One Last Call

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Earlier this week, an AirAsia flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur had to urgently return to Perth mid-flight after an engine ruptured, which caused the plane to shake violently. After being notified by the captain of a serious problem with the aircraft (so serious that he suggested the passengers say a prayer), a priority of many of these terrified passengers, in what could have been their final moments, was to try and make phone contact with their loved ones. A natural response in these types of circumstances that is yet not really understood, this piece will seek to elucidate why these passengers acted as they did when faced with the imminent prospect of death.

In a society where its members abhor the thought of dying, it is unsettling to have to contemplate a scenario like the one above. We have a tendency to act like we are going to live forever, and although we comprehend with the mind that we could die at any moment, we frequently deny that reality by taking for granted that we will live to see the day out. Every day, people die unexpectedly and what is left behind are unexpressed emotions and unfulfilled plans. The father dies without his son having heard how truly proud his dad was of the man that he had become. A best friend dies in an accident, leaving future occasions bereft of her company.

It is true that life is fragile, and as we embrace this truth, so can we infuse every breath with a love that yearns to perpetually express itself. Born in love, it is only natural that the deepest part of who we are would want to leave the physical world immersed in this same eternal love that is never born and never dies. Having its foundation in the metaphysical dimension, it is eternal love that is characteristic of our spiritual nature. Calling for love’s unhindered expression, this becomes effortless when we align with our true nature, and do not allow our ego to resist its flow.

To resist death is to restrain the flow of love that is characteristic of life. Being life’s counterpart, it is the shadow of death that has much to teach as it follows us. Teaching us that this moment is all that we truly have, it is this day that it would not have us waste with egoic concerns and trivial pursuits. Many of us live our lives with the nagging feeling that we are missing the essence of life. Consumed with getting ahead, we forget that the true essence of life is only to be found in the here and now. Remembering this as we put ourselves in the position of these airplane passengers, a new perspective emerges that gives us the permission to be free. No longer do we have to settle for an artificial and unfulfilling existence, for with every choice to love comes new life that the realm of form cannot take away.

With moments to live, it would be the things that matter least which would fade like the clouds on a summer’s day. Wanting only to bring contentment to our heart, we would not think to call the office to wind up our business, or call our financial advisor for a final assessment of our net worth. Who we would call are the ones who mean the most to us. These are our spouses/partners, parents, children, or our closest friends. What we would say are the words that each of us yearns to hear from the ones who we care the most about, ‘I love you’. With these words would come others that express the same sentiment. Love speaks most eloquently, and with this clarity it is beyond reproach. Being what we cannot deny because of its identity in spirit, this eternal love is what heals the heart and cleanses the mind of the misperceptions that in the ego’s company, we take to be reality.

In the moments before his death at the hands of a gunman, Gandhi showed us the way to an inspired life. Mouthing the words, “Krishna, Krishna”, it was love that he chose to be his final message. Knowing love to be the only way, it is what he could not withhold as he returned to oneness. In the company of spirit he walked, and by his example, we can learn to do the same. The choice to love need not be reserved for our final moments on the physical plane, for being abundant in its presence, it is what we can embody here and now, in the holy instant that always lives and never dies.

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The Boomerang that is Happiness

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‘When you seek happiness for yourself it will always elude you. When you seek it for others you will find it yourself’ ~ Wayne Dyer

Of all the lessons that I have learned in my life, this is one of the most profound. Why this is the case is because in worldly terms it is so counterintuitive, yet in spiritual terms it makes perfect sense. The world preaches the virtue of action as a means of attaining happiness. It says, move about externally and bring to yourself that which will make you happy. This is problematic on so many levels. Firstly, this flawed thought is underpinned by the assumption that we know what will make us happy. Secondly, the belief that happiness must be acquired is one that originates from the ego mind that will deny, for the purpose of its preservation, our innate ability to know happiness by giving the spirit a voice in our life. Thirdly, that which the ego guarantees will deliver happiness never truly does.

A sure way not to know happiness is by indulging the selfish desire to experience it at the expense of others, or going after what we believe to promise happiness with blinders on. Often confusing an experience of happiness with one of pleasure, we chase physical sensations, rather than allowing joy to arise from within. Thinking that experiences of pleasure will make us satisfied or whole, we go out and get ourselves addicted to the things of this world, not knowing that in the process we are numbing ourselves to the love of the spirit, which is the true source of happiness in life.

This, we will not be able to comprehend in the company of the ego because it is too myopic in its focus. Seeing only the potential for its enrichment, the ego is blind to the needs that others have for our being. Perceiving only a small part of a much larger picture, it fails to understand that happiness is born of reciprocity. What this universal law teaches us is that it is not what we receive that leads to happiness, but that which we give to others and the world. Here, I am reminded of a quote from Marianne Williamson which says that, ‘fullness has no potential for fullness, only emptiness has the potential for fullness’. A lesson in the value of having a beginners mind in learning, it also speaks to the need to prioritise serving others with our natural gifts.

The ego resists service to others, preferring instead to be served by them. Wanting to preserve what it believes to be fullness, it blocks us from a genuine experience of fulfilment. Hoarding the things of the world that the ego values most highly, the joy of the spirit is prevented from entering. Having our hands full of things that we do not need, we have not the capacity to receive anything that we intentionally want. Maintaining this internal imbalance, it explains why we often want things to get better in our lives, but they rarely do.

To bring enrichment and abundance into our lives, we must subscribe to a more evolved paradigm which is focused on meeting the needs of the world. Taking care of others, we will be taken care of. Doing what we can to bring happiness to others, it will surely, as the night follows the day, come to illuminate our heart. This is not a complicated but a simple process, for reciprocal flow is the spirit’s way. Coming from the ego, we have to strive for happiness through effort, but when we allow ourselves to give from the heart, it takes no effort at all. Only when we resist giving do we expend energy needlessly, but this we can move past when we focus our eyes on the bigger picture, and respond to what love prompts us to do.

The boomerang is such an apt metaphor for this concept. What we toss out into the world builds momentum and returns back to us in greater amounts. Fill your heart by giving of it authentically, and trust that the universe will play its part in manifesting your highest intentions. There is so much more to happiness than what we have been taught. There is not much more to happiness than giving of the highest parts of ourselves that nourish the world in ways that the lowest parts of ourselves cannot fathom.

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