The Native American people, who follow shamanism, have a sacred symbol called Healing Wheel or Wheel of Life. They understand that living is a process of infinite healing, ‘walking in beauty on the endless road of life’, in the words of an old Navajo wise man. The symbol has the sacred mission of reminding us that through our relations we will find the medicine or poison for our pains. As we learn who we are and appease our relations with everything and everyone, we jump up a rim in the Wheel of Life. We become stronger to move on.
Once I heard from a wise Tibetan monk that Buddhism was not religion or philosophy. Buddhism is social relationships, he explained, because any theory is useful only if applied to my everyday relations. Knowledge that is not experienced is like bread in a window, even though the eyes sparkle with excitement, it does not satiate hunger.
Life is but an ongoing healing process. The reason to live is just to heal the emotional wounds, excise psychological tumors, cure affective pains. Only then we will be whole, truly happy. Old and current relationships tend to wound and hurt in such a way that, if allowed, suffering will settle in as if there were its eternal home. All those who pass through our lives, whether with higher or lower intensity, are our masters, as they make situations occur, pleasant or not, that will allow the best in us to blossom. As long as we are bold, wise, and seek with love the responses in the source of all truth. This light is within you. It is not easy, and not always the first time we meet is pleasant, as we tend to use the artifice of delusion to personify who we would like to be, in the vain hope that this will mitigate our pains. It is the lie that we tell ourselves that prevents us from healing. One must strip off the social persona we have created which, being unreal, postpones our discovery of the truth by delaying the much desired train bound to the highlands of fulfillment. In order to be happy, one must be whole, and that is only possible if we ride on the wagon of truth.
Truth heals because it lifts the veil that fogs the perfect stare. A better understanding allows you to modify the course. For that, we must take off on a fantastic flight over the enlightened and darkened valleys of self-knowledge. Tried and true Socratic philosophy already warned us about the need of knowing thyself. To understand who we really are is the only path to understanding the others. And to be in peace with the universe.
Everybody complains about how imperfect the world is, but forgets that they are part of it, like the flowers and the thorns; the lions and the sheep; fire and water. One time as the former, another as the latter. For ignorance or convenience, we forget that if we are part of the pleasantness of life, we are, at times, part of their pains. A little more or a little less, according to how each one understands it, but with no exceptions. We complain a lot because we want everything and everyone to adjust to our comfort and our needs, as an avenue on which the lights turn green as our car approaches. That would be perfect, right? How about those who are on the transversal streets, would they have to wait until we pass? The thing is, everybody sees themselves on the main road.
The conflict is instated. However, we all seek happiness, and even when we express our disbelief, unconsciously we long for that state of mind.
To appease your relations and heal your suffering, it is mandatory to understand the feelings that move you.
– Was love unrewarding because we longed to have it, rather than experiencing it?
– Did the love one leave because he/she could not bear the heavy burden of having to make you happy, a senseless burden you alone imposed on them?
– Doesn’t the other have the right to leave whenever they want and to make their choices, being up to us only to respect it, with dignity, for understanding that our actions deserve to be similarly considered?
– When we claim for a sentence, what moves us, justice or revenge?
– When we feel abused, couldn’t it be possible that that is because we granted such power to the other? Isn’t it time to review such a grant?
This is just some food for thought, ordinary questions common to us all.
The feeling is the fuel that moves life; however, it is the level of consciousness that allows a better burning.
To understand your feelings and emotions is to know yourself more and more, is to have the ability to choose the best reactions for yourself and consequences for the world. Maturity is to understand that there is no freedom without responsibility. To become whole, further down the road, means to understand that your choices design your story, and are decisive for the world around you. Like a stone that is thrown in the lake, the freedom of choice ripples to the end of the universe, and the universe reacts to our impulses in perfect proportion.
What course should we take? As a passenger disoriented in a huge station, we ask from what platform will the next train leave. We all wish for the secret map of heaven, without realizing heaven may even be our backyard.
The cabalists tell the parable of a rich merchant who offered half of his fortune to anyone who could state the entire wisdom of the Talmud in the short time he could balance himself on one leg. Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you, all the rest are just commentaries, an intelligent rabbi perfectly summarized.
In the beautiful and deep Sermon of the Mount, Jesus teaches the exact same lesson when he explains that all commandments can be abridged in doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is the North of the compass indicating the way to fulfillment.
To clearly realize the extension of your attitudes and the true feelings that move you is to understand everything and everyone. The world serenely expands and brightens in the exact proportion of our understanding of who we are and what we do. Really.
Translated from the Portuguese by Carlos André Oighenstein.