Living Heart:full

What 28 Chapters of Life Taught Me

Oscar Wilde once said, “With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.” I sure hope that’s not the case here. Because over the years, I’d like to think that something deep inside me was unfolding below the chaos of everyday life on this spaceship we call home. Like pearls slowly growing in the depths of the ocean, there are personal truths I’ve come to bear in silence and solitude, forever unspoken amidst the lightness of everyday conversations. They come not from someone who is, but is still becoming. They represent a journey of discovery, a mystery being unraveled, an unfolding path, an evolving worldview, a search, not for all that is there, but for what is worthy of being found in the hypermodern times we live in. This is my humble single piece of the puzzle of our collective human experience.

Below are 28 pearls of wisdom I have collected, each addressing a certain concept, feel free to click on the concepts here or scroll down to read them all:

The SourceDuality of NatureStruggleThe Arena
Human BeingBecomingSacrificeResponsibility
Outer UniverseConsciousnessDarknessesAuthenticity
Inner UniverseTimeChallengesThe Heart
PotentialRepresentationThe PresentLove
ParadoxThe UnknownOutcomesGod

1. You are not the source.

You are not the source of your being. You found yourself here, just like the rest of us. You did not cause your existence, body or soul. You did not create your selfhood, being or worth. You are not in control of your strength, power or will. You do not choose your states, emotions, thoughts or struggles. Your existence here is a privilege, not a given right. You were entrusted with something so precious that it exists nowhere else in the known universe. Everything you have, you have received, not by chance nor by entitlement. And in receiving grace, one can only be grateful, and live one’s existence as such. Once you realize that you are not the source, you will discover that reality emanates through you, not from you. Looking at life from this perspective inspires a different mode of being in the world altogether. It cultivates a parallel state of mind that is grounded in humility and experiences life through the lens of gratitude.

2. You’re a human being, above all else.

You are not defined by what you do for a living or what you achieve or do not achieve in life. You are not defined by being a citizen, user, customer or employee. You are not limited to the sum of roles you play in everyday life. None of these labels are a fundamental characteristic of your existence, but merely a means of distinction or different ways of being in the world. You’re a human being, first and foremost, above all labels, limitations and definitions. Your being cannot be encompassed by any form and your worth can never be truly defined by any measure.

This basic fact of our existence needs to be highlighted in hypermodern times because society seems to be convincing us otherwise. In today’s supercapitalist system, we’re compelled to treat each other like machines who should have no feelings at work, whose worth is determined by the level of productivity or output and whose sole purpose is to contribute to the bottom line, because the market has no mercy and waits for no one. And now we have to convince ourselves once again that in fact, we are not machines, but human beings, after suffering the detrimental consequences of our collective psyche.

3. There is a universe out there, waiting to be discovered.

Beyond your social media feed and friend list, beyond the monotony of everyday life and work, beyond the surface events happening in the world, beyond the modern world man has created for himself, the entirety of existence is quietly but surely unfolding; life is coming into being, every moment anew. So much lies beyond our own existence that calls for exploration and admiration. So much beauty and majesty exists out there that calls to be witnessed and experienced.

Learning about creation is like reading poetry; beyond every line there is a sea of meaning; each word may not be of any immediate significance, but reading the whole of it and seeing the big picture, leaves you with a sense of tingling awe and new-found fascination. Something beyond just words reaches you, something beyond the plain facts, something profound, unspoken but experienced, something incommunicable but leaves you with a deep appreciation of what it means to be a living breathing conscious being bearing witness to this universe we have found ourselves in. And all these wonders can be accessed simply by being still, by entering into a state of silence, solitude and contemplation, by letting creation speak to you instead.

4. There is a life to be lived within.

There is another universe, unseen but equally as mysterious and magnificent, that only you can access and discover: the one inside you. There is a hidden treasure that only you can uncover: it lies within you. There is an entire spectrum of human emotion and cognition that can never be definitively known or described, but still demands to be lived and experienced by each and every one of us. In fact, our emotions are primarily how we experience reality around us. To discard or suppress that dimension of our existence is to deny a fundamental aspect of our being.

The singularity of every human experience and the ability to make sense out of the outer and inner universe is nothing other than a privilege we’ve been given. It is in fact something to be immensely grateful for and curious towards, not something to fear, escape or feel encumbered by. Your heart, intellect and spirit are all Divine gifts given to you to discover and use; don’t run away from them.

