This time of year is always difficult for many people because our society has created a habit of obligation giving through a tradition that was started in Manhattan by capitalists, then attached to religion. Christmas during a pandemic is a good time to contemplate what is really important, and what types of gifts have an impact on our hearts.
But what is giving from the heart? What is receiving in the heart? It might be surprising, but many people on this planet don’t really feel much in their hearts for other people. According to the CDC, one in four women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence of some kind, and one in three women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime.
So it appears that humanity is good at giving trauma, pain, and suffering.
We walk past people we don’t know every day who are living through their definition of love. At stores, on the street… the post office…
Why do I say that people are living through their own definitions of love? Because that is exactly what is happening. Every single living thing is trying to simply… live, in the best way they, or it knows how. In other words, to move away from suffering. A cockroach runs away from suffering, a plant moves towards the light, an earthworm will squirm to get away if being pinched… humans are no different because our reptilian brains take over in this world far too often. However, it is important to remind ourselves that we are the only beings able to experience expanding love on an analytical level and apply it to free will.
It is important to remind ourselves that we are the only beings able to experience expanding love on an analytical level and apply it to free will.
During my last grocery store visit stood a man in his late sixties, angry with the length of the line, and frustrated that he had to wear a mask (by the way it was tugged down his face with every sigh), then huffing when the woman in front of him used a card that declined. He stormed out of the line past me, and proclaimed “It’s ridiculous this place only has three registers open!” Making eye contact in such a way that he expected a verbal agreement as to say, “You’re right man, fuck this place and everyone here!” or at least a nod of approval for his view of an imperfect world.
We are surrounded by angry people, and if we’re not aware of it, we can certainly “catch” anger from them.
This man in the grocery store could have been me at one point in my past, or me in my sixties, my neighbor from down the street who I’ve never met… or my Dad. Because I wouldn’t know if I was next to him in line at the grocery store.
The last memory of my father in his physical form was when I was three years old, and he had just thrown my mother down the stairs of our house, and my mother, lying on the ground, was yelling across the room telling me and my six year old sister how to use a rotary phone to dial our grandfathers’ number for help.
After that night, my mother immediately placed a restraining on my father, and the next time I received a reminder of his existence was his truck driving away after he dropped a black and yellow 20 inch BMX bicycle in the driveway on my fifth birthday.
When I was in eighth grade, I changed my last name from my father’s to my mother’s maiden name. I had to get my Dad to sign a legal document of approval since he was on my birth certificate. He signed the paperwork, and it was all completed through the mail so this was the second time I was reminded of his existence after the restraining order.
Three years ago, I stumbled across an article that an older man was arrested at a Kroger in Indiana for fighting with police officers, this was Dad, in the third reminder of his existence after the restraining order, 24 years after the second.
Two years ago I started having some “spiritual awakening” experiences (which I’ll write about entirely at another time), but since, I’ve gotten into the path of Kriya Yoga through Ananda, a technique taught by Indian mystic Paramansa Yogananda, this practice of meditation has awakened some very specific realizations from my father, so this inner awakening and information was the third reminder of him in my life, but significant because it was a realization that proved he was with me at all times, (Indian mystic Sadguru actually explains why I had the experience I did, but I didn’t see this article until a year after I had the experience.)
Then, on Christmas Day, 2020 my mom called and said “You may not care, but Bill, your dad passed away this morning shoveling snow off of his truck.”
This was the fourth time. But I realize that he’s not gone at all, and was always with me.
This year has taught me a lot about anger. We come into the world screaming to clear out our lungs and learn to breathe air. It seems like a pretty violent way to begin life, but that’s the point. This entire life is a curriculum to learn how to deal with a set of circumstances each day, and there are a few ways to handle them: with fear, anger, or love.
The amazing thing about life, is that this curriculum isn’t just a simple paper test, it’s an experience of fluctuating energy, and the cause and effect of free will. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned in the last two years is that everything absorbs everything, even our bodies absorb the energy of our environments. Have you heard the saying “Look at that kid, he’s a sponge just soaking everything up.” That is exactly what kids are, but adults also, we actually never stop soaking in energy from everything around us.
