrounded by people – whether or not we choose to interact with them. We can also choose to be alone, but are we ever really alone?

Certainly, we can cut off dysfunctional relationships that drain us. However, we can also ask ourselves how we can relate to a wider group of people, without having to get personal or intimate. What if we just related to people without talking about our needs, expectations, and wants? What if relating to others became more about being open to differences and being ourselves?

Asking for people who push you to be better – or do anything else for you – is having an agenda. “If you don’t push me to be better, you are not worthy of being in my life.” Please. We’re all here together to work things out, and what we deem important changes often. Some people change faster, and others change more slowly. But, we all change.

It takes quiet attention, reflection, and the willingness to surrender our biases to relate to different people. We don’t have to sign contracts to see who can get what for their trouble. How can we learn to love if we can’t even see each other for who we are?

No Drama or Negativity

In which universe is that even possible? Not in this one…Not at this time…

What we call drama and negativity is really all of us working stuff out. When people are working out their understanding of life, there is likely to be friction, confusion, and the need to broaden our perspectives.

Reality is messy – the opposite of a clutter-free home with trifolded towels. We are not taught how to handle a mess. Do we walk away? Do we clean it up? Certainly, watching and learning from a mess is also an option. We often react to a mess with lots of emotion, but we can also reach a point when emotions are quiet in any situation. What do we do when we know we can neither walk away nor clean things up?

When a scientist, engineer, or mathematician is working on a problem, there’s writing everywhere – even on napkins. It takes multiple approaches to see our struggles more clearly, and to understand what it is within ourselves that is creating drama.

I think it would be good if people stopped judging drama and negativity because no one can ever say that they have themselves and life completely figured out.

We can practice handling and coping with tense situations in healthier ways. We can learn how to listen even when we don’t like what we hear. We can learn how to ask others to talk about their feedback, whatever it may be.

Over time, there is less and less confusion about oneself. That helps. There is less reaction to people’s viewpoints, and more interest and curiosity. Until then, we can study how to engage with life – beyond just fight or flight.

Higher Goals, Good Times, and No Hate

The highest “goals” I ever found was to learn to see others as they see themselves, and also to see others as if they were already awake. Why would these goals be “high” goals? In my case, I wanted to see beyond my own perspective (which I knew was biased), and I wanted to understand others and life better.

Until we learn more about who each other is, there will be hate.

I understand hate as a kind of intense disgust, rejection, and turning away from another life.

Often people hate what they don’t understand or what threatens them. Since we don’t really understand each other or ourselves, we won’t feel safe. Thus, hatred is not going away any time soon.

It’s better to come clean when we hate, rather than pretending to be beyond it. It’s better to see our anger and fear than to project a saintly glow, which is likely to be fake.

But, we don’t have to act on everything we feel. Just studying our life and what turns us off is interesting in itself. Our reactions reveal something to us about who we are in relation to our lives. Often, such revelations cause us to let go more into the truth that lies hidden beyond who we want to be.

Simply Bringing Out the Best

We’ll be kinder and gentler around some people more than others. We’ll drive some people crazy and put others at ease. People will trigger each other unconsciously toward whatever they already believe about themselves. Often, certain self views are easier to stomach than others.

There is nothing simple about seperlatives. We have no clue what is best or worst. All we can see is that some stimuli make us uncomfortable and others put us at ease. Are we here to just make each other comfortable? Well, that contradicts challenging each other to be our best. Even what is best is subject to interpretation. Best for whom or what? For how long? Do we aim to be mostly comfortable with just a smidge of discomfort? Or mostly uncomfortable with a smidge of comfort? Does it matter?

It’s Appropriate That the Meme Was in B&W

It’s our nature to look for patterns and draw well-bounded conclusions. However, it is not yet second-nature for the human race to be deliberate and slow in how we listen, observe, and study our view of reality.

There really isn’t a best way to live. We are different and we can only live our lives to see what we are made of. If we change, the change will be a natural progression for us.

During a vulnerable moment, I considered changing for someone to make them more comfortable around me. Soon, I saw that it was both impossible and undesirable.