5. You have an essence, not just a form.

You are not your body; you have a body. Your body is your form. And your being is your essence. Let me explain. We are all experts in the form. We are living in the age of the form. We are becoming hyper-concerned with our bodies, status, lifestyle and possessions. We are encouraged to engage in all kinds of self-care in order to maintain our form. We are driven to explore all means of sensory experiences in order to stay occupied with our form. We are compelled from every direction to consume a plethora of things that will ultimately add nothing to what matters most: our being.

It’s easy to lose ourselves in the form, because of how immediate it is. The nature of physical reality demands that things take shape as matter. But that is not all that exists. We know that energy also exists as much as matter. There are things unseen besides the form that are just as vital. Your essence is as real as your form; it is the core of your being; that which makes you undeniably unique; that which distinguishes you as the quintessence of the known universe. It is where the heart, soul and spirit coalesce together to forge something singular called ‘You’.

But the modern world doesn’t really care about your essence, not as much as you should, because it’s not in its best interest. Because it cannot be seen, quantified or materialized, therefore it cannot be controlled, sold or commodified. And the consequence of neglecting the essence and giving precedence to the form is that we are suffering on the inside, and it manifests in the afflictions of our hypermodern age: anxiety, depression, mental disorders, spiritual depletion, burnout, sensory addiction…etc. Hyper-fixating and over-indulging in the form is proving to be detrimental to the essence. It is almost an inner cry for help to look within every once in a while, to seek the things that nourish one’s inner being and reclaim one’s essence that is slowly drowning in the sea of forms.

6. You were meant for more.

Deep down, you know you were meant for more. You just need to remember… That you are the intersection of the infinite and finite. You are the beating heart of this cosmos. You are the universe embodied, yet you are your own universe. You are in this world, yet you are not of this world. You house something within you that transcends all space and time; something eternal. You have something inside you that even entropy cannot defeat; something imperishable. You are among the most precious creatures to have ever walked this earth; something irreplaceable. And like everything else manifest in Divine creation, it is not in vain; it is not without purpose. In this world of endless forms, you only have access to one essence; yours. Don’t lose sight of it.

7. You are a paradox on two feet.

You hold all opposites within you yet exist like it’s effortless. You are a marvel of Divine machinery walking on two feet like it’s another typical day at the office; nothing special. How awe-inspiring is this? How can you have everything within you and yet nothing really belongs to you? How can you hold so much potential and yet be nowhere near it? How can you carry all these fears and yet leave them behind in a moment that demands courage? How can your feeble body carry something that exists nowhere else in the known universe? How can you hold space for both light and darkness? How is it that we are called to accept the current state of reality for what it is and change it to what it could be at the same time? How is it that you are sometimes blind to the treasure that lies within you? Every single one of us, a walking universe in their own right. Like the weather, we alternate between these paradoxical states of being countless times a day. It’s not a mistake to fix nor something to be fully understood, but a complex reality to be lived.

8. This dual nature manifests in the world.

No surprise there. We all have a capacity for good and evil at our disposal. There is an ongoing war between our essence and ego. Everyday we are faced with situations that brush against our egos. These instances reveal what is concealed within us. Sometimes, we find ourselves acting out of our wounds instead of seeking to heal them; we act out of fear instead of love; we operate from our ego, instead of our essence. We’re living a daily struggle between the light and darknesses within us.

So if we acknowledge the duality of good and evil in our selves and deal with it accordingly, then why is it so hard to acknowledge it in the world? This duality is present in the world as a reflection of our selves. It’s not a mistake or coincidence; it’s not something that can be eliminated; it’s woven into the fabric of reality in order for it to work. I’m not advocating for us to remain passive or complacent in the face of apparent evil of course, but simply not to fall into a pit of despair, misery or agony once we encounter it, and instead turn our focus towards our own response to it as what matters even more.

9. You’re here to become.

Out of all the possible well-known reasons to the purpose of our existence, articulated by religions, philosophies and thinkers over the ages, one possible reason not highlighted enough is the creation of human character.

You see, our bodies are born, but our being is made. Our being is raw, yet to unfold in its fullest glory; in this life lies our making. In this sense, you’ll find that whatever is tied to the form becomes irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what your body shape or skin color is, where your family comes from, what kind of education you received, how much fortune you’ve amassed, what you’ve come to own or what you’ve accomplished throughout your career. What I’m referring to here is the becoming of your inner being.

