Choosing Life

It is a mystery that life carries us. It’s beyond my understanding, but that’s what you get with a mystery. For me it is reassuring that deep down I know how it works and that I trust it. I’m not special in that though. Everyone has that compass on board. If you follow that compass, you will notice afterwards that in an inexplicable way things happened in your environment seamlessly matching what is going on inside you. Sometimes it is a big lesson that takes you further and sometimes it is a new challenge, then again an illness and at another time it is the insurance that pays out. I know things can happen by chance, but this is about much more than chance or synchronicity. To me, chance is something that falls upon you at a time when you are looking for something. Picasso once said: “Je ne cherche pas, je trouve”. I don’t seek, I find. Artists and musicians know this phenomenon like no other. It’s about finding the flow in which everything becomes one: musician, instrument and audience. I have described this extensively in other blogs. At those moments I experience that I am part of an immense creative process and that I am a character in a story and that, if I choose to do so, I can help shape that story. You then say with heart and soul that you want what the story wants. You can also pray: “Thy will be done. On earth as in heaven”. Then you will co-create and then there will be an interaction whereby life will also carry you. You then experience what Picasso meant. You no longer search and you know in advance which way the process is going. That’s the most beautiful thing there is. You feel peace, strength, freedom. Everything works for you. At such moments, my worries about what happened in the past instantly disappear and my fears about what might happen in the future disappear. I then feel the need to stand still and enjoy the moment.

You make your own choices, but I don’t believe you are autonomous in them. Try to be completely autonomous and you will still find yourself taking part in that one story. Ask yourself how it’s possible that the organs in your body function perfectly without you having to think about it? You can frustrate their functioning with your lifestyle, but you can’t turn them on or off. There are already many things in your life that carry you and that you know little about. In the end, the only real free choice you have is whether to trust life or not. And you don’t make a real choice halfway, but fundamentally: with heart and soul. This is a universal law and it knows no goat paths. If you trust life you don’t need to understand it. If you do not trust it (a little) you will at first need to understand the mystery, but that is in vain because we do not have the means to understand this mystery. Our brain and our sensors can’t do much with it. We know much about the physical world, but almost nothing about this mystery. So that is not an option. Then, you can only accept that it is a mystery and learn how it works in practice.

When I trust life I know that everything is possible: both disasters and miracles. We humans distinguish between disasters and miracles. The mystery does not know that distinction. Someone who is terminally ill is just as carried through life as anyone else. Often very intensively. My brother-in-law, who was dying from cancer, talked about an invisible hand that held him. He couldn’t explain it well. It is different from what you are used to because you are used to the frameworks of human systems and laws. After a period in which my brother-in-law was very frightened and struggled with his illness, a phase came in which he gave in. Even though he wanted it to be different, in the end I saw him drink the cup with which he opted for euthanasia in peace and quiet. Otherwise he would have slowly suffocated. It made a deep impression on me. I had never seen anyone who had such deep faith in the mystery.

In less extreme circumstances, life also carries us. Some people are aware of that. Scientists talk about a different attitude to life that brings more happiness. They can do comparative studies in the lives of ordinary people. As far as I’m concerned, it has to do with a deep inner confidence that the life I feel within me is also my source at the same time and that that source is the highest and greatest force on earth. I think my brother-in-law was right. It is like an invisible hand that carries you. Nothing compares to it. That source creates life. As long as we don’t trust it, life can also end with death. Most of us would rather believe in death than in life. At least that is known and understandable. If you believe in death then everything always ends. In Life, things just change like the seasons. But the source of life is eternal and doesn’t change. Life (love and truth) is a rest and movement. (The Gospel Of Thomas, Saying 50)* This rest is not just the rest after a long journey or battle, it’s a rest belonging to the light that comes directly from, straight out of the source. It is the hidden heavenly light that G-d created in the beginning on the first day when he called the light twice: “Let there be light! and there was (it became) light.”(Genesis 1) Some people call it Tao.

Jewish mysticism taught me a lot about that one mysterious creation process of which we are element of. I learned bits and peaces of how it works and I learned how we humans can deal with it. It made me trust the workings of life. Until recently I never celebrated my birthday. I didn’t like life that much. By now I would like friends to sing “long may he live in glory” to me. That is my most important gift.

In the coming period I want to try to provide as many recognizable experiences as possible in a number of blogs so that it becomes clear that it does not have to be out of reach and unattainable for anyone. We all know deep down very well how it works. However, it takes a lot of courage to see the injustice, selfishness and violence of our society as abnormal and to choose an attitude to life that says yes to the mystery.

* (Saying 50) Jesus said:

If they say to you: Whence have you come?,

say to them: We have come from the light, the place where the light came into being of itself. It [established itself], and it revealed itself in our image.

If they say to you: Who are you?, say: We are his sons, and we are the elect of the living Father.

If they ask you: What is the sign of your Father in you?, say to them: It is movement and rest.