I have and am already changing. I’ve moved away from being able to have 1-1 intimate relationships. So what? There isn’t one right way to live, and I have no reason to force myself to be someone I am not. I’m grateful this is clear to me now, and I am also grateful that my life lets me meet many different people where I practice being who I am. I am happy that life set me up to learn that I am never alone and that it is OK for all people to try and learn who they are.

Living On A Tightrope

Most of us share a common belief that life is dangerous, unpredictable, and unforgiving. No matter how confident some may appear, there is fear purring in the core that everything is fragile and intent on ruin.

Perhaps this fear has been genetically passed down to us by our ancestors, surviving hunger, thirst, intense cold and heat, and the threat of wild animals. Some may even say that fear keeps us alive and is extremely valuable to our survival. We are constantly on guard, balancing on a tightrope over a bottomless abyss, and hoping that today it won’t swallow us up.

This fear of missteps and danger is hardwired into our nervous systems. We want to live and we are simultaneously terrified of life.

I feel this fear from nearly everyone around me. We step lightly as if constantly being watched by death, who may also be wearing the cloaks of failure, shame, and poverty. This is how it has been for thousands of years, and we are still nations powered by cortisol and temporary highs.

Prayer can be a powerful way to unravel core fear. But what do we pray for? The opposite of fear is surrender to the Divine. We can pray to let go into the Divine – let go completely. We pray to stall the gears that cling to control every aspect of our lives. We do our best and surrender everything, even the focus on surrender.

Deep inside, we know that we have no control and interpret that as weakness. However, there is strength and freedom in the wisdom that we are vulnerable, ephemeral, and our lives brighten and dim. There is profound mystery in the life process, which can only be felt while letting go – not holding on.

I do not pray for wealth, comfort, or certainty. I pray to let go ever more deeply into the mystery that lives all of us. I pray to live a life of gratitude and wonderment. I pray to tread lightly with profound respect for all life. I breathe the same air that filled the lungs of others and carried birds and butterflies across continents. I borrow the atoms of those who lived before me. I am thankful. Period.

I walk my tightrope as if it were a giant bridge. What is the point of quivering? Humanity wants to be sure of something – anything. Well, we can be sure of now. And that certainly is humbling.

Even deeper than our fear is the knowledge of the present, giving of Itself to us. When we hear its song, we let ourselves be free of wishing, calculating, and maneuvering. We stop thinking, speaking, and doing, and we begin to listen.

While life wants us to live, people primarily want themselves to live – and to live well. With all of our technology and ability to soften our surroundings, there is a lack of consensus that we can wish each other well. We judge one another to determine our place on the food chain, and we fear that we are not at the top. We hate the ones who have more of what we think we want. We hate ourselves for being so breakable.

I do not care that there are those who appear to have more than me because I believe that there is enough for everyone. Maybe if we all saw this, the entire puzzle of survival would vanish. Maybe the narrowmindedness of short-term gains would simply disappear and a new reality of coexistence with each other and the planet would emerge?

True power is in knowing that we are completely interconnected in life and in death. True power is living life to the brightest torch to which we can align and let go of the rest.

There is an absolute moral compass that always points toward true north. The heart of the human race is true and pure, regardless of the soiled vestments we may wear. 7.6 billion equals 1. Always 1.

Relationships That Teach

Have you ever had a relationship where you were compelled to be and to act a certain way? You may have felt like you were living somewhere between awake and asleep. You made choices. You felt the pain you caused. And you also felt pain from others. Perhaps you had moments of peace, laughter, joy, and that magical feeling of sharing something.

Then, when the relationship was done, you stepped back and saw it from all angles. You saw yourself through the eyes of the other person, and you saw yourself through your awakened eyes. You felt grief for being the person that you were, you felt remorse, and then… you forgave yourself and let go.

Some relationships are just compressed springs in a mattress – they hold energy that must eventually be released to free us. We enter a relationship because we are trapped in a half-conscious slumber – acting out old habits and perpetuating fears. And yet, we click with that specific person to go through it all. If we don’t learn, we just rinse and repeat the same situations again and again. Each time, there is an opportunity to wake up and make different choices.

