"As separate individuals, we live in separate cultures haunted by the vague memory of an intimacy that we all share. Let us, all together, chase the very horizon of existence, the edge of understanding, the point at which new sensations, emotions, thoughts and ideas begin to emerge… and let us bring this intimacy alive." ~Alex Mero
Is love natural? If so, why does it seem there is so much lack of love in the world?
Love is most definitely natural, but our hearts are influenced, and therefore ‘contaminated’ by negative emotions, keeping them closed, and obscuring the truth of love. These negative emotions come about by false needs that are consistently unmet, unrealistic expectations of life that lead to frustrations, and ideals indoctrinated into us by our social environment, ideals which basically go along the line of competition rather than sharing with one another. True love is absent in false needs and meaningless expectations, and most definitely, in conflicting relationships with one another. Love is unconditional and develops naturally and effortlessly in the total surrender of our true being, in accepting and valuing all that is, just as it is…
Violence in the world is the result of the tendency we have to form groups, whether they’re national, religious, racial or otherwise. These groups are founded on imaginary differences, designed to allow more restraint groups to appropriate themselves of power. Defending these differences is the main cause of violence, since each group defines itself according to its accentuated differences.
Triggers for a need of profound personal change, is generally linked to a series of events that provoke a crisis that greatly disrupts our lives. It could be a sudden grave illness, a break-up in a relationship, the loss of a loved one, the uprooting of a profession, or very simply, a meeting with a person of great wisdom. Often these changes appear following states of great worry and suffering. It’s through these painful ordeals that doubts arise, and questions are raised. Therefore, it’s the impact these events have, that helps us become aware of the necessary changes needed to give a new and greater meaning to our lives.
In your novel, there is reverence of a relationship between spiritual partners. Can you describe what constitutes a wholesome and healthy relationship between a man and a woman?
In order for there to be a spiritual relationship, there must be a solid base of love already present between the two partners. Each individual must have the ability for intimacy with himself, and harmony between his inner duality. The couple can than experience a loving life together without need of exerting power over the other, and certainly, above all else, without waiting for the other to fulfill the love in their stead. This relationship than becomes one of healing; a choice to face, head on, one’s pain and emotional wounds, to than elevate and rise above them; to purify oneself.We cannot truly love another without first recognizing one’s own source of suffering. Once this stage is passed, love naturally unfolds through the divine source and enables unconditional love; a love that completely unites the two partners, in all its grandeur and beauty, regardless of the weight and shadows that covered it beforehand. ~Alex Mero
What are your views on fear, and does fear stall our spiritual growth?
Growing spiritually also implies that we encounter, and learn from, the darker side of our nature. Dealing with the darker side, as is the case with fear, can be seen as a “struggle” with the forces that impede our reunification with the great creative force of the universe. As we progress on our spiritual path, we will inevitably come across fear and other negative energies, but these inhibitory, and sometimes, destructive forces, have a major role within the universal order. Once we learn to conquer them, we become more aware of our specific gifts and talents. Everything is energy, and what we perceive as destructive forces, are also a form of energy, and as with all energies, they can be used both in a constructive and destructive manner. If we allow ourselves to observe with a quiet and curious mind, rather than allowing ourselves to be over-taken with the negative emotions these darker forces can bring out, then these forces become useful and a learning tool for our spiritual growth.
It’s touching and wonderful how you write about people with disabilities. Why are people born with disabilities?
Everyone is born with a form, and knows then, by definition, physical and mental limitations. The perception of these limitations is individual and depends on the way each person experiences them. In general we can say that the will to surpass these limitations allows us to develop our consciousness. Certain limitations can be overcome physically, and others not, but all limitations can be overcome within oneself; not by fighting them, but by accepting them. When we accept all our limitations, something unique emerges; something which had it been conceived differently, would never have come to be.
“Pain is indeed indispensable to our personal development because it teaches us to make a distinction between our feelings.”
“So we are obliged to suffer?” Nathan asked.
“You talked about pain and not suffering…” Songo said.
Nathan was surprised with this statement.
“Are they not the same?”
“Pain is a guide that indicates a lack of harmony and balance, in search of healing.” Songo replied.
“What is suffering than?” Nathan asked.
“Suffering is a conscious state caused by the emotional need to avoid pain. If we truly understood the nature of pain, suffering would not exist.” Songo explained.
