Many years ago as I was going through the checkout counter and the young cashier looked at my t-shirt and said with full sincerity, “I wish I could believe that.” I looked down and realized that the ‘Life is good’ message was what she was referring to. Instantly I knew I could not truthfully respond positively – I realized that I also felt as she did. We locked eyes for a few moments. Then she handed me my change and I left without saying a word. And I never wore that shirt in public again.
She was very young, barely twenty, yet felt that life was not inherently good. And although I was quite a bit older and had a lot more life experience under my belt I did not disagree with her. How could I honestly say that life is good when I continued to experience an underlying sense of dissatisfaction and confusion? It often felt as if something was missing so I could not, in all honesty, dismiss my discontent in lieu of some belief that may be more culturally acceptable.
If that meeting with the cashier were to happen today I don’t know what I’d say, if anything, but my heart is no longer in conflict with the message of those words.
Although the t-shirt message of ‘Life is good” printed under the image of a smiling stick figure lounging in a hammock strung between two palm trees is quite superficial, the cashier was referring to something else entirely. She wasn’t referring to moments of fleeting satisfaction; she was referring to the underlying sense of life. The sense of the ‘Life is good’ message is more along the line of ‘Life is home’. We are home here. Nothing is missing. There is a natural sense of well-being. Peace, love and freedom are here and now.
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The Search for Home
But when we feel as if something is missing it is normal to go in search for Home. This urge for the knowing of our Wholeness is natural. Everyone, in their own way, is simply trying to get back Home. Although the religiously inclined generally search for this permanent sense of well-being in different ways than those who are more secular, everyone is really searching for the same thing. We call it by different names and we search for it in different ways but in a very fundamental way we all long for the truth of who we are – our natural, intuitive state. Home.
How Can We Find What is Not Lost?
But when we try to ‘get back Home’ we believe our natural state is now missing. And the ‘dilemma’ in trying to find what is natural or innate to us is that what is innate can never actually be lost or missing. What is innate is innate – we don’t have to learn or acquire it.
So when we assume our true nature is missing, often, rather than questioning that assumption we continue to follow it. We then do whatever we believe is necessary to find what we believe is now lacking. We may set out to meditate longer, find a loving partner or make more money. We don’t consider just stopping for a moment and discovering – sensing, being open to what is now, unfiltered by the belief that something is lacking. When our intention, even during a time of meditation, is to discover what already is rather than to find something that we believe is now missing – that simple, clear shift of intention gives rise to openness.
Openness to Life Now is Key
The key to discovering what is innate or natural to us is openness. When we are open to life now, we are not filtering life through whatever we happen to now believe – in particular that something is missing. When we filter life through the lack belief we do not perceive life in the right way and then feel as if those perceptions are true.
But when we are open there are no filters or judgments operating and we sense Life – our true Self – directly.
Openness is open – it is not rigid, set, firm in its positions. When we are fixed in our beliefs there is no openness for anything new and fresh to reveal itself – and Life honors our rigidity fully. We then continue to recycle the same old, ineffective tired ways of thinking, feeling, and acting. Truth forces itself on no one.
But openness is very different. Openness reveals what is independent of belief. Just as when we fall in love and say ‘I’m in love’ rather than ‘I believe I’m in love’ – there is a knowing that is independent of belief. And so it is with realizing the truth of our Being. We know Home not through belief in concepts but from an intuitive sense. As we let go of judgments and remain open to sense Life directly, our true Home reveals itself.
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