It is incredibly hard to forgive yourself. It is much easier to live with a feeling of self-hatred. If you knew better, you would have done different. If you let yourself see you through the eyes of others and allow all those feelings of disgust and shame to rise up, you can eventually let go. You must survive this storm of feeling separation from yourself and come out on the other side. Then, there is healing. You feel like you no longer need karmic relationships. You feel done with acting out life dramas. You let go of needing pain to wake you up.

We are certain when a relationship begins and are just as certain when it ends. There is no ambiguity and no wavering. When all the springs unwind, there is no longer any need to be right. There is only compassion for the actors on the stage who served each other through the growing pains, including yourself.

If you remain bitter after a relationship, then you are sure to repeat the experience again. If you hold on to who was right and who was wrong, then you miss the bigger picture that both were enslaved by illusion. If you forgive – a gentle and surrendered tone of existence – you open your eyes and the chains break.

After freedom, you no longer feel passion as an uncontrollable compulsion. Those movie scenes where people are munching on each other’s faces and ripping clothes off? That’s craziness. That’s hunger. However, you must experience this hunger until you see the emptiness of such a brute-force approach to living. Eventually, the craving for that kind of passion dissolves and there is peace.

All of us were hungry for something at one point or another. We all will or have gone through this. The pain wakes us up and we see its futility. Tragedy. Drama. Thrillers. Horror. All genres of life blend into a single controversy of what happens when you don’t know who you are. We all have to go through it to find out, and then we let go.

After you are purified by the fire of teaching relationships, you no longer have such relationships. Then, you have a different way of interacting with people. You are still learning, but as an awakened presence being Itself – not as a Shakesperian actor. You are no longer baited into fear or hunger.

If you are in crisis, ask yourself – what are you holding on to? It’s rarely something outside of yourself, and is typically a belief you are terrified of having about yourself.

You cannot hold on to people or things – there is nothing to own here. The harder you try, the faster everything slips your grasp. While people and things can be a part of your life one day, they can just as easily disappear the next day. The disposition of holding on and trying to freeze the moment must eventually unwind because it only generates that dreaded feeling of loss.

We are raised to covet wealth, couplehood, endless fun, and exotic experiences. But underneath all that, we just want to feel like we are OK. When we make peace with ourselves, a new vista opens before us. An unexplored dimension that assumes we have learned everything that emotion and passion have to offer.

I am neither the first nor the last to cross over into this dimension of life that rests on unconditional love of oneself – and therefore everyone else. I stopped grasping at branches along the shore, allowed the rapids to take me downstream, and became indistinguishable from the water flow.

What I Want My Kids to Learn

I hope my kids learn that they have the potential to be unique, that they can trust the process of life above all else, and that they are free to participate fully in their life.

Most people do not awaken to their uniqueness and do things that have been done countless times before. Most people try to control the uncontrollable – and fail. Most people are trapped in illusions, games, virtual realities, self-created worlds – and they enjoy these fragments over the full reality.

What is reality, anyway? I see it as that which results from an uninterrupted conscious connection to what lives all of us. Reality is the deep-dive into a fiery pit that burns up anything that is not It. What remains is a unique embrace of human and Divine that shines its own light – much like a star that reaches critical temperature for sustained nuclear fusion: the initial burst of light pushes gases out of the way, and then the star is free to beam into space and entwine its light with matter through all expanse.

Reality is unique for each of us because no two will embrace the Divine the same way. Paradoxically, It is also absolute. So, reality is not for the mind to understand but for Life itself to birth as It goes.

I am a pragmatist above all else. As someone who has lived through a wide spectrum of experiences and have overcome numerous hardships, I have come to understand that nothing in life is certain. Life broke me of the desire for certainty because certainty does not exist amidst flux. Then comes the question – how does one live in the face of constant change? Self-reliance, perseverance, and a life-wise telephoto lens that zooms in and out of detail – so that you can see the forest and the trees.

My pragmatism is not cold survivalism. While I identify possibilities and open doors for opportunities to grow, I also burn closed loops and dead pathways. Thus, I risk everything to be true to what I am and I trust That. My life is akin to grooming a Bonzai tree: I prune dead ends, and I cultivate potential channels for expression that is ever near and dear to the core of my being.

