While I was puttering around the house today, I kept asking myself “Why can’t I have the things that I want?”
What I meant was this: a good job that I like, someone to love and who loves me back, an easy kind of love. A nice house with that person, a garden that we both tend to. Flowers growing on the front porch, and colorful Adirondack chairs. Enough money to travel several times a year and buy art.
These kinds of things.
The answer kept coming back to me, over and over, in different iterations: “Because those things won’t make you happy—you just think that they will.”
Over and over, the same refrain arrived.
And I would say, “But other people get to have those things. And even if they won’t make me happy, I want them.”
And then the answer would come again: “They won’t. And that’s not what you really want. What you really want is to be happy.”
“So how do I get that?”
“You have to wait and find out. You will get it when you know that nothing outside is ever going to get you there.”
In other words, “Patience, Young Padawan.”
Aka you can’t rush to enlightenment; aka there are no shortcuts; aka the only way there is through.
Aka wherever you go, there you are.
I kept telling the voice to f*ck off and hurry up and let me have what I want. And it just kept laughing in its quiet way and shaking its head, saying, “Not yet. You’ll get there. But not yet.”
I asked if there was anything I could do to help me get there, or to hurry it along, and it shook its head again. It leaned back in its rocker and combed its long white hair with its gnarled fingers, and said, “Didn’t I just tell you there are no shortcuts? You have lessons to learn yet.”
And then I asked, “Will I always be truly alone?”
And the answer came: “We are both never alone and always alone. The choice is yours to hold in your heart. How you feel towards yourself and towards me is how you will feel about the answer. You’ll probably flip back and forth a million more times, because that is the nature of the human mind. But you’ll never escape this feeling, until death.”
So I asked, “Is death enlightenment?”
And the answer came:
“Not in the sense that you think of it. It is simply a transformation of your form. It is, in the sense that it lightens you. You no longer have a body so you no longer have a form to hold you in this realm. It becomes easier in some ways, and harder in others. You no longer have an ego, so you don’t have any sense that you are separate from anything. It is the space that you felt when you entered the Realm. In death, we are free to travel anywhere that we want to in an instant—less than an instant—you merely have to wish it and then it immediately is so. But in death, we also do not get to experience any pleasure, outside of knowing that we are connected to all beings (and all non-beings.)
So, there are trades.
My point being: enjoy life while you can. Enjoy sex and enjoy feeling being in your body as much as you can. Enjoy all the senses, as often as possible. Enjoy music and pounding beats and the smell of flowers and the sensation of a breeze across your cheek, and the pounding of your two hearts against each other as you hug someone you’re excited to embrace.
Enjoy fatty foods and enjoy how it feels to eat something that makes your body feel amazing and clean. Enjoy it all, as much as you can. Enjoy the feeling of climbing to a tall peak and breathing in the thin, cool air of a mountaintop. Enjoy the feeling of your hands in your dog’s fur and the sound of your best friend laughing at a joke you told.
Enjoy the pain, too, because just think of how bored you become when everything is the same all of the time. Enjoy every feeling you can possibly experience, because when you are here with me, when you no longer have the privilege of a body, you will no longer enjoy variety of any kind.
But you won’t care.
Unless you do—in which case you’ll be sent back for another round.”
Author: Omy Keyes
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Hartwig at Flickr