In these bodies, we have a finite amount of time for living. Certainly our souls may be infinite – something about us surpasses time – but our bodies, they die. It is irrefutable. Therefore, in what way can one be sure one is living fully every moment of every day? And, what is the reason we were granted life in bodies, bodies separate from other bodies?
All of life is connected energetically (and, in many ways, physically and practically); as a combined whole, we are one being – the Gaia theory is simple in concept – that each aspect of life on the planet is a part of one body. So it is as if you are a skin cell or a red blood cell or any such thing, and your pure and good functioning allows for the health of the greater body.
The separate nature of our beings is practical and wise in that it allows for specialization. Flowers bloom, vultures consume decay, humans build and love, worms make the soil more fertile, that sort of thing. Even in our society, human specialization makes the human world much better. Some are drawn to be doctors, some writers, some teachers, some police officers. We are born with certain purposes, and each of our purposes helps the whole thrive.
Back to the question, how can we live fully every moment of every day? Like any life form, our health is aligned with our growth. Plants grow. Animals grow. Cells grow. Viruses grow. Growth is life. Stagnation or withering is aligned more with death. Certainly a simplified answer is to have the courage to do the things that help you grow.
When you are living in a way that helps you grow, you feel the health of it! You feel the air rushing into your lungs, you see the vibrant colors in the sunset, you feel the purposeful energy flowing through your body.
When you are living in a way that is stagnant, at best, withering and decaying, at worst, you feel the disease of it. The air feels putrid and heavy, the colors seem bleak, grey predominates, energy is stuck, unmoving.
One must do the things one needs to do in order to grow. That means, be courageous. Always do the courageous thing. If you want to get to know someone, but you are afraid to ask that person to dinner, do it anyway. If you want to get in shape, but you are procrastinating and finding reasons why you don’t need to run, do it anyway. If you want to write, paint, knit or whatever your creative outlet is, but you do everything else first (the laundry, the cooking, the bills, whatever it is you feel you need to do), create anyway. Do the things that help you grow. Do the things that allow your body to circulate purposeful energy. Abundance will come to you, necessary things and people will come to you, and then, as you are a healthy, circulating being, through you that abundance will go to others, to the other life forms who benefit from your health. Your gain is the world’s gain. Your health is the world’s health.
Contrapositive to this given alignment, of course, is that your stagnation, your decay contributes to society’s stagnation, the world’s decay. Your lack of health affects the world.
Fortunately, the world is big, the great life form is powerful, and decaying cells are sloughed off, eventually, as easily as human skin sloughs off skin cells.
So, the why of my original question is easy. Why should one live fully every day? To be a vibrant healthy aspect of the one being. To allow life energy to circulate through you. The more perplexing question is: How? How does one live fully every day?
Part of the answer rests in the fact that we are in separate bodies. We are separate so that we can help each other grow. We cannot share one mind or one body and also experience merging with an other. We have to be separate in order to merge. And in the merging comes growth. The seed breaks open into the soil. The water merges with the soil and seed. Over time, the sun is absorbed through the chlorophyll. Like a plant, like a seed, we become, we grow, through our contact with and absorption of other aspects of life.
Think of athletics. In martial arts this is beautifully displayed. The fight is almost ceremonial, a beautiful dance, an artistic form of combat, and it needs two beings in order for the form to exist. They could never properly demonstrate these skills against an imaginary foe – they need someone else in the arena, someone else with mass, weight, and skills to show the strength and coordination of the movements. And it takes courage to step into that arena, to battle the worthy foe, for we know that one of the two will end on the ground, “defeated.”
But even if you are the one who gets thrown to the ground, you have still lived, you have lived fully and had a big experience. Without that opponent in that opposite colored outfit, you would never have had that experience. You could never fight yourself and feel that sense of courage and the thrill that comes with the experience.
You have to fight another in order to find and battle the weakest, most fearful aspects of yourself.
When I play someone else in tennis, I am pushed beyond my limits in ways I would never be pushed when practicing on my own. I am forced to make shots beyond what I thought I was able to do. I am forced to run faster than I would ever run on my own, for practice. I am forced to react, react, react, quickly and decisively over and over, or I will be beaten. And the joy I feel through the competition (and the growth) is leagues beyond any joy I feel when practicing tennis techniques on my own.
Outside of the athletics arena, but similarly, in our attempts at relationships in life, we are engaging with an other, we are attempting to grow. This is life. The is the game which you were born to play. This is the game for which you have been practicing your whole life. Have courage! Engage! These people, the others, make us reach higher, feel more deeply, bloom more beautifully than we ever could on our own.
Our relationships in life are our best opportunities to experience the magnificence force of love – the love that is the energy of life itself, the love that spurs growth. Without the other there to love, one could never reach the same peak experiences – like the tennis match or the ninjitsu sparring.
You can and must love yourself, of course, but that’s like practicing tennis alone, practicing martial arts techniques, preparing for real loving. I can practice tennis all day against a backboard or whatever, but that will never feel like the true test. The true test would be playing someone else who is fairly equal but comes to the game with different experiences and different practice and different technique. And how do I match up against the differences? And can I adjust?
And, so it is with love. I have to practice loving myself all the time, every day, but the true test will be, can I love another? Can I love someone who has different experiences, different opinions, different ways of loving?
Can I see past the differences to the true matching spirit that we all have? More importantly, can the love from the other help me see that my differences are really not so different at all. Can the love from the other help me accept my humanity?
And can I love that other as well as I love myself? More truly spoken, can I love myself as well as I love the other?
Can I stay calm, focused and determined? Just like I do in practice?
To step into that arena – and in that aspect of loving another – you will feel so alive! Certainly, I feel more alive than in the peaceful meditative moments I have of self love, the moments that are necessary for stability and anchoring – all the training is to be able to adjust to the oncoming energies from outside of yourself. It is to be grounded, like a rock in a river, allowing the oncoming energies to mold and shape you, while feeling the exhilaration of the current, feeling the life force flow through you.
Trust the universe to bring you those whom you are destined and able to love. Trust your body and your heart to know how to love them. Have the courage to play the game you were born to play. Step into the arena and engage.
You can and will do well. Choose your opponents wisely, for some, over time, can do more harm than good. It will become apparent. And if you find yourself “defeated”, weeping on the floor, learn from it! Know you have done your best. Most importantly, know that another opponent will be on her or his way soon. After the briefest moments of rest, it will be time to rise up, get back to the basics, the fundamentals, the necessities of self love and spiritual connection, for you don’t want to miss a match, you don’t want to miss a game, you don’t want to miss a life. Rise up and engage.