Posts Tagged With: love

Why Wait?  Live in Heaven Today!

Time is relative to contentedness. 

“When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.”–Albert Einstein

One who is accepting of, and grateful with his lot is like one in the passion stage of love. 

One in love is unaware that the future could be snatched away at any minute. Far from filling him with dread he is hopeful, for he knows that the opposite could be true as well. He knows that there are more good times ahead and he lives for them–he literally lives for/in the future. 
One who is grateful, happy, and content, however, is like a child. It is not a beautiful girl he is courting, it is a beautiful life. The knowledge that it could be torn away at any moment causes him to appreciate each moment for itself. 

In appreciating each moment for itself, his focus is changed. He is literally living for/in the present. By measuring time on a different scale, he has altered the speed of thought as his focus is not on some far off temple, but rather it is on the temple he lives in. 

The one who is not content: He moves space and time, deletes memories to drop weight; in dread he puts his focus on the future of “what could happen,” and races toward it in an attempt to keep the bad from happening. Instead of letting his focus be in the present that is, where he really makes his choices, he concentrates on what he will choose in the future invented by his mind. 

With his focus on the future, he fumbles his choices in the moment, and does stuff he never would have chosen to do were he conscious of the choice. He cannot repent of his sins because he is unable to see them with the same gravity–he didn’t even appreciate them when they happened. 
With his focus on the future he condenses milestones in time to travel it faster, and life races right by. 

For one who lives for/in the moment, the timeline is stretched. All accomplishments and choices are more clearly seen, though fewer are in sight. He is like a child who learns from his memories to choose, instead of an adult who, because he is worried the past will repeat, fears he will have to choose. 

The moment becomes beautifully and vividly illustrated. A laugh of a friend in joy is like a choir of angels singing for an eternity–and conversely, the cry of a friend in pain is an eternity of torture. By living in, appreciating, and being content with the moment, one brings heaven to earth. 

“The command is not hidden or far off, it is not in the heavens that you should have to say ‘who will go and get it for us so we may hear and do it?’ …The matter is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart.”–Deuteronomy 32:12

“The command,” here is the entire Torah spelled out in a heartbeat. The entire Torah is this: learn from the past to make better choices in the present; make the choices–and perform them–better by fully seeing them; in choosing/performing better being more content with your choices; , in being more content with your choices of the present, trusting in yourself to choose better in the future, and as such releasing yourself from dread; releasing yourself from the dread of the future allows you to more fully appreciate the moment; appreciating the moment to the fullest returns life to be paradise; living in the paradise of the moment gives an infinite number of them; having an infinite number of moments makes you immortal, and because you are happy, grateful, and content with the moment, you live in heaven. 

This is why jesus said, “Be like a child.”

This is the how to what Buddha said, “release yourself from the wheel of suffering.”

“See, I have set before you life and death, good and evil.”
“Choose life.”

By choosing every moment, one chooses life. By choosing life, one chooses to be infinite. By choosing to be infinite, one lives “in the kingdom of God.”
~N.S. Molino~

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A Day in Belfast…An Eternity in the Soul….

The air wore the subtlest crisp, but the sun supplied a gentle reposte, as we three feathers floated down the Belfastian streets in the late morning. 

As we meandered our way to the shoppe we had sought, we spoke of matters large and small: ambitions for the coming years of education, and further in life; whether the rubbish bin we passed had caught of its natural volition, or whether it was a mischievous arsonist who had kindled a fire in the ash receptacle which capped it. 

I, having the outrageous fortune of accompanying these twin beauties who had joined me from their Lone Star, gloried in their veritable ballet of debate, and–through even their exposition that no malice presented itself amid their bickering, I–was thoroughly enjoying the well practiced match they presented. I felt, in a word, home, not because of their assurance, but because of the rather personal display of familial exchange which I had been invited to rest within. 

Inside the bazaar, were vendors of handcrafts, food–both raw and prepared–booths in sufficient quantity and quality to activate the Pavlovian response in our salivary glands, and music of a skill quite appreciable for we the gentle masses to enjoy. 

Returned to the quieted street, it was after all a Saturday morning, we turned our promenade to follow the the smell of the water, and the flight of the seagull–those giant cockroaches of the skies, whose brazenness seemed to know no bounds as they snatched food directly from tourists hands on the beaches of Brighton but three days prior, and here practiced restraint, or perhaps simply manners, the likes of which thought unknown in this “lesser” species. 

