Why do we climb mountains? Why do watch sunrises and sunsets? Why do we take long walks in the park? Strolls at sunset on the beach? Even perhaps sit in a cave or on a rock or in an ashram for hours on end? Well, as the old adage goes… because they are there. However, the deeper meaning, I believe, is to find or experience just that… the deeper meaning of this thing called Life.
They say that traveling makes one appreciate that which one already has. There is no doubt about that. After traveling for over a year now in the far reaches of southern Asia, I’ve come to appreciate many a thing about home back in the western world. In particular, I’ve come to truly appreciate a sense of community; quiet contemplations of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina; friends and family in the busy metropolis of Atlanta, Georgia; electric power; running water; clean streets and sidewalks with trash bins. Yet, the biggest thing I’ve come to realize and appreciate is the diversity which is this world and all of life.
I’ve sat in the monastery. I’ve walked through bamboo forests of northern Vietnam. I’ve rented a house in the middle of a Balinese rice field. I’ve done yoga and qigong in the mountains of Nepal. I’ve watched the sun rise over the clouds amid the mountain tops of northern Philippines. I’ve walked the busy streets of both modern megalopolis and the quaint village which have required hours on bus, plain or even train to reach. Some of those places only reachable on foot even. The world is a big place, and I have by no means seen every inch of it. Indeed I have seen more of it than some and far less of it then a great many others. But the way that I’ve seen it has been with eyes looking beyond what can even be experienced by simple sight.
I have looked under the surface of all there is. I have gazed into the eyes of the water buffalo while sipping masala tea in the east. I’ve peered down from some of the tallest spires of man’s making in Singapore. I have gazed out equally upon the body of the great Mother Earth which man seems determined to alter and even conquer. I’ve sat amid ancient rice terraces created by men whose goal is to simply feed their own families and communities, let alone a hungry if not starving world. I have witnessed gaping wounds of earth on the edge of rivers where machines gauge out quarries of rock and soil to make room for more of man’s making and to provide the concrete that would eventually provide shelter and industry of an ever-increasing population.
I have looked into the face of an ancient past with an eye set on a not-so-distant future. And what have I seen? That underneath it all, it is all completely the same. Whether struggling to survive or coming into the knowing and understanding on what it means to thrive upon this little blue planet of ours, in the end all men and women kind are pretty much exactly the same. Under the surface of it all there really is no difference. Just as a goat is a goat is a goat (and trust me, I’ve seen a lot of goats on this journey), and a field is a field is a field, and a mountain is a mountain is a mountain, so true is the statement that a human is a human is a human.
So, essentially, here is the big fat secret… Something you probably already know… at least in your head. In theory perhaps. However, here it is… Are you ready for it? Are you sure you want to know?? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Okay, here it is…
No matter how you slice it, no matter where you go in the world, it’s really all… the… same.
Point blank. Truth at its most simplest and deepest form. Experienced. Laughable even. But absolutely True. And I mean that with a capital “T”.
Now, I know there are going to be a number of you who are going to want to argue with me on that. How do,I know? Well, let’s just say that I do. Like I said, I’ve looked under the surface. But before you postulate those counter points, bear with me here for a moment. Be with me now…
“When one travels around the world, one notices to what an extraordinary degree human nature is the same, whether in India or America, in Europe or Australia. This is especially true in colleges and universities. We are turning out, as if through a mould, a type of human being whose chief interest is to find security, to become somebody important, or to have a good time with as little thought as possible.” -Krishnamurti
Sure, cultures are different. Languages vary even more than hair or eye color by the hundreds or even thousands. However, the deeper language is all the same. I hear it in the voices I’ve engaged with no matter what the origin of the tongue or tribe. I’ve seen it in the eyes of just about every villager and city-dweller I’ve had the privilege to share space with. I’ve felt it on a soul level with every being who has allowed me the honor to reveal my own. Time… space… distance… culture… language… likes… dislikes… it’s all the same. It’s all an illusion, and yet those illusions are the very threads that make up the fabric of Life itself. How beautiful is that?
What is it that you yourself most desire in life? Freedom? Same. Safety/Security? Same. Family and/or Friendship? Same. Same. Good food? Same. Safe drinking water? Same again. Good health? You guessed it… all the same.
You see, no matter where people are in the world there are these basic human fundamentals that exist for all beings. Okay, so what I’m saying has already been said by so many beings, both mystical and practical thinkers alike. Abraham Maslow coined it as the “Basic Hierarchy of Needs” in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”. But even beyond our basic needs of food, family and shelter we all have deeper desires built into the very fabric of our own being that seek to be manifested… Joy… Personal connection… Communion to something greater than ourselves be that Nature or God (like there’s a difference)… and the greatest of all these… yup, you guessed it… Love.
Oh come on, I know that even some of you diehard, serial singles (whether by choice or circumstance) out there can’t deny that what you ultimately seek is to have love in your life. But this is where the road diverges. Don’t worry, it’s still all the same. However, where some seek love outside of themselves, others have gone beyond the basic needs of acquiring food, family, shelter, a decent job, a husband, wife or partner and taken the road less travelled in order to fall completely, inexorably, head-over-heals in love with themselves. That’s the main driving force that shifts one from the basic concept of survive-abilty to the ultimate conquest of thrive-abilty in this third dimensional school for the soul. Move beyond the basic and even second tier fundamentals, and there is a whole new world in THIS world just waiting to be explored.
Thus, I proffer, that people are all the same. Either they are simply surviving and working in life to take care of their basic needs, or they have moved on from focusing their energies on the basic fundamentals by focusing whatever resources they have, real or imagined (I’ll let you figure that one out), on the next level of the human experiential. OR people are somewhere in the between; somewhere between the old world and the new. Same… same… same.
And so I leave you with this thought and well-heard truism… “wherever you go, there you are”. I also often tell both friends and clients alike that one often has to go away in order to find their way home. And in the end, we are all here just helping each other home.
So, don’t be afraid to take that leap. Don’t be afraid to cut those cords. Don’t be afraid to let go of everything including whatever you think it is you about yourself. But do hold onto the Truth that the Universe knows exactly what it is doing. Do remember that you are a divine, intricate and valuable expression of the Source… just like everyone else. Do know that beyond living there is loving and eternal learning. Do know that we are all in this together, we are all exactly them same and yet profoundly unique in all that we are capable of doing. Yet, in the end, everything comes back around full circle. Think of it as a spiral actually, infinitely above as it is infinitely below. Infinitely without as it is infinitely within. And eventually, we end up right where we began, but perhaps with a slightly higher perspective next time. Hmmmm… now that’s what mountain tops are for.
I love you. Keep breathing. Within the eternal now ever-unfolding, Pheonyx
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