Yes, there are libraries full of books promising the secrets of life, the how to guides, and books that even try to make scripture into a tool of manipulation. Click your heals three times, close your eyes and tell the universe your heart’s desire. Pray the right prayer to God. The universe or God, white wand in hand, grants you your desires because you wanted it so bad. While fantasy is fun, this is not of the book I am writing. Within analysis you will not find answers to fulfilling your desires for a dream job, getting people to liking you, getting stuff, getting more stuff or getting fame or even getting success.
It may happen. It may not.
These are unimportant in the long course of our lives.
I speak of smaller things. I speak of bigger things. The good life, the honest life, the real life transcends time. Love transcends time. Jobs, reputation, wealth, fame, and even success are all limited by time. Chasing them is like chasing moving water with a wholly cup. A little may find your lips, but only enough to keep you thirsty. Going from success to success leaves you wanting, empty and frustrated without relationship or love. Think about the time you accomplished a great success, made the winning basket, got the applause. Why did it leave you empty so quickly after? Real living fills you with living water, quenching your thirst. Think back to a connecting to another, a great heart to heart talk, seeing you son or daughter walking for the first time, overwhelmed by the beauty of ocean line. Imagine.
Imagine that the worth of yourself and others is not measured by stuff, status or success. Imagine the worth of a life coming from your connection to others, to God, to your life, irrespective of your circumstances. Where prayer, ceasing to be a tool of wanting, births you into unknown adventures. A life of memories worth having.
I will not promise here of mysterious keys to life, hidden truths, or magical potions. That’s left for others. The key to the good life is simple and full of suffering. It is also fills us with joy. I will just share my experiences on being with others. Use what you can for yourself. Toss out what you want or doesn’t work for you.
Nor will you find anything new. Yes, I will share techniques to listen better. Yes, I will share ancient and orthodox Christian theology. That is what I have studied and have my degree in. I will also share what I have learned from the world of science. With the discovery of mirror neurons, the ancient truth of living a life of love makes the highest life has been confirmed by modern science. We are hardwired to be with each other.
With one a simple word, I will the hope is that we can reclaim the power of love. A word so common we ignore it, a word that is at the center of Immanuel, at the center of the divine, at the center of love without pretensions and without lies. Follow.
What we speak about here is joy, passion, and love. What speak about is a simply word “with.” A contemplation on such a small and common a word might look like a waste of time, and effort that a quick search of the dictionary or Google search settle any question on the meaning and practice of the word. But think back when you have connected with another, eye to eye, face to face, and for a moment time disappeared. Why did you connect with them? Was it that you were with them? Did you, for a moment, transcend yourself and found yourself carried away with another human to a different place than your normal life? Yet, paradoxically, you also maintain your own self. If fact you experienced your self at a heighten state. The theologian Martin Buber named such a being with another, I-Thou. He was right saying that the I of being with another is different from the I that is apart from the world. The I that can be with another is the real I. The I that touches God.
Remember such an experience. Think of a space and time when something came over you. Maybe a sense of beauty overwhelmed you. Whether it was nature or animal that you found yourself changed, even if just a little while. It could have been a song, music, art, painting or film that carried you away only the place of a heighten you. Wouldn’t these experiences be worthy of meditation, or at least a pause for reflection?
Could we repeat such events? Or at least be more open to them?
Stay with me, though. Yes, “with” is just a preposition; a word used a million times a day without thought. Defining a word can do one of two things either give one a greater understanding of the word or dismiss it. The word “with” does two important things. First it places one in relationship to whatever one is with. Second, it maintains our own boundaries in the relationship. To have no boundaries with the other means being adsorbed by the other. Obsession is not love.
There has to be a sense of compassion to love or it sinks to obsession.
Compassion simply means being with another’s passion. Communicate simply means sharing language with another. Common simply means being with duty. Community simply means with unity. The word “with’ gets to the heart of living, of loving, and finding joy. Learning to be with another will lead to a full life. “With’ teach us the heart of God. Emmanuel simply means God with us.
The prefix “com,” etymology tells us, comes a word that means “with.” Com be with me in my exploration.