A stranger danced upon a rail, and inspired us to our own flight, which we practiced for a score of minutes before moving along. 

Hunger commencing to gnaw at our hearts, we returned to the bazaar to procure the necessary supplies for a feast to be made upon our return to our Vagabonds lodging. 

We cooked. I offered a spoon of vegetable salad which I fed to the angel beside me as she cleaned her dishes, at once being accepted intimately and feeing as if we had known one another for several years or perhaps lifetimes, as opposed to mere hours.  I danced and sang through the preparation, as is my custom, and sat we down to eat. As a pair, we enjoyed the unique closeness that can only be provided by eating directly from the same vessel, while we reacquainted ourselves with each other after our souls’ long division. 

Others joined, and tasted of my handiwork, and we enjoyed group discussion and familiarity. 

Exiting to the rear garden, Sophie and I enjoyed a solitudinous exchange of life which can only be seen by those beyond sight. I wondered at the texture of her lips, and I peered into the sea of truth that was her eyes. She wondered, it would later be revealed, at the texture of my hands, such tired and well used tools of this artist which lay beside her, but as it would transpire, we both wondered in silence to each to the other. For what reason was our silence manifest, perhaps neither of us can say in truth, but led us forward did such silent questioning into the evening, the arrival of more lodgers and friends, and the inebriated challenge of dexterous showcase whose name is the ever simple, “table tennis.”

The night for me would end too soon, my wondering being placed upon a shelf for later discovery, as I would extract myself to complete my journey already a quartet of weeks passed–five sheets to the wind, propelled at full sail, influenced by the juice of the barley–and stumble to the rendezvous location where my steel coach lay waiting to direct me onward, to the great metallic eagle which urged my return to the reality I had lovingly misplaced for a short time of life. 

Within the sound chamber of my lyre-like heart, was the knowledge that it would not be the last meeting with the two angels who had graced me with inclusion for that day–that day which was but an unknown blip in the waveform of time…but which, within the light of my soul, felt as an eternity. 
   
    
   

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The Unknown King

The fields of auric cereals dance in the summer breeze. 
The skies are brimmed and teaming with undulating billowy blackness which gives way to grey and white and patches of blue. 
A prisoner could be I perceived, 

Or a corpse, in a steel casket meandering its way through this countryside, 

But though for the uninitiated this they see,

My voyage, rife with blessing and hardship, shall never I deride. 
I am not a prisoner, but a noble, borne upon the strength of fire breathing dragons which pull along my carriage. 
As in myth and whimsy a young Pendragon united the disparate kingdoms of the land,
Or our David, brave and belovèd of the Holy One, unified different clans within his hand,
So too am I a king in gestation, waiting for time and place to emerge,
My kingdom is the world and my banner is love,

My buckler the blessing which streams from above,

Which allows me to tap a well of strength

When the world chooses darkness and I the light,

And gives me the power to, at great length,

Continue to love and to lovingly fight.  

~N.S. Molino~

 

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How to Handle an Off Day

ive been having a bit of a bad day since I woke up not feeling well this morning. A friend said when this happens to him, he reads my poetry and it helps. 

I wrote the poems, so the same doesn’t work for me–but I can write. 

I don’t usually name my poems, but obviously, I did this one. 

  

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The Price of Love

He was a mighty king, and he knew it. His effect was felt in all eight directions, throughout his kingdom. 

It was his very existence that kept his subjects awake, alive and thriving, and the unique light which he shone was indispensable to the world–just as for each person who inhabits it. 
Every morning, he blushed at his renewed duty to his subjects, and he felt himself the luckiest in the universe to have such an obligation. Truly, he was different from all others in this respect, as obligation was to him not a burden, but a joy, and he would rise with the crow of the cock to greet each morning with intensity and vigor. 

Each day, when he reached the height of his majesty, he would begin to shrink back–little by little upon his throne–and the longing would begin. He longed for more time in the day, he longed for better conditions for his subjects, he longed for them to be happier with their days; but mostly, he longed for his queen, who had departed from him long ago. 

Wished, had he, that she would stay, but she was blinded by his radiance. She felt, constantly, that she could never reach her full potential with a king so brilliant and loved, so late one night she left a note to her love. 

“My dearest sweet and loving king,

Too long have I languished in your shadow.

