This fall, Atria is publishing my new book of spiritual inquiry, The Endless Practice: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be. It’s a journey that explores the difficult and rewarding aspects of being human, which are often inter-related, including how to restore our trust in life, when suffering makes us lose our way; how to begin the work of saying yes to life, so it can enliven us; and how to make our inwardness a resource and not a refuge. For the next two months, I’ll be previewing excerpts from the book.
Like the sun, the heart is constantly glowing and it is our job to keep glowing through the weather of experience.
To Glow in All Directions
During my days of cancer, I felt such fear from all directions, including the well-intended but negative scenarios of all the doctors preparing for what to do when this would fall off or that would stop working. The only place I could retreat to was the moment at hand. No matter how painful, that moment, paradoxically, had the calm certainty of already existing. No one could puncture it or take it away. It simply glowed. And so, without any wisdom but out of desperation, I took refuge in each glowing moment, one leading to the next. To my humble surprise, each moment was a threshold to the sanctity that waits inside any circumstance. I discovered that each moment contains an ounce of eternal perspective that doesn’t eliminate what we have to go through, but which opens us to the stream of life that is always ready to carry us. And so, when weak and close to death, I learned that what we retreat to may at first be a refuge, but what we face and see our way through becomes a resource. I learned that authentic living begins with our acceptance of what we’re given. Then the light of the soul can meet the light in the world. In those hard-earned moments, we glow in all directions. I’ve been trying to understand the truth and glow of being human ever since.
A Question to Walk With: Tell the story of a time when you felt aglow. What led to this sense of aliveness? Where does it live in you now?