What does this becoming look like then? That is not a question any of us has the answer to. We can only let reality reveal the answer to us as long as we live. But you’re here to live through it all. Being human means getting to live through the full spectrum of human experience. That means opening your heart wide enough to feel, to manifest your inner being, to be truly seen and heard, to show up, to speak your personal truth, to have courage, to love fully, to take the risk of being truly alive and to come to know and engage wholeheartedly with the world and the Divine.

10. Self-awareness is the key to become.

Observing your inner and outer being is the beginning of all self-knowledge. Gently becoming mindful of your thoughts and feelings, actions and reactions, triggers and insecurities, deepest fears and desires, unique human needs and aspirations, core beliefs and drivers, virtues and vices, limits and boundaries, major life events and traumas, coping mechanisms, behavioural patterns, toxic behaviours, attachment style, personality type and worldview are all things you can explore to bring to the surface of your consciousness what lies hidden beneath it.

Embarking on a journey of inner work and walking towards healing is well worth the wait and effort. Decoding the phenomena of your inner universe will help unravel the mysteries of your essence and map the landscapes of your inner being. Coming to know all the levels of your being, not just your mind, body or psyche, but also your heart and spirit is another adventure altogether. But this self-reflection can only happen in silence and solitude, when the world around you has gone quiet and you are left to your own devices to look within. Be careful though, you might run into some demons; you might not like what you find. But that doesn’t make it less real or critical that you face those inner demons. We are called to have more hope than fear; to act out of love instead of fear; to cultivate courage in spite of fear.

11. Everything worthwhile takes time.

There is no shortcut to becoming, no matter how fast the modern world is turning. Just like the natural world, there will be seasons of harvest and others of drought. Patience is something we need to cultivate in today’s hypermodern world more than ever. The virtue of ‘beautiful patience’ we are called to cultivate has always intrigued me. What does it mean to have patience in a manner that is beautiful? Is it because reality looks seemingly messy and chaotic on the outside? Or is it because the act of being still is something so fundamental to our human beingness, that it must be cultivated fully?

Indeed, you will need patience for everything: to live, learn, love and become. You will need to be patient with yourself and others. You will need to be patient with the present, future and past. You will have to witness reality unfolding exactly as it is, transcending all the anxiety, frustration, anger, hastiness or rebellion you instinctively react with. You will have to respond to the present moment so lovingly, accept it with such gratitude and approach it with such curiosity as if it were a gift from the Divine, trusting that it plays a role in your becoming.

12. Reality is the prime opportunity to become.

They say no one enters life prepared. They say nothing can fully prepare us for reality. We are only called to live it as it unfolds. We are called to become fully human by stature, not just be decree. To be honest, this is the last thing I wanted to hear or come to terms with: that reality makes no mistakes; that it is all for one’s becoming; that it is always beyond one’s current understanding of it; that one should stop escaping it and face it instead; that one should leave room for more wonder, chance, serendipity, miracles and Divine power to manifest in everyday life.

Indeed, we are all works in progress on the path to become. It’s not what happens, but what you become that truly matters. It’s not about arriving at a certain destination or particular achievement in the world, not what the journey looks like on the outside, whatever it may be; it’s in the process, it’s about what you become on the inside that ultimately counts. This renders surface-level successes and failures as irrelevant, because the real purpose was reached: you became; the transformation was made; whatever happened added something to your being.

But how reality works seems very counter-intuitive. It is far beyond any human comprehension. If reality was an infinite puzzle, it would be foolish to assume that you could solve it with a single piece: your own lived experience. Our theories of how the world works always fall short of encompassing all of its dimensions. Reality can never be reduced to our representation of it. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing that can be learned. Life will teach you, whether you like it or not, exactly what you need, in the moment which you need it. There is no escape from the challenge, the only way is through it.

13. There is a difference between reality and our representation of it.

In our everyday life, we tend to forget the distinction between reality itself and the models we have built to describe it; perhaps we think our models work so well that they could almost account for reality. We slowly lose sight of the fact that reality can never be fully encompassed by our minds, no matter how hard we try. Reality can never be reduced to its description. The models we build to describe reality are just that; they model reality, they do not dictate it. Even the most accurate widely accepted theories in every field of science are challenged by anomalies; their implementation eventually breaks down at some point or at some level, reaching an invisible frontier we cannot yet see beyond. And with every new horizon we reach and boundary of knowledge we cross, a new one appears in the far distance, triggering our anxious ambivalence, provoking our instinctive sense of curiosity, proving once again that there is still much more to be known, as if to always remind us of our own bounded human finitude against the vast backdrop of the infinite unknown. Reality always finds a way to tell us, that it came first, and we came second.