I do not wish that you should bring

Upon me pain and sorrow for thou art great,

Noble and fair and I feel that with this ring

Have I at once given seal to my blessed fate,

But my dearest wish I ever to lovingly sing

Of the blessings which I shall surely rate

Within our life or without is all the same,

There are things that coupling cannot give

And wish I to hearken to mine own name

And in death of our union to truly live!”

What a horror he must be, thought the king, for his one truest love to wish to depart from him. How could he have been so blind to let it be unseen to his own eyes that within his life she could not live?  

And so, every night from the point of the letter and onward, the king would die, and in the morning be reborn. 

And every night from the point of his death, his queen would rule in his absence, her unique light spreading far and wide, and giving respite from the sun of the day, as well as well as a silvery glow in which the romantic could play. 

A perfect arrangement it was not as shown, but to die as oneself for the sake of your love to live, 

truly a greater love has never been known. 
N.S. Molino 

 

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Crime and Punishment, and Vicarious Atonement

I started off writing about the falsehood of the doctrine of vicarious atonement that is so central to christian theology.  I don’t want to launch a polemic, so I deleted what I first wrote.  I will, therefore, only write to state what judaism has to say on the subject, and since Jesus was a jew, I will leave it up to the christian reader to decide, research, and apply.

The truth of the matter is that not only is vicarious atonement impossible, but it is also much less improving to the world than how G-d says that we are to make up for our fumbles:

STOP doing bad——-START doing good.  That is all that is asked of us to start back from scratch again!

This real instruction, from Hashem instead of Paul of Tarsus who invented christianity, is so simple and logical that it really should be just common sense, and is the essence of mercy and love–two qualities that emanate from G-d but are attributed in christianity to the vicarious atonement.  It is absolutely unnecessary though to use the middleman of such atonement. Ezekiel 18:20 says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die; the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father with him, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son with him; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”  This passage is implicitly stating that the righteous cannot die for the sins of the wicked.

As correction to this doctrine in christianity which leads to believe otherwise, the proper course correction is laid out in the verse that follows, “But if the wicked turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all My statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.”

Now, this could be taken to mean that in order to live, one would have to keep all the 613 commandments, at all times, without faltering.  This teaching, which is a common justification for the necessity of the vicarious atonement, would have to disregard a separate passage in the same book which states, “Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.”  Ez 18:17. We are told time and time again in this chapter of the book of Ezekiel, that a person’s soul is redeemed by the simple action of recognizing his fault and failure, and taking the necessary action to correct it.  This is what repentance is.

Repent!” This is cried time and again by John the Baptist, and preached by Jesus himself in the gospels of the christian scriptures.  It is almost as if they are presaging the false doctrines and misinformation that would later be taught by Paul and serve as the basis for modern christianity, which being so heavily based in the teachings of Paul instead of Jesus, ought to be properly called “Paulianity” instead.

“Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD; and not rather that he should return from his ways, and live?” Ez 18:23  Instead we are given the cure directly before this passage, “None of his transgressions that he hath committed shall be remembered against him; for his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.” Ez 18:22.  There is absolutely no reason for vicarious atonement, even if it were possible.  In fact, I can see no reason why it would even be desirable, as it does nothing at all to make the world a better place, but instead leaves one to feel let free from all of his missteps because somebody else took the punishment for him.

And this leads me to “crime and punishment.”  A friend wrote earlier on Facebook about how “jesus makes us free, we don’t have to punish anybody because of his sacrifice.”  There is absolutely no reason that anyone would “punish” anyone else for their sins in the first place!  When I asked what was meant, the reply was that, “there are consequences for actions,” and some other stuff after.  Consequences are not the same as punishment.  Consequences are the result of our actions.  Punishment is the attempt to exact justice in some way, by diminishing the faulty party.  Whereas “consequences” for a person’s iniquities are a natural response that occurs, “punishment” for a person’s iniquities can be handed out only by the one true Judge, the Endless One of Blessing.  Given this understanding of the difference in these terms, people have never been responsible for punishing others for their iniquities, and so it is not something that any vicarious atonement could ever make up for anyway!

This is all that I have to write on the subject right now.  I am not sure if anyone will ever even read it, and I kind of wrote it more for my own therapy than anyone else, so that I didn’t blow up my friend’s Facebook page with questions and conversation.

