And now, dear friend, before I close, I want to say something about the understandable fear and worry you so painfully and gracefully confess. The sheer brevity of our lives — the very brevity that makes beauty possible — demands we take the longer view, that there is no new thing under the sun, that what seems an eternity here is but a fleeting moment elsewhere, and that both places are within you. We come, we go, and we remain, all in the instant. I saw a gravestone once, in a small country cemetery, with these sweet words inscribed:
Who knows the dreams that lie here buried?
To which I would fain here add:
But you, my fellow man, traveling companion, and friend.
The chatter of daily events is so much wind in the leaves. Guided by love, the wise one listens, but he does not try to solve the wind. He sees the events as opportunities to go more deeply into himself, and discover where he might have helped such things come to pass. At the same time, he is aware of the beauty in him and around him, and in and around all things.
But what of the immediate consequences? I hear you say. What of those who will be made to suffer by these horrendous acts of selfishness and ignorance? What of all we have to lose?
I can only reply, that you will be most useful not when you are fearful and angry and outraged, but when you know yourself so well that love for all is your only motive. You want results. You want to see them here and now before you die. I say, let go of the results, because without love and self-understanding, you cannot see their beginning or their end, or their myriad consequences. What seems better now may be worse later; what is terrible now may be better later. And so you must also let go of better and worse, and hold to love. You must take the “I” out of all your actions, and let your actions rise effortlessly as prayer, and trust that they will find the proper heart and home. For “I” may dream of helping millions, and yet forget the lonely neighbor, or the homeless man sleeping in the abandoned doorway. “I” is busy, “I” is oft times blind. “I” is an agenda, even if only ever so subtle. “I” says, Let others know what “I” have done. It’s as if the sun, in its slow, inevitable march toward death, were to grant its light one day, and withhold it another. But it can only give. And so must you. So must we all. And it is in giving that we live forever, and are ever new.