Growing up, I didn’t have an understanding of how to give love to any situation, because I lived in a tense house, and absorbed the anger from alcoholism, domestic violence, and a lifestyle that wasn’t grounded. This is what I was made of from a experiential standpoint, but I always knew there was a lot more to “me,” and was aware from a very young that there was a bit of information missing. Further, it wasn’t the fault of my mother, or my father, and there’s no way either of them could have “done better,” because they also had missing information.
In my developing years as a child, we moved around from state to state, living in different camp sites and trailers. This was our home in Wyoming when I was born.
My father was a Vietnam Veteran, and he got his spine slit with a straight razor in a bar fight and was dismissed from duty. He rode a motorcycle and crashed it one night drunk. From this day, according to my mother, he was angry and violent, this led to his behavior and ultimately him being absent (physically) from my life and my sisters. I know this hurt him. He definitely suffered, and the pain just intensified because it never went anywhere.
He was a raging alcoholic, and took his anger out on anything around him. I came to find out later from my mother, that his mother treated him horribly.
I was born into a family that didn’t know peace, and could have been a model family for America because on the surface it looked pretty damn normal.
Not a single individual in my life lived off of the receipt and giving of love, they lived out of a reaction to suffering.
It appears to me that most of us cry to learn how to breathe, and then never stop the violence and suffering, unless it is possible to awaken from it, but someone has to show the way. That is why we are here on this planet, to help one another end each others suffering. This is the purpose of family, of friends, of caring for one another, and the lesson behind giving anything to another person. We are quite literally either pushing each other over cliffs, or saving each others asses.
The way we do it (save each others asses), is the missing information I never had as a child. It is by channeling and redirecting energy.
I grew up with a wonderful step-father who I referred to as Dad, (and still do), who came into my life shortly after my mother placed a restraining order on my biological father, and I was fortunate enough to gain amazing experiences in my life — even though my step father was not without his own suffering and reactions to it. But I’m writing this because I realize that even though I didn’t know the Dad that makes up my DNA, I still was him, and I still am him, and I spent many years reacting to situations internally with anger, missing the opportunity to love. Everything in existence is a product of something and I am half the DNA of an individual who clung to suffering most of his life. I was the man at the grocery store. We all are sometimes; but when we’re not, do we just keep walking? Or stop, and take a moment to give just a little bit of the love we have to offer to someone who might need it more than we do at that moment?
For many people giving love to someone who is suffering isn’t possible, because they are suffering in need of love themselves. This is the hard truth of the way anger and love are absorbed in our society. The interesting thing is this: anger and love are emotional reactions, and by all accounts could be defined as “constructs” which aren’t real (kind of like past and present don’t actually exist, they are just memories). But, our experiences create thoughts, which create gamma rays, which are energy. So anger and love, are very much real, and they are manifested into charged particles that actually make up matter — like humans.
Energy is charged in “matter,” through electrons, protons, and neutrons.
Negative and positive energy make up the entire universe, and this is why suffering and love are rooted in our nervous system, because they are rooted in the Universe through “thought.”
To make yourself aware of love, or the love you have to give, all it takes is to look at another person in their time of suffering and send them love when they need it. That’s all. As you send it, you’ll receive it — in the form of a full feeling in the heart (not the heart pumping blood, but the anahata center of your nervous system in the spine which some people call the “fourth chakra”). We have energy “centers” in our physical bodies, and this is actually where love is stored. So love, is not a construct, it’s a binding source of energy.
My Dad exists in my DNA, in my experiences, and in my reality, and I did nothing but send him love with the news of his passing, and I understand he’s at peace, because I feel a huge weight off of my own shoulders. That’s love in the works. All of his suffering is over. With each passing chapter, we’re given gifts that are able to be received, but only if we are willing.
Ram Dass calls reacting to certain situations in the world with “compassionate humor” the “cosmic giggle.” The Universe is smiling and laughing with us all the time, and all we have to do is become aware of it.
When the gentlmen at the grocery store wanted me to agree with his anger, I just smiled under my mask, and sent the man incredible thoughts of love. He sighed a final time and relaxed into his reality that everything is going to be ok. This is a technique of changing the energy in a room. We are all capable of this by opening our hearts, and minds.
We all want to understand what John Lennon and Martin Luther King were saying, but it all becomes so much better when you experience what they were saying — Thanks, Dad. Merry Christmas.
Give away all of the love you have, you’ll just get more to give away.