No matter how far we’ve come to understand our existence, it does not equate to our experience of it. Just like solving an enigma does not diminish one’s sense of awe of its making. Unlocking the secrets of the human condition does not alleviate the condition of being human. Learning about the evolution of the human body does not nullify its unparalleled magnificence. Unpacking the mysteries of nature using modern science does not eliminate its overarching power. Unraveling the wonders of the universe does not alter its inevitable fate. Dissecting the inner workings of a rose does not reduce an ounce of its beauty. Our cognitive understanding of anything does not negate our experience of it. Our knowledge of something does not compare to its actual being. Our model of how the world works or representation of reality can never be equated with reality itself. Reality is always there, waiting to happen, demanding to be experienced, leaving no means of escape but to be lived, in its entirety. It’s as if we are here in this precious moment of time together, simply to witness existence unfold.

14. You’re here to navigate the unknown.

It took me a long time to learn this lesson. As someone who seeks a sense of order and lives in search for truth and certainty, it was a hard pill to swallow: that chaos and the unknown were necessary ingredients for life to exist, not enemies to be defeated or conquered; that they were not something to eliminate, but to deal with as such; that some things in life are not meant to be actively discovered by us, but rather shall be revealed to us in the right time when we need it.

Rainer Rilke captured the sentiment perfectly in one of his letters to an aspiring poet and writer:

“You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

– Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Rilke*

Indeed, we would not be able to live the answers, even if we google and find them ;) (I’m kidding of course, Google doesn’t offer the kind of existential answers you are looking for). The nature of our existence is subject to entropy and the arrow of time, that dictates that there is a time to grow, a time to blossom and a time to fade. We are again called to cultivate beautiful patience in the waiting, trust that everything will unfold in our favor in due time, not to rush our own becoming, and simply live through everything as it arrives.

15. Struggle is the birthplace of becoming.

But seriously, where can we find at least some answers, you ask? I’m not sure you’ll like the answer, but I’ll tell you anyways. Sometimes the answers you need lay like hidden treasures in the depths of your struggles. Sometimes your darkest moments, wounds and tragedies are in fact the times and places that help make you into who you are to uniquely become; they are where your distinct character is forged into being. Tribulation is not designed to break you, but to shape you and push your limits in what you can do and become. Pain gives birth to something new inside you and elevates you to a higher state of being, cleanses off the dirt you have allowed into your heart from the world and draws you closer to the underlying truth you have been seeking outside yourself but existed within you all along.

This applies to our collective human experience as well. Whatever appalling reality we find ourselves against, is often the same condition and trigger we need in order to jolt us from reactive complacency and into a state of proactive resistance. I stumbled upon a quote that reflects this notion of resistance and it stuck with me every since:

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage and kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this history will determine our lives. If we only see the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places -and there are so many- where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

– Howard Zinn

16. There is a price to your becoming.

Don’t judge or measure your life every single day, because your journey isn’t linear; it won’t appear conventional and that’s fine. There will be a learning curve. There will be mistakes, errors and shortcomings. There will be tragic losses. There will be sweat and tears. There will be more failures than successes. There will be moments of weakness. There will be irreversible happenings.

There is no becoming without pain or sacrifice, without paying a price, and typically that price is one of your needs or something you hold dear. Sometimes maintaining an equilibrium in everyday life isn’t the answer. Sometimes you need to break your current equilibrium in order to reach a higher one. Inequilibrium is the precondition to becoming. Would anything great be worthy without making a sacrifice? What does your sacrifice look like? Recognize the sacrifice needed and make it, if you are determined to become.

17. There will be moments of darkness.

There will be moments when you stare into the abyss and feel like plunging into it. There will be moments when you doubt how far you’ve come. There will be moments when you forget what you’re made of. There will be moments when you dismiss all the progress you’ve reached. There will be moments when you lose faith in the process. There will be moments in which you feel burned out from making effort without outcome in return. There will be moments when you feel completely stuck with no open doors in sight. There will be moments when you question the sincerity of your pursuit. There will be moments when you second-guess whether your ambition is worth your sacrifice. There will be moments when you feel so incredibly alone in the world. There will be moments when there is no clear solution or answer at hand. There will be moments of spectacular failures and disappointments. There will be moments when your strength and willpower escape you. There will be moments of hitting rock bottom and feeling nothing but despair deep in your bones.