I prefer the sweet satisfaction of doing joy, happiness, and exploring new ways to move in our ever changing world. I teach in a school, but I am not a “teacher.” I write, but I am not a “writer.” I make jokes and laugh, but I am no “comedian.” I sing, but I am no “rock star.” Who we are cannot have a label. We can only be seen for all that we are by those who have the ability to see.

I hope my kids will see deeply into life and move with life – partner with life. I hope for them to see the limitations of video games and YouTube channels and movies and shallow conversation, and to be unsatisfied with anything shy of their depth.

Life leaves us breadcrumbs and constant signals to guide us into our fullness. Why not follow these? Why not surrender to truth that can only exist as we live it? While we have the potential to be alive, few have dared to tap it. Most seek safe nooks to hide in and live like hibernating bears. They eat, drink, seek pleasure, and dream. They suffer as the reality of life bleeds through their illusions and causes friction. I hope for my kids to see this root cause of suffering.

If there is no one to see a rainbow, does it exist? A rainbow is the effect of sunlight passing through water droplets and exiting the droplets at just the right angle. The observer must be at a certain location relative to the sun to see the rainbow! If there is no observer there, did the rainbow occur? Yes it did. The light went to that location to be received – whether or not it was received. The Universe recognizes all opportunities and possibilities, whether or not they were engaged. The secret to life is knowing that the truth is always available – to humanity and all else. Being human is not the only way to embrace the Divine, after all.

I hope for my kids to recognize the richness of life, and to see both their individuality and the Whole they represent. I hope for them to pierce the miasm of self-doubt that casts a shadow on the human race. Self-doubt is the leading cause of suicide, as I understand it, which the CDC reported today to be on the rise by 25% since 1999. When reality rubs against our limited perception, the result is disillusionment and unbearable pain. Few recognize this pain as an opportunity to see beyond our limited definition of life. What we think isn’t what it is. Anything to stop the pain, even die. I’ve been there, but I pulled up. It is extremely difficult to do in the moment of hitting bottom.

I hope for my kids to understand the intrinsic and uncaused value of life. They are more than the sum of their thoughts, actions, and words. They are a Big Bang poised to birth a universe. They are deeply loved. They lack nothing. They cannot be defined simplistically, and thus can never be judged for being.

I hope for my kids to choose wisely and to learn the map of how life works in its current state. They must navigate relationships with mostly self-absorbed people who are still asleep, shifting economic trends, and constant choices. Choices have consequences, and timing is everything. Learning to feel the clocks of life starting and stopping is key.

I know that no one can ruin my life because I am responsible for my choices. There is a huge difference between taking responsibility and casting blame. I hope for my kids to learn this difference so that they hold others – and themselves – accountable without blaming.

I hope for my kids to have the courage to be themselves, and the wisdom to not martyr themselves. Wisdom grows as you let go into the moment and allow yourself to be in whatever the moment is, taking appropriate action that expresses you. After all, you is all there is when you let go. Honing the craft of engaging the moment is to master life.

How Resilient Can One Be?

How many times in one lifetime can one completely start over? Can one just pick up and move forward with minimal support after each dramatic change – with little money, no caretakers, and no elder family? Can one start over – and over again – while still honing empathy, compassion, and care for all Life?

I’ve come to understand that I am such an experiment. After my transformation, I’ve noticed a gradual surrender of my life to the overall Life process – the invisible web of interconnections that is all of us. It became impossible to hold on to my life as someone who needed to get something to feel whole. I am already whole. Each time I am in a situation of significant change, I am forced to give up more comfort and more outside support. I am alive to show that complete resilience through surrender to Life is possible while still participating in everyday life.

