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We Belong to Life



Elizabeth Philipose, PhD

There are easier ways to move through this life than we think. It can be less lonely, less separate, and less confusing if we know that there’s a Law and a Truth that works in our favor.

When I say our favor, I don’t mean my favor or your favor. There’s no you and me or us and them. Truth works in our favor, for us, for humanity, for Life. The Truth of life favors life. That’s why wisdom teachers say that Life is impersonal. It is universal. It is me, it is you. It is every version of life.

Life is. Since the beginning of time, Life. Life will always be. 

Life favors life. Life is for itself. 

This is the universal premise of movements like new-age and prosperity churches. There is truth behind the teachings about abundance and manifestation, even if the interpretation tends to be individualistic and commercial.

But the teaching is universal. It isn’t exclusive of anyone. Nobody is excluded. Every life belongs.

When we take a step back from your life or my life and see ourselves as Life itself, the picture of what’s taking place becomes clearer. This is where ease comes in. If all we looked at was one corner of a painting without looking at any other part of it, we’d be hard-pressed to make sense of it. Step back and see the whole painting. Now we can read its meaning.

The same is true about this historical moment. Step back to see the big picture and the political culture of today becomes meaningful. We can see that we’re in something together and that everybody plays a role, especially in the evolution of consciousness. If we turn our attention to the universal, we’ll find easier ways to move through this life and it won’t be exclusive of anyone’s ease and dignity. We’d understand it better. We’d feel more connected.

That’s when we can see and say valuable things about how we want to live and the meaning we want to make of these lives.

The poet Mary Oliver lived and died in great reverence of this truth, and tells us that when we know, everything changes.

The Swan

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?

Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –

An armful of white blossoms,

A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned

into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,

Biting the air with its black beak?

Did you hear it, fluting and whistling

A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall

Knifing down the black ledges?

And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –

A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet

Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?

And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?

And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?

And have you changed your life? 

In these lines from the poem Wild Geese, she reminds us that we belong. 

You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. 

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination and calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting over and over announcing your place in the family of things. 

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