Keep in mind that the books of the bible are complete, and that excerpting one or two passages does not lend a complete understanding to the contents.  I suggest that you read this chapter (20) of Ezekiel yourself, and the rest of the book in order, for that matter.  And relax in the understanding that it is not possible for anyone to die for the sake of anyone else, but all that is really necessary is to stop doing bad, and do good instead.  It really is that simple.

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Paro’s (Pharaoh’s) Hard Heart–Giving–New Years

Picture it!  Egypt!  1200 (ish) BCE!  Moshe comes to Paro, repeatedly, demanding in the name of G-d to, “Let my people go, that they may worship me!”Ex 17:16 and further.  From the start, however, we are told that “I [G-d] will harden Paro’s heart.”  This would at first seem to be a violation of free will, for, how can a man choose if G-d has changed his heart to not choose?  The twelfth century torah scholar, Rabbi Shlomo Itzhak (Rashi), offers up an interpretation.  He tells us that at first, Paro was presented with the choice of letting b’nei yisroel (the children of Israel) go, lest Egypt suffer plagues.  He refused to do so, and even said at points that he would and then turned on such a declaration to retain them.  After he had chosen time and again to not make the choice proper for him and his people, as well as b’nei yisroel, he gave up his right to choose.

I think that we have all had moments in which we have done this.  I know that I have had arguments in which the point of the issue didn’t even matter anymore, rather, the only thing that mattered was to be right–or in some cases just that the other person wasn’t.  After a while of back and forth, its as if an external force takes over and there is no choice left, life just continues to happen with or without your input!  I have seen the same thing happen time and again in regard to many different quarrels or misunderstandings, and the outcome is almost always devastating, and usually for both parties involved.  Think of the bad divorce that you had, when you didn’t even want the house, car, or–G-d forbid this should be the case–kids, but you so wanted to show how badly you were hurting that you took the whole ship down with you, and didn’t even offer any lifeboats.

We must be very careful about hardening our hearts, in all circumstances.  Sometimes, perhaps, we must temper them though.  I once had a friend, who I would work for at times, we would work on cars, our families would hang out together; we had gotten pretty close.  He and his wife divorced, and he started seeing a friend of mine from high school.  Everything seemed great!  They had a wonderful time together–or so it seemed at least–and eventually moved in together.  We fell out of touch for a couple of years, as they had moved away from the area, but as far as we knew everything was fine with them.  Now, this friend had been called many things, by many different people over the years, and I had always defended him, even if passively.  My friend who he was seeing contacted us one day, after they had broken up.  As it turned out, this “friend” of mine who I had so steadfastly defended on so many occasions, actually was crazy.  Clinically crazy!  He was suicidal, manipulative, and perhaps even homicidal.  He ended up in prison, for something or other, and I have never heard from him again.  This is not the first case in which a tempered heart–one that is not closed in apathy, but one which heeds the input of others–would have been very healthy.

On the other hand, I have had people whom others derided often, who have ended up being very good and close friends, and nothing like what others would have led me to believe if I had listened.  So we see that this pendulum can swing either way.  IF we harden our hearts to everyone, we will have no one to care for, and no one who cares for us.  And even worse, doing something with frequency breeds habit in it.  Perhaps this is the real lesson of G-d hardening Paro’s heart.  If, for those of us who believe in G-d, we are to say that G-d bestows upon us the knowledge of right and wrong, we must say that it is by virtue of a relationship with the Creator that we are given this gift, after all, gifts aren’t given in any way shape or form without some kind of a relationship.  But if we deny the blessing of warning, time and again, we might as well resign ourselves to failure–or, insanity, as is often said, “repeating action in expectation of different outcome is the definition of insanity.”

By now you may be wondering what any of this has to do with “giving.”  It is simple: in order to exercise a non-hardened heart, we must give.  We must give of ourselves, our hearts, our souls, and our resources.  The Shema, the central jewish prayer declaring the oneness of G-d, says this almost exactly.  “And you shall love the Lord your G-d with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all the goodness that is to you.”  That last part is difficult to translate, but it has come to be taught by the rabbis that it refers to “all your monetary resources.”  Now, this does not mean that you should give away everything you have, for if you do that you will have nothing more to give.  We can give to others by supplying our own needs, so that we do not use the resources of those who need them more, and at the same time dedicate portions of “the goodness that is to us” to helping others.  If you see a person with a sign out, why not give them the change in your pocket?  Sure, they might use it to go and buy booze or drugs, this is always a possibility–then again, there is a possibility that you may do this with the majority of your paycheck!  There is also the possibility, however, that they will use it to buy food, medicine,  shelter, or even to help others.  Now, perhaps there is something to be said for not giving over and over again, to the same person with a sob story which never changes.  But one thing is almost certain: if you harden your heart and don’t give, before long you will find plenty of reasons not to give, even if your conscience is telling you you should.