Those are the moments that bring forth your beautiful patience. Those are the moments that manifest your deepest courage. Those are the moments that require your strongest resolution. Those are the moments when I guarantee you, something new will be added to your being: a new lesson learned, a new truth discovered, a new level of growth reached, a new limit pushed, a new trait formed or a new inner reality uncovered. Those are the moments to call to your mind an essential truth: that in reality nothing is fatal to your spirit, and nothing is final in your becoming. It’s not the end of the world; it’s not your end state, but simply your current state of being; it will pass just like the rest, no matter how dark it becomes; it’s just another tunnel to move through in life.

18. The challenges you’ll face are twofold.

Beware of the outer challenges you might face on the journey. Beware of the shiny objects that capture your eyes but add nothing to your essence. Beware of occupying your precious time with things unworthy of your attention. Beware of temporal things whose value fades with time. Beware of seeking transient rewards that carry no real weight in the scale of eternity. Beware of chasing forms of material success that have nothing to do with the becoming of your inner being. Beware of worshipping false idols that take more space in one’s heart than the Divine. Beware of holding on to false attachments to people and things in the world that are not grounded in Divine light. Beware of getting caught up in matters of the self or the world that you forget what ultimately matters; that “the soul is forever distraught with itself, if it’s not in union with the Beloved.” – Rumi

Beware of the inner challenges you might face on the journey. Beware of the weapons your own ego uses to hijack your current state of being or downplay your potential future. It will instill a state of fear: fear of failure, success, the unknown, judgement, mediocrity, disconnection… etc. It will leave you in a state of doubt: in yourself, your abilities, motivation, self-worth and even other people around you. It will evoke a state of despair: at yourself, at the status quo, at the state of the world, at the hope of anything ever changing or improving. It will try and convince you that there’s no point in trying; that it’s not worth the effort; that you should just give up already; that you should stay where you are. It will employ every tool under its belt in order to protect itself from getting bruised and throw every insecurity at your face in order to stop you from the risk of taking action.

At the end of the day, these challenges are nasty, but necessary. Having enemies in any story is what makes the hero’s journey worthwhile; something to be conquered as a worthy opponent; something uniquely forged and therefore irreplaceable. If there was no enemy, there would be no challenge. If there was no challenge, there would be no opportunity to become.

19. Life is too short not to live by what you believe.

I’ve spent a great deal of my life being apologetic about what I truly stand for, and it dictated what I said and did, and what I didn’t say or do. It slowly killed me on the inside as I sank into despair at being unable to reveal who I truly am to the world around me. But there comes a time in life, when the walls you have built to protect yourself on the outside become a prison you need to break free from, and the space you once occupied becomes too small for your bursting potential.

Bear in mind, I’m not referring to your limiting beliefs: the beliefs that you developed in order to cope with trauma or difficult circumstances. Those are precisely the walls that need to be torn down, in order for your true inner being to finally shine through. They served you well in the past but are now holding you back from witnessing the reality of your essence and manifesting your essence onto reality.

I’m referring to what you believe about your essence: the deepest, truest and purest part of your being. Whatever it may be, I hope you find the strength to stay true to it and the courage to follow your inner compass, with unwavering conviction, no matter what the winds of tribulation may bring. Nothing in this world is worth selling or giving up on what you truly believe in. It won’t be easy, it will come at a price, like everything worthy in life. But it must be sincere; it must be the closest thing to the truth you have found and experienced.

20. You’re exactly where you need to be.

Instead of living wholly in the present, we are plagued by anxiety of the future, and grief from the past; both beyond our access and control. But you became what you are today because of what you’ve been through. And you’ll become what you’re meant to be after whatever you’ll experience. There is no point in reliving or rushing.

How wonderfully peaceful would it be to simply live each day as it comes? To remove the burden of the past and weight of the future. No rushing forward or ruminating backwards. No reliving the past or daydreaming the future. Just living the good days and bad days as they arrive, without letting them seep through each other. Just living it as it unfolds. Just embracing the present for the wild adventure it is. Just dealing with the matter at hand. Just being grateful for the past and what it brought about. Just being in awe of the unknown and being hopeful of the potential possibilities of the future.