I came to this country from the poverty of another – only to land in poverty again. I have survived rape as a child. I graduated high school two years earlier than my peers. I chose an extremely challenging technical major in college and went on to get a graduate degree in this field as a woman – when few women ventured into such fields. I’ve played classical piano competively. I’ve lived through 3 marriages, and lost almost everything in the first two. I know what it feels like to lose a child and to get him back – the instincts and love of a mother. I’ve had emotionally distant parents, with whom I’ve lost touch. I’ve had intense jobs, where I worked 60-80 hour weeks for sustained periods of time. I made and lost large sums of money. I’ve had challenges feeling like any place was home, that any group could be family, and that anything can feel “secure.” The few people with whom I shared my life think that I’ve lived many lives, did too many things – they get tired just imagining what I’ve pushed through.

When the transformation occurred about a decade ago, after a brief few months of bliss, there were still dramatic changes to my being. And then – relocation, change of career, challenges finding work, illness, challenges of putting my family on a stable financial track, and more transformation. I have often found myself feeling like living was unbearable.

Each time the rug was pulled from under my feet, I had a choice to give up or to get up again. And that became my life.

To say that I am an experiment sounds sterile and clinical, but it is not. I can feel and understand what Life is trying to discover through my existence. It wants to know if enlightenment can coexist with the nonenlightened beings so that more and more enlightened people can walk the world and spark transformation. We are entering an era when enlightened beings can no longer afford to hide in the mountains.

The only way for me to fail is to stop, but I cannot do that. It is no longer possible for me to even make that choice. I must complete this life to carve a path for others. Each of us does that – carves a path – when we embrace our unique experiment fully and surrender to living it completely.

When life situations are constantly unstable in basic human terms, it is a kind of trauma on the psyche. The challenge then becomes to adjust to being constant change without balking or breaking, without shutting down the ability to feel everything, and still continuing to love life.

The enlightened state turns up the volume on everything going on in the world. The stream of input of people’s experiences pouring in and through is neverending. However, the gift is that nothing “sticks” to drag one down to a place of no return. Laughter, humor, and joy are not only possible – they are prevalent. There is no cynicism or sarcasm. There is no making light of challenging situations. All of this is a flow that is endlessly surrendered to the Life Stream.

Am I perfect and flawless in my execution? Not at all. I stumble a lot, and fall even more. I learn from every interaction and untangle from life’s dysfunctional and impacted blueprints that have been established by countless generations. I suppose it helps that I am no longer capable of hating myself as I face obstacles.

Perhaps self-love and transformation are two sides of the same coin – one is not possible without the other. I am not talking about adoring oneself or artificially propping one’s self up to feel good. Instead, I am describing a fundamental care and the valuing of oneself that can only come from giving up a sense of investment in life to get something from it. Paradoxically, self-love comes by erasing the need to fulfill and fortify an identity, and instead reorienting the being to embrace the messy and dynamic life process as it is. Learning without judgement. Loving without neediness. Letting go without giving up.

Spiritual Teacher Clothing Line

When people become interested in enlightenment, they don’t really know what they are looking for. Then come the books, the crystals, the candles, the gongs, the singing bowls, and the meditation cushions. Maybe they meditate or chant. Maybe they spend hours talking about all-things-deeply-spiritual with others.

Some decide that they are somehow advanced or enlightened because they accumulate some basic sanity about life, or some knowledge, or both. Others realize that they can’t do “it” alone and start shopping for a “spiritual teacher.”

Shopping for a spiritual teacher is a lot like shopping for an outfit. If you didn’t have a good mommy, you are looking for a dream mommy. If you didn’t have a good daddy, you are looking for a dream daddy. If you didn’t have a girlfriend or boyfriend, you hope to get one with a spiritual flair. If you don’t need any of that, maybe you hope for a therapist – a voice of reason that will counsel you through life’s ups-and-downs. And there are so many more ways to mix and match for that personalized, custom-tailored spiritual teacher – perfectly suited for the new identity you want to embody.

On the flip-side, some beings actually put themselves in the public view as spiritual teachers. There are very few who have actually transformed – and even fewer agreeing to meet a handful of seekers here and there. Most publicly available spiritual teachers are beings who got a grip on their “life-on-Earth” thing and serve as life coaches. The entrepreneurial spirit of the West has created many identities of “helpers,” “not helpers,” “catalysts,” “healers,” “mentors” – whatever. A shingle on the door, and the teacher…is…in. That being said, some people are excellent life coaches and do help others successfully navigate living.

