I wrote this years ago during what I thought at the time was the lowest point of my adult life. I was wrong. That point came a few months later. I don’t know really where it came from, but it gave me strength to write it. I share it here in case it gives you strength, too.
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You are a traveler on a difficult journey through a hostile land. You will be stripped of everything that you knew or thought you knew, and everything you needed or thought you needed will be taken from you. You will be reduced to your core. This is your mission.
An end to suffering does not mean an end of feeling; it means an end to your fascination with pain. Death continues; change and transformation is the only constant in our experience. You are not exempt from this law, no matter how special you are, how connected you are to the world around you, how filled with compassion you are, how clean your house is, how many books you have read, how many friends you have, or how well-adjusted your kids are. Your life will end, your identity will cease, and your history will be erased.
When you feel loneliness, you are experiencing your innate human longing for connection and love. It is possible to experience this longing in the midst of relationship and in the midst of a full life. The experience of loneliness is not a reflection of the success of your relationships, but the depth of your longing. It is an ache to experience yourself as loving, both receiving and giving back love that is in turn received. As we are all connected, all parts of the same living organism, it is by loving one another that we improve the health of the whole. Just as we thirst when our bodies need water, so do we long for love, for the nourishment of the greater being of which we are the living components.
Your emotions are as mutable as the seasons. At times they will seem to wash over you, like a powerful storm. They are like young children, demanding your attention, and you feel more alive when you identify with them, integrate them into your story, define yourself by their tendencies. This is like defining yourself by the weather. You will be lost to your birthright: that your lifetime is a blessed opportunity to be a brief, temporary, finite manifestation of the infinite universe that imagined, conceived, and birthed you.
There is no limit or boundary to love. You understand only a whisper of the power of love. Love transforms, love destroys, love is the source of all miracles. When love enters your life, it is like the swollen river after a spring flood, sweeping away the dead undergrowth. Love redeems. Do not turn away from love, or you turn away from the very force that gave you life. Love does not care for your attachments or your insecurities. Love requires you to be more brave, more vulnerable, more patient, more forgiving than you believe you can be.