Many of the mornings on many of the days in the lives of many of the people on this planet, it’s not very easy to find a very good reason to throw back the covers and get out of bed.
Life feels like a struggle mentally, physically, and emotionally from morning to night, with no letup in sight, no relief on the way, no abatement on the horizon. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another…and the challenges don’t seem to be getting smaller, but just the opposite.
What’s the point of it all?, we ask…and it’s a fair question. It all ends in death? That’s it? We’ve gone through all of this for nothing?
We might as well make the best of it while we’re here, because there’s nothing more to it than that? The entirety of our Journey is the experience we’re having right here, right now — added to the experience we’ve had from our birth to this point, and that we’re going to have from this point until our death?
None of it has any implication or reason, purpose or function, consequence or ramification beyond that, and none of it has any significance or meaning except that which we, ourselves, invent (or what we allow our culture to convince us is “true”)?
I mean, really…?
Well, let’s see here. We’re told by many, many people that this is not the way it is. Our lives are more than meaningless meanderings through days and nights of aimless moments and purposeless existence, they say. There is a reason we are here, there is a point to it all, and that is what gives us the motivation to throw back the covers in the morning and lumber out of slumber to venture into The Adventure once more.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…
I love Shakespeare, because he was more than one of the world’s most prolific, powerful, and poetic writers. He was a metaphysician of the first rank. He deeply understood the deeper aspects or the deepest reality we call Life. So I quote Shakespeare often, and sometimes, with a fond knowing that I have his total blessing, I may paraphrase or even ever so slightly alter his words to reflect my application of their present-day meaning.
Shakespeare wrote those words in Henry V, Act III, Scene I. The king was encouraging his soldiers before attacking an enemy. And while these are words before going to war, I know that Shakespeare meant them as more. As with all of his writing, they were replete with multiple meaning. Thus, this passage has been quoted for centuries as it may apply to each of our own “inner wars” — the internal struggle in which every human being engages as we rise up with courage each morn to face whatever onslaught the day may bring.
And so here is my own offering, with some abbreviation and tiny modification, when I quote this passage in the context of our daily battle with the human mind’s greatest enemy: a misunderstanding of what is occurring, why it is occurring, and what this entire life is really about:
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…
…in peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
as modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of life’s struggles blows in our ears,
then imitate the action of the tiger. . .
…now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
to its full height. On, on, you Noblest One…!
…Show us here the mettle of your pasture; let us swear
that you are worth your breeding;
for there is none of you so mean and base,
that hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
straining upon the start. The game’s afoot;
follow your spirit…!
Ah, yes, my lovelies…the game’s afoot. But what, exactly, is the game? That becomes the question of the day.
It has been the question from Day One. And now comes the answer, yet one more time, from one more source, in terms so clear, and words so simple and direct, that it cannot be misunderstood anymore.
We have heard the answer before, for sure. But from so many places and in so many ways, we no longer know what to believe.
Our more traditional religions tell us that the “game” is getting back to Heaven; returning to God; finding our way to Paradise; obtaining our Eternal Reward.
Some philosophies tell us it has nothing to do with “eternal” anything, and that our life is about exactly what we are experiencing here and now, making the most of it by giving the most to it, and being satisfied with that — which can be more than enough in a life well lived.
Some spiritual movements say it need not be an Either/Or proposition, but can be Both/And…plus, possibly, a great deal more.
In the second view — that of the non-religious philosophers — we are simply (while admittedly highly sophisticated and complex) physical life forms, moving through the biological process of the Cosmos in which we are born, we live, and we die, ceasing to exist in any conscious form whatsoever thereafter, but having the ability while we are alive to affect not only the lives around us, but of those members of our species who follow us, in ways that cause us to be long remembered — and thus to give our lives meaning beyond our here-and-now existence.
In the third view, an amalgam of the first two, we are more than our biological sum and substance — and more, as well, than spiritual entities who live as obey-me-or-else subjects of a cosmic monarch
laying down the requirements for us to get back to a kingdom we can’t understand why we left in the first place.
The text we have been given in the 3,000+ pages of the Conversations with God dialogue addresses that word “more.”
If we are spiritual entities who never wanted to leave the Kingdom of God in the first place, then why did we leave? Is it possible that our Souls left that celestial location on purpose? Could we have done so not only willingly, but excitedly and joyfully?
CWG answers these questions and more, joining a long list of other sources, both ancient and contemporary, in telling us that there is a very special reason we are here, that our having been birthed was not a mere happenstance within a cosmic-wide biological process, that our lives have a purpose that stretches far beyond the end of our present-form physical/chemical expression, and that the very essence and energy of which we are comprised is identical to, and an extension of, the Essential Essence and Purest Energy of the Universe Itself, parts both seen and unseen — or what some of us have called God.
The purpose of this massive and endless process that we have chosen to call “life” is for that Essential Essence and Purest Energy to express Itself in such a way that it would know Itself in its own experience, at the same time expanding the awareness of the knowing of Its individual aspects, elements, and individuations.
Put in somewhat simpler terms, every expression of life is an expression of its Source, experiencing, displaying, and demonstrating aspects of that Source in singular and individuated form.
This means that all that lives (and if we define “lives” as that which is in motion, this would include everything) is an expression of the Divine, and the goal of all sentient beings is to become aware at higher and higher levels of the unlimited aspects of Who They Are, so that Adonai, Allah, Brahma, Elohim, God, Jehovah, Krishna, Rama, Vishnu, Yahweh, or by whatever other name our various global cultures have used to refer to that Ineffable Essence we understand to be The Divine, may experience Itself in, as, and through those beings.
That is our reason for throwing back the covers and getting up in the morning.
Is the reason enough? Is God experiencing God reason enough for some of us to experience hell? (Or what we have called “hell”?) That depends on how we are engaging with the events and circumstances of our moment-to-moment encounters.
Conversations with God tells us that “the good news is, you don’t have to go through hell to get to Heaven.”
“Oh, yeah? Well, you can’t prove it by me,” some of us may be tempted to say. But it’s true. And there are those among us who have proven it.
We can be among those. That is the promise of The Divine.
And we’ll look at this in Part III of this series.
(Neale Donald Walsch is the author of What God Wants, and 29 other books articulating what he refers to as The New Spirituality.)