Enlightened beings don’t go looking to be spiritual teachers. Confusion creates teachers. Those who are free do not need to teach anyone anything. Sometimes, people come by and they need something. Sometimes, it feels OK to support them. Most people who interact with me have no idea who I am. I don’t have a horse in the race and I understand free will. I also understand the value of a person seeing themselves in the mirror very clearly. Some do need to feel – even for a brief moment –  the loosening of the illusion that we can and do have so much control in life, and that this is actually alright.

I can also see through how people want to use the energy I carry for their own agendas. It’s an unconscious craving that people have – they can feel something “powerful” and they want it for themselves, without actually understanding either what they feel or what “it” really is. Nevertheless,  just by being there, I allow a person to see more clearly how they are tripping over themselves and others in life. And then, I watch what they do with that insight. I may end up giving energy to that person to help themselves heal and move forward, but how they use it is up to them. If they decide to use that energy to lash out at life because of their pent up frustration, I encourage them to not come back. I don’t give it or them another thought.

The problem with the “spiritual teacher” dynamic is that people usually just want to have lives that feel happier, better, good-er, and more meaningful. But that is not transformation. I know from experience that transformation is not something that I could imagine before it happened – and continued – for me.

Transformation is similar to the phase changes of matter – liquid to solid, for example. People studying phase changes make computer simulations to show how liquid water cools: liquid water molecules buzz around in a random state and then, suddenly, organize into clear hexagonal molecule arrangements. Similarly, the lives of a few individuals may birth certain trends and social movements: at first, only a few express something, and then many individuals suddenly organize around a cause or an idea or an experience.

Enlightenment is something that happens suddenly and irreversibly to completely reorganize how you – as a living process – relate to the energy that lives you and everything else. The process continues and there seem to be a number of distinct phases someone can pass through – until the body can no longer support the energy of that being’s life.

One cannot be taught into this different state of being. Yet, it does seem to be the next wave of evolution for humanity at some point in the future.

One can get glimpses of transformation by being exposed to a living being that is already in that state. Furthermore, one can try to study one’s life with the help and insight of a transformed being who can see you clearly. Always, you draw your own conclusions.

To most people, feeling such exposure and lack of control – where there is no game that could be played – is not a pleasant experience. In fact, those who do get to experience such exposure and obviousness of themselves, find it terrifying. Only a certain kind of soul can stare right into the stuff they don’t want to see or know about themselves, and then keep looking until things are healed…. Such tenacity requires great restraint that few have to the degree that is necessary to withstand the heat of profound embarrassment that comes with being seen, and then to move through that fire.

Any dream life is a dream, and people love dreams. They tell lots of stories, look at the stars, and pontificate deeply about whether reincarnation is fake or real, or what Christ and Buddha teachings really mean. This mind-driven analysis touches only a micro-atom of the universe that is unfolding. An enlightened being shows reality, stripped of every dream, every illusion, and turns everything that is held near-and-dear upside-down. How? By being in the room. Nothing special is done. Embodying that energy is all that happens. While I have compassion for pain, I do not engage in people’s games at all. Day-to-day, I engage people through real-world tasks or projects that need to be done – that’s mostly it.

A happy, put-together life, where all the ducks are in a row and quacking, the money is flowing in, and onlookers are dazzled – these are about mastering living on Earth. Even so, complete control and stability are impossible for many reasons. And, these things have nothing to do with becoming an open gateway for the energy that lives all – including all on the Earth. Neither kind of life is better or worse – these are just very different ways of relating to the life process.

So, if you are looking to get your life together, find a good life coach or a pastor or a therapist. Learn how to talk to people, get jobs, manage your finances, eat well, have healthy relationships, and express your talents. Let your life be your teacher and bond with people who can help you out.

If you feel that you have been-there-done-that and are trying a different way to relating to life, then a “teacher” will find you. One thing is certain – all beings who have broken through the first transformation barrier begin to serve as natural mirrors for others, and wherever you go there you are. Until then, you do you.

One thing seems true… You don’t actually stop being born until you die. You unfold your entire life. It is a myth that birthing stops upon exiting the womb.

Whose Lives Matter?