And really, what is a few dollars anyway?  In fact, I firmly believe that EVERYONE should set aside ten percent of their income (and money gifted them) to give to those in need.  This needn’t be a homeless person, or even an official charity.  How about paying for somebody’s groceries?  When you are paying your utility bill and the person in front of you is trying to bargain with the company just to get the lights back on, put some money toward their account after they leave (so as not to embarrass them).  Give of your time too.  Take time out of your day to listen to that sob story, and don’t just offer a few coins, but give some kind words too.  Take it from one who has been in a lot of tough places, not all sob stories are untrue.  Life is hard sometimes!

So this is my request for world as we enter 2014 in the secular calendar:  Give!  I promise you, no matter how small the action seems, if we all do love G-d by loving our fellow man with “all your heart, and all your soul, and all the goodness that is to you,” we will make this world a better place.

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Time, Humans, God.

IMG_0215

My posts have been very long.  I am usually quite wordy when I write something, and I don’t know if that is a good thing or not.  I have been up way too late recently, sometimes writing blog posts, sometimes doing other things, but I need to get to sleep earlier.  In that vein, I am going to attempt the impossible: to write a post in under twenty minutes so I can still get to bed before midnight!  It is 11:38 right now.

The night before last, I heard some noise from the loft in our house (where my fourteen year-old sleeps).  I called up, “Patrick?  Whatcha doing?”

“I’m getting dressed.” He responded, in a bit of a snippy tone.

A pause.

“What time is it?” He asked, sounding frustrated.

“11:15 at night.”

“Nevermind.”  He said. “I’m not getting dressed.”

Another story:

A few years ago, I spent the beginning of pesach (passover) in Brooklyn.  We had just finished services at the yeshivah, and I went into the coat room to get my coat.  A man was in there, mid fifties I’d say, great big black beard.  With him was another man who I assume was his father, who had a great big white beard.  The younger man said to me, “It is so nice to see you again!  How long has it been?”

“Many years.” I said to him, with no air of sarcasm.

The older man then said,  “What is time?  A year is but a month, a month is but a week, a week is but a year.”

As we walked back to the house, I told the rabbi and his son what had been said, and they looked at me a bit sideways when I related my response.  “I was meaning in terms of a few thousand years…since we were all at Sinai.”

In Jewish tradition, the soul of every Jew–dead, living, yet to live, and even those who would convert–was present at Sinai.  Every Jew heard the declaration from Hashem (G-d), and accepted the covenant there.  In a way, it had been only a month, a week, a day.

What is time, anyway?  Time doesn’t really exist, except in our minds.  Time is a system of measurement that gauges our productivity in this world.  In fact, if not for the fact that we live within a society that demands that we give our time to it, we would have no need for it.  My son, when he awoke in the middle of the night, heard me awake downstairs and assumed that it was time to get up for the morning.  He had been a little under the weather the previous day, and so he had already slept a lot.  When he woke up, he must have been fairly rested, therefore it must have been morning.

Where does time come from?  Where does our need to set time come from?  In Judaism, the earliest example of time known to man comes from the dictate from G-d to set holy days, and to call off the seasons and months.  We are to usher in rosh hodesh (the head of the month) with trumpets.  Rosh hodesh, in fact, is a minor holiday in Judaism…something that most jews–I think–either forget or never knew.  We are also commanded to bring offerings at particular “seasons” of the day, if you will.  There is a dictate to bring the morning, afternoon, and evening offerings.  Our prayer times are set around these three offerings, and the dictate to twice a day recite the words of the shema, “love the Lord your G-d with all your heart, all your soul, and all your capacity,” etc, in Vayikra (Leviticus) and Devarim (Deuteronomy).  This is to be recited, “when you lay down, and when you rise,” and so there are certain times to do this which correspond to the appropriate times to bring the offerings of morning and evening.

