Offer it up personally,then. Right now. I thought of how many people go to their graves unforgiven and unforgiving. I thought of how many people have had siblings or friends or children or lovers disappear from their lives before precious words of clemency or absolution could be passed along. How do the survivors of terminated relationships ever endure the pain of unfinished business? From that place of meditation, I found the answer-you can finish the business yourself, from within yourself. It's not only possible, it's essential.
The Augusteum warns me not to get attached to any obsolete ideas about who I am, what I represent, whom I belong to, or what function I may once have intended to serve. .. Even in the Eternal City (Rome), says the silent Augusteum, one must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation.
So when modern-day religious conservatives wax nostalgic about how marriage is a sacred tradition that reaches back into history for thousands of uninterrupted years, they are absolutely correct, but in only one respect—only if they happen to be talking about Judaism.
People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.
A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.
A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master...
When you're lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you've just wandered off the path, that you'll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it's time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don't even know from which direction the sun rises anymore.
I keep remembering one of my Guru's teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't you will eat away your innate contentment. It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.
I had always been taught that the pursuit of happiness was my natural (even national) birthright. It is the emotional trademark of my culture to seek happiness. Not just any kind of happiness, either, but profound happiness, even soaring happiness. And what could possibly bring a person more soaring happiness than romantic love.
Still it is true that many same-sex couples want nothing more than to join society as fully integrated socially responsible family-centered taxpaying Little League-coaching nation-serving respectably married citizens. So why not welcome them in Why not recruit them by the vanload to sweep in on heroic wings and save the flagging and battered old institution of matrimony from a bunch of apathetic ne'er-do-well heterosexual deadbeats like me
To feel physically comfortable with someone else's body is not a decision you make. It has very little thing to do with how two people think or act or talk or even look. The mysterious magnet is either there, buried somewhere deep behind the sternum, or it is not.
But I was always coming here. I though about one of my favorite Sufi poems, which says that God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now. I was never not coming here. This was never not going to happen.
Liz: What's it like in hell?
Ketut: Same like heaven. Universe is a circle, Liss. To up, to down -- all same, at end.
Liz: Then how can you tell the difference between heaven and hell?
Ketut: Because of how you go. Heaven, you go up, through seven happy places. Hell you go down, through seven sad places. This is why it better for you to go up, Liss.
Liz: You mean, you might as well spend your life going upward, through the happy places, since heaven and hell -- same destinations -- are the same thing anyway?
Ketut: Same-same. Same in end, so better be happy on journey.
There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under my jurisdiction. There are certain lottery tickets I can buy, thereby increasing my odds of finding contentment. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom share my body and life and money and energy with.
I thought about the relentless thought-processing, soul-devouring machine that is my brain, and wondered how on earth I was ever going to master it. Then I remembered that line from Jaws and couldn't help smiling: 'We're gonna need a bigger boat.