Over a year ago, I wrote a post called Loving Reality. That was in the days of 38 or so mighty readers. This morning I was reminded of this piece because it was republished in Soulful Living. I remembered how much I love this piece, and how important I think this idea is. So I’m sharing it with all of you again here.
Ideas show up when I’m writing and often they are as new to me as they are to you when you read them. This piece was that way for me. It provoked my thinking. It introduced the new idea of Loving Reality into my life.
It speaks to where I am right now. I wrote last week about how I’m more and more leaning into the present. I’m actually savoring quiet. I’m choosing to meditate, because I am actually enjoying it. Whoa. I’m taking time to enjoy things, to be in the moment without any ambition or urgency about getting to the next task.
Just like the weatherman will sometimes say, “we haven’t had a storm like this in 15 years” I’m reporting, “I haven’t had a calm like this in 15 years.” Truly.
Calm is only possible when we make peace with reality. And if we can love it, trust it — find a way in the midst of pain and tragedy and oil spills — if we can, paradoxically, love reality– then life opens up its secrets to us. We open ourselves to receive its everflowing gifts.
In our culture, when we talk about love, we typically talk about loving another person: I love Sonia. I love my grandfather. I love Louie.
What do we mean by that?
When we love others, we treat them with compassion, kindness, and patience.
We perceive their gifts and beauties and power. We champion and affirm what is best in them.
We support and nurture and care for them.
We forgive them, and we do so regularly.
We give up the false idea that there is wrong with the people in our lives, and liberate them to be exactly as they are.
When we love ourselves, we do the same.
We treat ourselves with compassion, kindness, and patience.
We perceive the gifts and beauties and power in ourselves.
We support and nurture and care for ourselves.
We forgive ourselves, and we do so regularly.
We give up the false idea that there is something wrong with the truth of ourselves, and we liberate ourselves to be exactly as we are.
Less frequently in our culture, we speak of loving a particular thing, activity, or creative expression in the world.
When we speak of that, we usually mean that we deeply enjoy it, we draw great pleasure from it.
As a result, we want to experience it, to be near it.
We perceive its gifts, beauties, and power.
We have a mysterious and inexplicable special connection to that thing.
Let’s take everything we know about what it means to love a person, an activity, thing in the world, and ask ourselves, what would it mean then, to love reality itself? To love the way things are, they way they happen, the way they will happen?
To love reality itself. That would mean….
Treating reality with compassion, kindness and patience.
Perceiving the gifts, beauties and powers of reality and championing and affirming them.
Somehow supporting, nuturing and caring for reality.
Forgiving reality and forgiving it regularly.
Giving up the false idea that there is something wrong with reality, and liberating it to be exactly as it is.
Deeply enjoying reality, and as a result, wanting to experience reality, to be near it.
Possessing a mysterious and inexplicable special connection to reality itself.
For this lifetime, reality is our home. You can experience your home as a small tent on a violent battlefield, or you can experience your home as a soft sun-streamed ocean full of myriad delights. You can experience your home as rocky and dangerous shore where at every moment sharp cliffs, strong waves, or hungry predators threaten your life. You can experience your home as a playground, created for your delight. You can experience your home as a warm embrace, knowing that you are carried by the universe as you were carried by a loved on in the first few days of life.
Most of us live our lives trying to shield ourselves from the dangerous parts of reality, working to game the system, control the outcomes. We have all kinds of expectations about how reality should be. We believe that we have to struggle to get what we want and fight to prevent what we hope to avoid. We live in a rather adversarial, fearful relationship to reality. You could say that underneath it all, the real sources of stress in our lives are our underlying beliefs about reality itself.
What if we lived in a entirely different kind of relationship to reality? A relationship without that sense of needing to control, without fear? What if were able, somehow, to lean into reality, to trust it fully? What about taking a stance of curiosity to reality- an interest in following it, studying it, to see how it unfolds? What about loving reality?
An essential part of living a juicier, more fulfilling lives in relating to reality in this more open, pliant, trusting way, because reality is our guide on the journey. If we are open and willing, reality will provide the perfect curriculum for us to grow, and create a life of greater joy. It will supply all the sustenance and aid needed to get us through each step on the journey.