“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.” – Rumi
For most individuals, a goodbye is experienced as the end; bringing sorrow in the discovery that something unique is missing in their lives. We are all ‘tourists’ in Life, sharing a moment with someone who could touch our journey into the next moment. Love from the heart is a type of consciousness, which could take us beyond the sense of individuality and its fears. Only in the perception of individuality we meet attachment, neediness and label those many times as love. However, beyond that perception there is completeness in feeling, in BEING even though someone may be missing in our lives.
“Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.” – Lao Tzu
There is no Life without Death, thus it follows; there is no Death without Life. That ‘line’ is truly a circle after all.
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” – Mark Twain
When we fear one side of a coin, fear will also be for the other side, for a side of a coin cannot exist without being the whole coin. Living fully is not a bag of ideas, thrills, or behaviors. Living fully is known by those who love fully with their heart and soul. Truly, that is not a “preparation to die” which is the idea generated by a stoic mind, but a gift received by those who perceive Life from the heart.
“Death is a word, and it is the word, the image, that creates fear.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
The ones reading these words will not meet his own death. It will be “someone else.” As Life is change, so ‘we’ change with it. For many, the idea of death becomes more acceptable in their old age. Fear does not remain the same. We cannot fear the unknown (Death) but the idea of losing that which has been known. Therefore, Death is simply a word to fear until we meet the reality of it. Paradoxically, there is no fear in the moment of meeting a ‘reality.’ Fear is always there before, in anticipation.
In a rare sunny afternoon in the middle of Winter, the master and his disciple had a conversation on the master’s house rooftop, while overseeing human “progress” in a classical crowded, busy city: Buildings upon buildings of concrete with the characteristic background noise of cars, motorcycles, horns and even fruit salesmen with megaphones, voicing their latest deals. That setting was perfect to practice observation and appreciation skills. Nevertheless, the master had a few pots there, with gorgeous aloe plants and geraniums to look at, and practice those same skills. The art of appreciating Life is in finding beauty in everything.
The disciple asked: “Master, why is it that good people seem to have so many problems to deal with? My neighbor’s kid ran away from her house then she lost all of her savings during a fire. She is a good person! Why does Life seem to be so unfair?”
The master listened attentively and replied:” Our judgment shows our conditioning. Life events occur as consequences of our actions and emotions. Today you may learn something new. Many are not ready for this yet but, you are. Good and evil are part of the human perception of a society ruled by the misunderstanding of duality. It is conditioning. Life itself is beyond those definitions, those borders created by the human mind.”
The disciple was surprised and replied: “ But master, I see people harming another. We cannot call that good.”
The master listened and smiled: “ If we cannot call that good, we call it bad, evil and we will throw in our emotional charge to demonstrate our rejection. Correct? That is exactly the point. Those labels could be used only to identify something due to the limits of language but if you judge, you are missing the point. If you observe someone harming another, do you reject that one? Look at your emotions. If you find rejection, distaste, you are judging based on your social conditioning. Remain unbiased, even if you participate to avoid further harm. ”
The disciple responded:” But what is wrong with that, master? I will do what is necessary to stop that fight and side with the good ones.”
The master smiled and said: “ Observe how you continue using those dualistic words: good, bad, right, wrong to emit judgment. Do as you wish, but observe that your feelings remain unmovable to either side. Let me explain: A strong Earthquake will kill many. Shall we label that as bad and reject that? Interestingly, many call an Earthquake an ‘act of God’ but yet in their minds, that God is good. Do you see the deceiving game of words and judgment? We do not know about the different events that will happen in Life, for Life is uncertain. There is no security in it; but yet if events are suitable to our viewpoint, we label those as good and pretend to find security in them by holding on with something that will change. We experience fear instead, which we then label as bad. That is the conditioning that we need to become aware of. More important than those labels are the emotions that we send out. Those are actions in itself and that which we emotionally reject, will be attracted toward us like a magnet. Our emotional charge becomes the strength of that magnet. Do you remember the time when you saw a couple fighting? What happened?”
The disciple remembered that episode. The boy was starting to beat up the girl and the disciple tried to separate them. To his surprise, the girl said to him: “ Why do you interfere with our fight? Who gives you that right?”
The disciple said: “ I thought I was doing the right thing. But obviously, they didn’t think so.”