What did this man really mean with his question, “What is time?”  Perhaps he was referring to the way in which Hashem experiences time.  We believe that Hashem (G-d) is outside of time, omnipresent.  If Hashem is omnipresent, then the past, present, and future must all be blended–a synergy of time–and so time does not really exist.  A year truly is a month, a month a week, a week a day.  When Moshe Rabbeinu AHS (Moses our teacher, peace be upon him) meets Hashem for the first time, and Hashem tells him to go to his people and bring them out of bondage, Moshe says (paraphrased) “What’s your name?  When I go to the Israelites, who shall I tell them is their G-d?”

Hashem replies saying, “I will be that which I will be.” Again, Moshe asks, and Hashem responds with a curious word as a name.  This name is so holy, that we don’t even speak it, though many have tried to decode its pronunciation.  He takes the words for “was,” “is,” and “will be,” and squishes them together into one word, the ineffable name of G-d.  What is he telling Moshe at this point?  I think that what he is saying is, “I exist outside the realm of your comprehension.  I exist outside of time and matter, yet intrinsically intertwined with both.  There is no name that can apply to me.”  Further, he seems to be saying, “You can’t put me in a box.  You humans think you are so smart!  First you name something, then you can subjugate it, then you can rule it.  But I cannot be named!  I cannot be ruled!”

The Hasidic Jews of the Breslov movement have a way of describing this that may not immediately make sense in this context.  They say, “I am nothing.  You are nothing.  Only Hashem is.”  In other words, everything that we see.  Everything that we count as being “real,” is really just temporal existence.  All matter will change, all beings will die.  The earth will someday cease to exist, but still the essence of the universe, the mysterious energy that animates all atoms in it, it will continue to be.  Why?  Because that which we cannot see, touch, taste, measure, or quantify, that IS.  Everything else “is nothing.”

So what of time?  Time cannot be seen, touched, tasted, smelled.  Time can be quantifiable–is quantifiable–yet we can never make more of it.  In fact, it is such a finite resource for us, that we often feel loathsome toward the prospect of “burning” time.  But how can we be so concerned with losing time, that we drive ourselves insane?  Perhaps it is because we have attempted to take that which is inconceivable, and ineffable, and put it in a box.  But with all our gears, and levers, the only thing that we can actually measure is our place within time, as it wends its way around our collective consciousness.

It is 12:37 now.  I am 38 minutes “late.”  I have not made my goal of time.  I have not, however, finished late.  Neither do I ever finish my tasks early.  I finish precisely when I am meant to.

Torah of Time

By: Natan Zalman
Is time as it seems?
What is a thousand years to a soul?

It is not as it sounds. A thousand are but a hundred,-a hundred

but a dozen-a dozen but one; a year is but a month-a week-a day-an hour-a second frozen

in cryogenic suspension.

 

My soul does not lack for patience,

it does not even know the necessity for such things.
A heart is but a pound of flesh. What is time to the heart?

Exactly as it seems. A second,       an hour,                 a day——all are excruciatingly

long as a thousand years.”

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If You Can’t be With The One You Love…

…Love the one you’re with!  Love the one you’re with!  Love the one you’re–do do do do do do doodoo!

A friend of mine just went through–or better put, is going through a heartbreak right now.  He told me that he believes that there is such a thing as true love, as two people being meant to be together.  He asked me if I thought so too.  Now let me explain a little something here about myself.  I am an idealistic romantic.  I met my wife when we were both teenagers.  We had four children by the time I was 26.  We have been married for 13 and a half years, and have almost been divorced three times!  What did I say to my friend whose shoes I have a pair of as well (I wear them from time to time)?  “I used to think that way.  Now I think the answer is both yes and no.”  I realize that this could very easily be an extremely confusing concept, so let me further explain.

On one side we have a concept of “the perfect match.”  While this is an absolutely beautiful ideal, on its surface at least, it is really nothing but a romantic self-delusion.  In order for there to be just one “perfect” match, we would have to believe that we do not live in a world of seven billion people.  Even if we are to still believe in “the one,” there still leaves the problem of irreconcilable differences that would logically rule out a good deal of the population as suitable companions.  We have differences such as ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, etc, etc, etc.  For some people, just rooting for the wrong football team is enough to rule out perfection of match!  With all of these possible variables, not to mention myriad others, the field within which each person will search for “the one” becomes smaller and smaller.  But what if the “cosmic” right choice is not our choice?  What if the “perfect” match exists among those whom we have already ruled as being outside the realm of possibility?  You may be feeling that the very possibility of “the perfect match” is starting to dwindle as you consider the statistical difficulties involved with reconciling such thought.  One question comes quickly to mind, however; what about all of the couples who are truly happy, loving, and perfect for each other?