The present moment is all you need & have. Let it be. Let it unfold. Make space and time for your becoming. Spare yourself the frustration and anxiety around your current state of being. It won’t be linear. It won’t look familiar. It will be far from what you think is perfect or ideal. It won’t go according to your brilliant plan. It won’t be anything you expect it to be or what you think it should be. Real life is far from movie-like; it is an unedited, unfiltered, undirected and unscripted daily struggle to become. But in the end, the entirety of the experience makes it all worthwhile. We all have different destinies. There is no point in comparison. Just trust that it is tailor-made for your becoming; all you have to do is embrace it and rise up to it.

21. You can’t force any outcome into being.

If you think of it, most of our disappointments stem from unmet expectations of things we in fact have no control over. But reality has no obligation to match our imagination. Ideas cannot be willed into existence; they can only flow out and be captured by your consciousness. Love cannot be forced, it can only be given freely for it be called love. Growth cannot be rushed, it can only happen organically on its own pace. Becoming cannot be manipulated or controlled, it can only be inspired by external forces. You can only cultivate the seeds and make space for others to come into their own being. You can’t control any outcome. You’re only human after all. But you can show up, seek the means, make the effort, set an example and do what you believe is right, then trust and see what happens.

22. Life happens in the arena, not on the sidelines.

Take this from someone who has spent most of their life on the sidelines, out of fear of failure, success, the unknown and anything else there is to fear. Although I learned so much in my years of silence and solitude, the time had come to step out into the world in order to realize my unfulfilled potential. Deep down, I knew I was not meant to live and die on the sidelines. I knew I needed to step into the arena, to shift my mindset in order to survive and thrive, and to finally embrace the chance to become which I had been waiting so long for.

In doing so, I gained a new-found respect and admiration for anyone making things happen amidst the chaos of the world. It’s easy to just sit there and complain. It’s hard to take responsibility and make any change however small. It’s easy to criticize and say you know better. It’s hard to bring people together and actually do it better. It’s easy to plan and imagine. It’s hard to turn those plans into reality.

Another thing to keep in mind while being in the arena is dealing mindfully with others who are now on the other side, where you once were, and acknowledging that not everyone will cheer you on from the sidelines. Some will mock and ridicule you for even trying and paradoxically others will criticize and shame you for not trying hard enough. Do not take it upon yourself to respond. That comes with being in the arena. Just remember that it is you, the man in the arena, who is doing their best to make things happen and nobody else:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

23. You’re not responsible for the world, only your self.

You are not responsible for changing the ways of the world, you are only responsible for changing your own way in the world. There is no other responsibility you are meant to carry. And it’s the hardest thing to change yourself, let alone other equally complex human beings. In that sense, the best approach we should have towards others is radical empathy and compassion to their shortcomings, having witnessed your own. We are all on our own journeys; there is no single path to becoming.

On the same lines, you are not responsible for the outcome, only your effort. Just showing up and doing the best you can with what you have in the time being, is all that is required. Don’t shame yourself for not being or doing or reaching what you think was meant to happen.

24. To live by your essence is the bravest thing you can do.

And the hardest, I admit. To live by your values in this day and age is an act of integrity. To go against the flow nowadays and stand up for what you believe in is an act of courage. To break the shackles of consumption is an act of rebellion. To rise above the endless flux of trends is an act of resistance. To say no to distraction is an act of bravery. To resist indulging in the forms is an act of discipline. To challenge the dominant status quo is an act of defiance. To know when enough is enough is an act of wisdom. To show your true self is an act of vulnerability. To do something good without anything in return is an act of faith. To stay engaged with one’s state of faith is an act of inner striving. To stay true to your essence is an act of sincerity. To awaken from sleepwalking in life is a moment of victory.

25. Your heart is all that matters.

At the end of the day, or rather at the end of your earthly existence, the only fate that matters to you above all else is your own, not the fate of your family, country, the planet, the universe, or this entire existence; none of the rest is in your hands or up to you. I’ve come to believe that one’s fate is closely tied to the state of one’s heart, and that a pure heart is one of the most if not the most precious and beautiful things that exist in the known universe. It is what makes all the difference.

“In everything we do, it is our hearts that make the difference, not our outward appearances.”