The master smiled and said: “Now, you are starting to understand. You acted with an emotional impulse based on your conditioning of what is right to do. You did not feel inside you whether your presence was required there. You did not ask first, if you could be helpful. You merely thought to be right… and that gave you the right. Similarly, you will find out that our social conditioning is very limited to understand Life. Look at the Sun up there. It is giving light to all. It is not judging who is good or bad, who deserves this or that. Ruminate on this: People are caught in the duality of good and evil but Life and the angelic realm are beyond good and evil.”
In a lovely afternoon, the rain was sparsely falling with utmost care. Its main function wihtout doubt, is to nourish all plants. That, we could say it is Nature’s responsibility.
Once the rain stopped, the master and his disciple observed some tiny hummingbirds, flying rapidly from flower to flower. They had another responsibility to fulfill as well.
The master asked: “ As you could see every being in Nature has a task. Something which they are responsible for. I have a question for you: What is responsibility? Search the answer in yourself. I will ask you that question again tomorrow.”
The disciple was confused. He knew that Spiritual teachings are different than merely finding a dictionary definition. But, just in case he read those dictionary definitions but also he looked up written material from spiritual gurus. He wanted to come up with a solid, informative, thought out answer for his master.
The day arrived quickly, and they met at the same place. The master asked: “What is your answer?”
The disciple said: “ Master, there are different views of that word. For most it is about fulfilling an obligation or duty and to accept the consequences of following certain path which was thought to be the best. Now, for a spiritual guru; responsibility is the duty that oneself has to dissipate darkness, and to be our own lighthouse.”
The master said: “ Alright. There is no point in repeating what others have said. Look in Nature. Do you believe that beings in Nature act based on a sense of duty or obligation?”
The disciple said: “No, master. I believe they have an intention guiding them to act. It is almost as if they were in tune, vibrating with what is needed.”
The master said: “ You know we are all one. Most humans do not experience that and they come up with definitions to support their collective individualistic view. In Nature; the intention of all beings is aligned with their actions. That is their responsibility. It is not a duty or an obligation as the dictionary may say. Observe how responsibility for humans, has been tinted with an accountable burden. It is that constant perception of separation given by their minds, which has distorted their feelings.”
The disciple smiled as he thought he gave the “correct answer.”
The master said: “Very good! But there is more.”
The disciple was surprised: “More?”
The master said: “Yes. When we are not conscious of our potential, we do not know our function and we could fall sleep in the belief that we are ‘good responsible people’ to the point where we forget to do what it is truly important. Therefore, discover your potential within; that is how you belong as a particular piece of the totality of Life. Then you will know your responsibility.”
That was a time of uncertainty, fear and turbulence among people in the world. No one expected such a time, for most were busy and entertained, producing wealth and pleasure for themselves. No one expected the unexpected. The news were flowing with unusual distress and the ‘experts’ talking heads, were spreading their own stress and emotionality non stop, through the omnipresent tube.
The disciple asked: “ Master, many people believe that spirituality does not give any real solution to the problems that the world is facing. For example, what kind of advise could spirituality give to a person who is watching over his older parents and relatives going through emotional and physical issues, while at the same time living a time of high Covid-19 infection; where cash flow is uncertain and there is fear of catching the virus or giving it to someone?”
The master smiled and gave a comforting pat on his disciple shoulder pad before continuing.
The master said: “ Spirituality is not a source of advise. It is a source of strength and inspiration. Strength for what? you may ask. Strength to go through the test or problem that Life may offer. Spirituality will give you an overview on Life’s laws. That should give a person a starting point in their understanding. Experiences will arrive to test that understanding and to make that theory into something practical. Without those tests there is no possibility to move on in consciousness. Those are the tests of the school of Life itself.
Observe your intention. Through that intention establish a good conversation with your relatives. Merely put your ideas, worries and hopes on the table. Do not look for solutions and rationalizations, but for understanding at the emotional level. After that meeting, the sense of unity should be there rather than finding a solution.
Most humans think in terms of ‘solutions,’ that is an ideal formula that will make sure the outcome of circumstances will be according to their wishes. There is a solution to fix a computer, but among humans and Life, solutions are very rare. Have you noticed that? Someone will be discontent or dissatisfied despite a rational ‘solution.’ Life is not a problem to be solved. It is an experience to be experienced.
Once your good intention is known, that is the lighting candle that will light up the others. Life, death, health, disease, abundance or shortage…. Those dualities are part of experiencing Life. Sooner or later we will experience those experiences. Therefore; be aware of your intention behind your actions, behind your words for there resides our liberation from making a Life experience into a bitter traumatic experience. Finally, be open to accept Life as it comes to you. Some call that surrendering to Life, others trusting it.