What if I told you that happiness, love, and perfection, are all choices that we make?  In fact, with a few small caveats (which I’ll get to shortly), choice is just as important a factor in these cases, as is is in what you will eat for lunch, whether you drive or walk, or whether you drink water or soda.  Whether we will, and who we will love, is choice based, not fate based.  If it were fate based, then it would be nearly impossible–given the sheer number of statistical possibilities for matches–that any two people would ever love each other or be happy.  And yet, we see many examples of arranged or quick marriages that can blossom into beautifully loving couples, and people who are madly in love from the get-go who don’t make it past a few years.  What is the secret to a lasting, loving relationship?

I spoke of caveats.  There are people who, whether by nurture or nature (a completely different debate) who have a natural proclivity toward loving a broader spectrum of people, and far easier than others can ever dream of doing.  Lets call these, “innate lovers.” These people often desire to make peace, speak diplomatically, and act according to a high sense of morals (whether religious or not) that are often centered on “the golden rule.”  Apart from these people with a natural tendency toward loving others, there are also, oftentimes, many people who have “been to hell and back,” and have decided that while it may be difficult, loving others is something that is ultimately beneficial.  We can call these people, “pragmatic lovers.” Pragmatic lovers often come off as benevolent, or even philanthropic in society and relationships, and while they are such things, they often do so because the data reflects that as the most positive action. Closely related to pragmatic lovers, are “acquired lovers.”  Acquired lovers, are the type of people for whom love is neither simply natural, nor simply pragmatic.  Like learning how to enjoy wine, or brussels sprouts, acquired lovers learn to enjoy loving and being loved.

I believe that any combination of these type of lovers can work together.  I also believe, however, that in most cases it takes a lot of time and hard work.  If both parties aren’t innate lovers, then all too often such unions end because one party doesn’t understand the other.  It isn’t their fault.  The acquired lover can’t understand why his innate lover is so needy all the time.  The innate lover can’t understand what requires so much consideration that the pragmatic lover can’t just love her without having to see the benefit in doing so.  The pragmatic lover can’t understand why the acquired lover has to be backed into a no-win scenario before learning how to love him.  Even if both parties are innate lovers, the relationship can sometimes fail because there is no balance for the neediness that they both exude.

Jewish tradition speaks of all souls being united at their creation, but how on their way into this world they are torn into two halves.  The ultimate journey of the soul, is to find its counterpart and become whole again.  Sefer Bereishit/the book of Genesis says, that Adam and Eve were a model for cleaving and becoming one flesh.  The word translated as “cleave” is דבק-davak, which has a connotation not just as a fleshly coupling, but also as a spiritual coupling, a completeness.  The same word is used to describe the ideal of man’s relationship with G-d.  Later in Bereishit, however, we are told of polygamist unions, as well as the finding of a spouse after the death of her predecessor.  In such cases, I do not think it impossible for the person to make the conscious decision to “love the one” he’s with.  In other words…

The answer that you will get from me, as to whether or not it is possible that a person has a perfect match is, yes.  There is more to it, however, in that the perfect match is the one in whom you choose to find perfection.  That is why it is so, damned, difficult, to handle it when the object of your affection chooses to break up with you.  You may be thinking that everything is perfect, and he just can’t see it.  Maybe you can bring her around to your way of thinking.  With enough time-

Stop, stop, stop.  The only way the other person is going to love you back, is if he/she chooses to do so.  This may sound like an incredibly bleak reality.  “If this is true,” you might say, “then what is the freakin point?  Why even bother?”  For a person with love to give, being able to give the love is a gift in itself.  So, for whatever time a woman allows you to give her love, enjoy it.  If that special man is reciprocal, even better!  But life is too short to hedge your bets.  Even if you find yourself in a situation where you are wondering how long it will last, LOVE ANYWAY.  Believe me, loving someone–even if you have to decide to, or acquire the taste for it–is the best gift that you can give yourself.  And when it does work that the person loves you back, even if just for a week, a month, a year, or a decade, there is nothing powerful enough to stop the two of you, nothing in this world.

I leave you in the immortal words of Don Cornelius, “I bid you peace, love, and soul!”

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