“The question is: have you said your total ‘yes’ to life? Not ‘Have you gotten used to it?” and not “Have you bitterly accepted it?’ but ‘Have you given your heart to this life?’”
This entire teaching of the fusing of our infinite consciousness and our simplest earthly existence can never be realized as long as we experience within us a certain degree of conscious or unconscious resistance to the human experience, to life within a physical body, and to the world at large.
Such a resistance implies that half of our being gets to be rejected, a rejection which only distances us more and more from what many of us would be relieved to discover: a meaning of life which exists beyond all relative or imagined individual meanings – a meaning which lies in the heart of life itself.
This type of resistance does not only lurk in the hearts of spiritual people who seek escape from the bondage of body and world in the form of a salvation of spirit. This resistance – the refusal to incarnate and to fully take in the human experience in its entirety, with all its beauty and sorrow, and above all, with its countless limitations and obstacles – is the root-cause of both the psychological problem and the spiritual problem.
We can find this resistance within nearly every human being when we carefully and attentively follow them all the way to the very roots of their conflict – whether in a spiritual or a psychological process. It is the fundamental conflict of every human that, since the moment of one’s birth, one is unwilling to accept the laws of the planet and the human design. One wishes, consciously or unconsciously, for another world, refusing the constant friction that is the inherent nature of human experience. One secretly yearns for “rest” and “retirement.”
This yearning for some “final rest” could take different forms: it could be an image of continuous, uninterrupted happiness, a religious or spiritual salvation, or a state of inaction completely undisturbed by any challenging or over-stimulating circumstances. Often we can observe that individuals frantically rush forward – out of the unfounded hope to “someday” complete a task and eventually reach a state in which no friction could possibly exist; all the rushing would finally be replaced with perfect “peace” and quietude.
Of course, as long as such a resistance nests within our hearts, followed by the yearning for some other world, it will inevitably be fertile ground for numerous other conflicts, which essentially would boil down to one: a persistent quarrel with life as it is.
It is only in the friction between the two halves of our being that the meaning of life can be found. Therefore, friction is not some mistake we make or a misunderstanding we have that only needs to be corrected. We need to learn to love this friction, and in this way, allow it to reveal to us its magnificent beauty.
The shock of human life
Deep down, we can all find the foundational and instinctive refusal to enter the body, to fully agree to the experience of life and be present in the world while accepting the laws of this world.
This compels us to wholeheartedly enter a fundamental process in the traumatic domain. None are free from the need for such a process. While some people feel they carry within them an actual and specific “trauma” from their past, we need to understand that our very relation to life is trauma-based.
Trauma is imprinted in us when a certain event leaves an impression in our body and psyche that is so intense that it causes us to instinctively react to any similar events. Put simply, we react to a potential danger, even when there is none. Yet there exists deep within us a primordial and essential trauma, which all the later disappointments and disillusionments that shook our being stem from – it is the shock of the human experience itself; its overwhelming and invasive intensity; its distresses and encompassing dangers; the world’s indifference; the existence of evil and pure aggression, and the total absence of knowledge inherited from our parents and teachers to help us cope with all that.
This trauma of life is an experience we all share. It lies deep within our body, clouding our psyche and blocking our full spirituality. It is our heart alone that can answer this trauma.
A true love of life
Only a profound love, love of the phenomenon of life accompanied by the heart’s wisdom, can grant us an immediate contact with the feeling and the knowing that all this is saturated in meaning; that all this bears a great destiny. Only this love could lead us eventually to agree to full incarnation.
Thus, the human heart gets the chance to perform the greatest overcoming it would ever be asked to perform; to do the most unbelievable and unreasonable act a limited and frightened human being could do; to spiritually and humanly, without any reservation, embrace the inherent friction of life.
In the Buddhist Mahayana tradition there is an important vow called the “Bodhisattva Vow.” In it, the practitioner commits oneself to devote their process of spiritual liberation to the sake of all sentient beings and to remain forever loyal to the general process of earth’s salvation. We need to expand this noble vow even more: true liberation lies in one’s capacity to agree to incarnate for eternity.
This consent to eternal incarnation is a new type of Bodhisattva vow. This vow makes no sense to either our spirit or our simple human psyche. Only the heart, which resides in between the two, is capable of taking it with a sense of completeness and unwavering dedication.