Fear comes when we have our minds set in a future which Life may not bring to us. Then, we want to fight, we want to oppose, we want for others to be on our side and help us to get our way. At the end, Life will continue on and so, are we. Do you understand? We will continue on.”
The disciple understood as the master explained in a calm, non emotional voice. However, he wanted to summarized what was already digested in his BEING after hearing those words, with a couple of catchy words perhaps to remember the teaching or remind others. The disciple then said: “ Master, you are basically saying to DO my best then?”
The master laughed and responded: “As you said; but even better, BE your best. Meet the movie of Life as a hero actor.”
There was a long walking path by the Bay. Many people used to walk there at night. The rhythmic on going waves incessantly caressed the shore, which had a small long wall separating the water from the side walk. There were many sitting benches around. The master and his disciple sat on one, to watch the moon and the stars while enjoying the gentle breeze coming from the Ocean.
As they were enjoying themselves, they overheard a conversation from the adjacent bench. It was a young couple. They had to break up from their relationship. That sitting bench was the lovely place they picked to say ‘good bye.’ After they departed on their own separate ways, the disciple said:
“Master, all departures could be painful and sad. I am sure that couple loved each other but for some reason they had to separate. Why is life so unfair?”
The master listened to the emotional question and after a brief moment responded: “ If you find someone, it is sure that at time will come when that one will go away, a good bye. That is not unfairness, it is the way the laws abide in this world of duality. Even tough we have this human experience, many do not want to understand that reality, and suffer instead. Observe that departure is the opposite of arrival. Just like in the airport! Both must be experienced by all. Observe that Life will bring a variety of scenes with different individuals and circumstances, but yet portraying the same story. This couple had the chance to say good bye. Others do not. That is another duality. Some say good bye with the chance to see each other again if destiny allows it, while others will depart for good. Another duality. Although at the end, as time goes by everyone will change and that experience will be the past. No one is never the same. Life only has one time and that is the present, the now. Observe how important is to be conscious of every unique moment that Life brings; but yet we rather dwell in the mind, and live in the past or the future which are no longer Life.”
The disciple listened and he understood how emotional suffering arrives, when there is no awareness of the coin of Life and its two faces, but he had another question: ” But master… That couple were in love. How could that be to find someone so close and that experience does not last too much, that seems sad.”
The master had a smirk in his face and replied: “ Fair and unfair. Sad and happy. Duality. We tend to judge Life as if we understood this wonderful unique movement. Time is irrelevant for the soul. It is just the experience that matters, for that can change you within 1 second. All of these experiences that we experience in Life, have only one purpose. Do you know what that is?”
“No master, said the disciple.”
The master then said: ”To allow us to be someone different: Good, bad, right, wrong… Those are labels that we use to describe what we judge through our conditioning, but every actor in Life has the chance to change; but yet we want to remain the same. Wouldn’t that stubbornness open another door for bitterness and sorrow? Of course. “
The disciple insisted: “but, love master. They were in love…”
The master took a few moments to respond: “Human love is a peak. After the peak comes a valley. Life will give many experiences which will be a peak for us, and we will try to maintain those or become addicted to those peaks, without recognizing the valleys. In human love, the most intense experiences will tend to have a shorter life span while the less intense, will be longer. Have you observed that?
Many couples grow used to each other. After many years, their love is only a comfortable same-old-thing experience. While others may have lived a peak for a short time, enough to change their lives and then their paths will separate. Destiny will bring you exactly what you need to experience at this time. Have you experienced that sort of romantic separation? “
The disciple smiled and said: “ A few years back, I loved someone dearly. Life didn’t allow us to be together at that time for she did not feel the same for me. After a couple of years of feeling rejected, she passed away unexpectedly.”
The master replied: “I understand. But do you? You were rejected, that was the experience. The opposite of that duality may be in the horizon, unless you want to remain the same. If you do not reject that experience but allow yourself to heal and hope for the best, then your next experience will definitely be different. As a changed experienced person, perhaps you will experience when both meet in a peak of love to allow Life to change both of you. But remember that a peak will bring a valley. Accept and enjoy both and you will be in continuous harmony with the duality of Life.”
It was a beautiful afternoon. The Sun was about to set. Vivid colors appeared in the sky. There was a shade of bright red mingling with a burst of orange, mixed together with a shy hue of yellow at the foreground. A blue background, was still visible while white and gray clouds were moving slowly south east. Darkness appeared little by little from the right side of the horizon, insinuating a close take over.