The Forty Rules of Love

Rainer Rilke once wrote, “The only journey is the one within.” How radically simple is that? That life is a journey of the heart and nothing else? Because we entered this life with nothing and will be leaving with nothing, nothing except our being, doing and what we became. One day all forms will fade and all that will remain is our essence.

26. This life is not the end of your being, nor was it the beginning.

Near the end of anything we encounter, things start becoming clear, allowing us to draw closer to truth. That is why death is the ultimate reminder. Death is the ultimate deadline. Death is the ultimate motivator to become. A brush with our own finitude or that of a loved one has the power to jolt us out of the sleepwalking state we find ourselves in and into an awakened state of consciousness that reveals and connects us with a deeper underlying reality; that this is not all that there is; that life is merely a blink of an eye in the measure of eternity; that death is not a bitter end, but a necessary transition towards a higher form of existence; that it is not something to fear as unfamiliar, but something to welcome as the gateway to one’s ultimate home; that it is not a tragic separation from one’s beloved, but is the long-awaited encounter with the ultimate Beloved.

27. Love, is the most powerful force in the human universe.

This might apparently be the cheesiest sentence I’ve written down here, but many philosophers and thinkers have proclaimed it before. So let me tell you why I think that is… What is the most powerful force in the world of human beings? What is considered the source of all apparent evil in the world? Namely, it is the ego that resides within each one of us. And for it to be tamed, something else must exist that has the power to bring it to its knees. It is love and only love, in all its forms and degrees.

Just like gravity, love is the medium that humbles everything else in its presence. Just like water, love is what brings hearts back to life and nourishes them so they can grow. Just like the sun, love is the light that illuminates the darkest corners of your inner being and melts away all barriers, differences and distinctions. Just like energy, love gives you the fuel to become all that you truly are and can ever be. Just like mother nature, love disarms all of the ego’s weapons it uses against itself: fear, doubt, pity and despair. And just like time, love heals the wounds of the past so that something more beautiful could be born in its place.

Love is the only force capable of conquering and enslaving the ego for the sake of the object of love which exists outside of itself: be it love for a cause, other beings, or most vitally, the Divine. Because we obey whom we love. We lose sleep and sight of our bodies over what we love. We are transformed by that which we love. We become, with the power of love. And when we give love freely with no conditions or expectations, we might get lucky enough to witness something beautiful unfold: another being’s priceless becoming and indeed our own.

28. “To find Him is the greatest human achievement.”*

If there is one last thing I’m eternally grateful to have learned (or rather received), it is the drive to seek the essence of things, to put things where they truly belong and to try as best as I can to live accordingly. So after all things considered, when it comes to the worthiest things in life to be found, God is the end to which all roads lead and the compass to which everything points, not our own selves, our bodily existence, our possessions, our nations and tribes or the system born of our own creation. When it comes to love, the love of God transcends all other bonds of love worthy of possessing. When it comes to beauty, the beauty of God transcends all forms of beauty worthy of beholding. When it comes to what is worthy of pursuit, the pursuit to answer His Divine call, to become His mirror and seek His contentment transcends all other pursuits in life worthy of pursuing. When it comes to what is worth the struggle, the struggle to become worthy of His Divine encounter transcends all other earthly struggles worthy of striving towards. When it comes to the path to Him, remember that “the path lays open to all those who seek it with sincere hearts.” When it comes to living everyday life, every encounter has a spiritual undertone to be experienced and every encounter is in reality an encounter with the Divine.

And if only we didn’t merely say or believe these notions in our minds but also live them with our hearts and experience them as our reality. God deserves to be at the forefront of our minds and hearts, to the best of our ability. And if only we could realize that whatever happens in life, whatever He decrees for us, is all for our own perfection, how could we resist or imagine anything other than reality itself? It is no wonder the people of God are drunken in love; intoxicated by the reality of His presence in their hearts. They see nothing else; all they see is their Beloved, above all sights. They desire nothing else; all they desire is union with their Beloved, above all desires. To them, behind all the multiplicity, there is unity; there is only One entity at work.

After everything that has been written, I beg you not to be fooled by the clarity of these words. That is not how one experiences the immediacy of life. Life is one big infinitely complex and paradoxical tapestry we will never comprehend, until the very end. These words came long after the storm had calmed, the clouds had cleared and the silver lining had appeared. As Kierkegaard famously pondered on life, he concluded that, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Now live and harvest your own pearls of wisdom!

  1. Olivia Avatar

    Thank you for sharing!

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