What does each of us believe about the value of one life? Does every life have value? If so, how do we honor every life? If not, how do we decide who should live and die?

The question looms in the background of our biased historical perspectives from time immemorial, where one side villainizes “the other.” The question pervades the fabric of class differences – those who can afford to live can live. This question has been answered, in part, by the legal systems of certain states via the death penalty. This question is answered by who we decide to help after natural disasters and wars. We express our beliefs by how we treat the elderly and our children. We express what we think by our social programs and their lack. We respond by how we treat the addicted or the mentally ill. We also answer when we do nothing and avoid thinking and feeling the lives of the oppressed, the hungry, the depressed, and the lonely.

It is clear that we, as the human race, do not believe that every life has value. And even if we do believe in every living potential, we often do not feel that their quality of life is our responsibility. And yet, many still quote: “It takes a village to raise a child.”

So, what is our responsibility for another’s quality of life? Perhaps, the answer is simple. Perhaps, we do everything we can within our sphere of influence to support others, as long as it does not require us to sacrifice our own lives. Individuality is different from self-absorption, and one must practice self-care.

Perhaps we always teach a man, woman, and child “to fish” first, and offer them loving kindness and healthy boundaries in the process. Perhaps we offer what we can of what is truly needed.

Our natural state is service that respects both the individual and the collective, but we are still learning how to navigate the perceived boundary between the one and the many. We are still maturing in this respect.

The root cause of having to even ask the question of which lives matter and who decides is the way we have tied up value with our economy and those at the top of the net-worth pyramid. Money is still power. People with money buy decisions. Things and people who make money are valued, even if the consumer culture rests on the toiling backs of the so-called expendable and the replaceable. So, we trade, buy, and sell – and this process has more perceived and tangible value than life itself. Yet, the system persists.

Until the system collapses due to its sheer insanity of treating people as disposable, service is the only option to honor life. Service is a challenging concept to grasp when one is not naturally in balance with the Whole. Proper service requires a profound understanding of oneself and others. What are our strengths? What are our limitations? Are our limitations real, or self-created and self-maintained? What do others really need? Have we properly listened, heard, and empathized with another’s experience? Then, life becomes about profound connections and less about status and turning a blind eye to status quo.

It is possible to over-serve at the expense of oneself, and it is possible to under-serve through overdeveloped self-absorption. The question of service requires a deep connection to the Web of Life, which expresses itself through all of us. Feeling this Web of Life as a reality and following Its guidance is the key, but what if one doesn’t feel It?

Prescriptive dogma develops when the dynamic flow of life is elusive. Rigid views and boxed strategies evolve from a lack of sensitivity. Until we, as a race, learn to know the dynamic moment, we will continue to write rules and laws for every occasion. Until our geyser of creativity bursts, our apparent choices will seem limited, as will our ability to engage situations.

I know that this is not the only way, and that we can evolve beyond prescriptive living into the nuanced awareness of our unique roles within the Whole.

Before we can build and rebuild, there must be a vision. What if the vision is for us to know one another so well that we can feel anyone’s pain as if it were our own? What if, when others spoke, we listened with the same focus we currently invest into being heard by others? What if we had a natural compass for appropriate boundaries, which do not violate our unity?

Meditation, as taught by an awakened teacher, is a way for us to break free of processed-and-packaged regimes. As the inflamed pustules of this world continue to rupture and expose the underlying dysfunction, a wave of true teachers will again walk among people openly to directly transmit the lost art of meditation.

Today, people are mostly interested in relaxing (or distracting themselves) from life’s stresses, rather than fundamentally transforming their relationship to life – to rest in the Divine (which redefines the whole experience of stress). Transformation is not yet seen as a viable, or even possible, option.

Make no mistake, what must be learned cannot be learned from a book, but through the living pages of embodied teachers who have already crossed the lake of transformative fire. Books are great at introducing ideas, but will not provide the feedback and support needed to transcend oneself – those going through the process will attest to its challenges and times that feel unbearable. For most, meditation is still a lost art. It is the meditation – communion with the Divine – that gets one through to an entirely new perspective on the value of our lives and any life.