The master and his disciple were looking at the sky from the rooftop of the master’s home.
The master asked: “Do you see how subtle and almost imperceptible is the change of colors in the sky?”
The disciple said: “Yes, master. You really have to look carefully to catch up with those changes.”
The master replied: “ Are those changes too quick for you?”
The disciple responded: “ No master, quite the opposite. It is hard to keep my attention in those changes.”
The master said: “ I see. You are not looking. You are expecting for some outcome to occur. Your mind understands that darkness is about to come and that expectation does not allow you to look.”
The disciple felt awkward with that reply and said: “No, master. I am looking.”
The master continued: “ Do you feel nourished by that scene?”
The disciple said: “Master, I am looking, seeing the sky. Where could I possible get nourishment?”
The master sighed and said: “ When you look and become delighted with such spectacle and put all your senses in attentive mode, there is no interference from the mind. Right there, a sense of well being, peace and tender solitude invades you. That is nourishment for the soul. That is to look. On the other hand, when the mind interferes, it only looks to analyze, dissect, label, compare and expect. There is no nourishment there.”
The master took a few seconds to continue: “There is a lesson to learn there as well. Did you learn something?”
The disciple didn’t respond. The master said: “ You mentioned about change of colors. The change of light into darkness is very smooth. Most, probably haven’t even looked at the end of a delightful afternoon and do not know about this lesson from Life itself. Observe: For any change to be non-contentious, it has to be very smooth. It is not quick. It happens little by little. This holds true for any change in society, as well as consciousness. When offering change to another, keep his attention in the colorful parade, for otherwise he will not be able to stand the sudden change from darkness into light. Respect his process and move slowly to avoid any hue of violence. That level of care is in synchronicity with the laws of Nature.”
Autumn arrived. It is the balancing act of Nature. High Summer activity will enter gradually into a period of rest. Some will feel happy because the heat of Summer is over. Others, will remember with nostalgia the great Summer time they had, hoping for that experience to come back again, some day. Summer will be back again. It is certain, just like the cycle of Life and Death.
The disciple was sad. A loving relative passed away. It was unexpected. It was in the midst of Summer. The disciple couldn’t shake that feeling of sadness from his heart. He went to his master and asked:
“Master, why is it so difficult to go over that feeling of sadness? Why does it persist? It is as if my mind brings piles of thoughts which end up in a feeling of despair.”
The master allowed the disciple to weep and when he was ready, the master replied: “ Losing someone we love is another experience in the vastness of Life. There are those who love things after they’ve lost them, and there are those who squeeze things hard so they do not lose them. Observe this: When we live in the mind, it will take us to the past which is gone or to the future which may not arrive. We don’t live in the reality of now, where Life unfolds, where love truly is.”
The disciple was disconcerted. He was waiting for some words to mitigate his pain. He asked: “ Do you think that my sorrow is in vain? I have the right to feel this way.”
The master understood his pain and lovingly said: “I feel your sorrow. Observe that all relationships have value, but when we value one relationship more than another, we set ourselves up for sorrow as all relationships sooner all later will disappear.”
The disciple responded: “Then, it is better not have relationships, for pain will be felt at the end.”
The master remained in silence for some time and then he added: “ Observe that many times we take Life experiences as traumatic experiences. We want to protect our self and by doing that we punish ourselves from the opportunity to forge new relationships. Life is relationship.”
The disciple had enough and he said: “What is the answer then ?”
The master replied: “ That is for you to find out. In a hot and humid Summer day, the wind will blow and clouds will appear turning the sky into a dark, gloomy day. Then, when darkness cannot be anymore, rain and thunder will arrive and lightning may show its anger by hitting things, but then soon it will be over and a rainbow will appear. Like Nature, express at once without holding back and move on into the rainbow for there is much more in Life than lightning and a dark sky. Everything has its own time. All experiences are fleeting. Enjoy an experience while it lasts. Not as a memory but as a heart felt experience while it is happening in the now. That will nourish that self that we try endlessly to protect. Remember that even lightning has its own beauty and that death is not the end but a passage. Summer which is gone now, will certainly return again. Spring time is its own colorful passage. In Life, what goes away comes back and once it is here, it goes away again. It is the circle of duality. That is the game we are offered to play and enjoy or to reject and traumatize.”