What many people call pain, is really an emotional state called suffering. Pain is physical, a neurological response, caused by trauma or a disequilibrium in the body’s natural state. Suffering is an emotion, and it could be in response to pain or to many other things in life. Suffering is actually a choice. There are many people who live with physical pain all their lives because nothing has been found to correct the cause of the pain, but they don’t necessarily suffer. Their attitude and will power makes the difference. They are aware of the pain, but they’re determined to live full lives and not be consumed by the pain, and in this way, there is little or no suffering. There are those that have no physical pain but claim to have pain over life events, but this is self-inflicted suffering. There also those who do manifest physical pain as a result of emotional or mental suffering, such as in extreme stress or depression. It is important to understand the difference because one is a choice, although usually subconscious, and the other indicates a need to correct an unbalance in the body.
Nathan was shocked by what met his eyes! Mud had completely invaded the streets and the cars could barely circulate. Everywhere people implored for help, the look of despair clearly visible on their faces, and the feel of fear and anguish distinctly palpable in the air.
At various times, the taxi driver was forced to stop the car, and Nathan with his heart clenched tight from all the misery he was seeing, asked Simon:
“Why is nature so cruel sometimes? It’s absurd!”
“It is not so much that nature is cruel that it’s absurd in as much as the need for its purpose!” replied Simon.
“What sense could all this have?” Nathan asked, trying to understand Simon’s reasoning.
“Like with any other catastrophe, it’s about the change that it will bring.”
“What change?” asked Nathan, now with curiosity.
“Whenever there are disasters, people have the possibility to develop qualities like courage, compassion, and their capacity to put things into perspective.”
The taxi started moving again. Nathan had difficulty seeing things the way Simon did.
“Can’t we do anything to help them?” he asked.
“Not for the moment, no.” replied Simon.
“Isn’t it precisely now that they need our help? Nathan insisted.
“It is in the calm and in the silence that follows a disaster that each person can then account and focus on what they need to learn.”
I see nature as a living entity, responding to the stimuli around it. It’s also an ever-changing entity, evolving just as we are… There are reasons and purposes for everything, and there’s also likely a bigger “plan” in this seemingly chaotic world. What can’t be learned the easy way, is taught the hard way. How true it is that it’s in moments of great disasters that people are reminded of the human basic qualities of the heart: love, togetherness, assistance, compassion, courage, respect, etc…
“He is gone, and he has left me with the worst despair.” Simon said with great pain in his voice.
“No, if he had died your sorrow would be much greater.” said Nathan.
“It is better to lose something beautiful then never to have had it. If he had been honest and had died, at least I would have kept beautiful memories…” said Simon sadly.
“But your beautiful memories… no one can take them away?”
“The past is now covered with a cloud of sadness… The day we doubt a person’s honesty we can’t help but see all the moments in the past with that person with a different eye.” replied Simon, “Believe me, Nathan, betrayal by your own child is more painful than having lost him.”
“Can you forgive him?” asked Nathan.
“Right now, I can only see him with different eyes…” answered Simon.
“What can he do to change that?”
“He would have to be sincerely remorseful for what he did.” replied Simon.
“How do we know when a person is expressing sincere remorse?” asked Nathan.
“Only by their actions.” answered Simon.
“And how do we recognize the sincerity in actions?” continued Nathan.
“Only with time!” affirmed Simon.
Nathan tried to analyze the situation as best as possible.
“I tend to think that you have been too good to your son.”
Simon looked at Nathan.
“Do you really think I was too good to him?”
“It’s your only mistake possible, if we can call it a mistake.” said Nathan.
Simon lifted his eyes and said:
“There’s an old proverb that says that if, because of our goodness, we have never been deceived, it’s because we have never been too good.”
I can understand the devastation the father in this story feels towards his son. Probably one of life’s greatest pains is the dishonesty and deceit of those we love, simply because we start questioning if we ever really knew that person to begin with. And just as this father said, you start questioning all the memories, all the deeds, words, etc of that person in the past. It “poisons” them. But one CAN forgive, even if the other person never changes or makes amends. Forgiveness is from within, it’s an individual thing, and has very little to do with the other person. It’s an acceptance of something that cannot be changed and a release of the pressure or energy that’s poisoning YOU. Everyone has their own path in life, and some sway from the right path more then others, but having an understanding and compassion towards the other, even if they hurt you, is living from the heart, and is liberating to you. Acceptance without expectancy. This does not mean you should keep the other person in your life, however.
Do we subconsciously choose our misfortunes and setbacks?
We all experience difficulties in our lives, and many of us experience major setbacks at any given moment, but what is important is how we respond or react to these challenges. Our response to these challenges is what forms our character. How we resolve problems is determinative, in a large part, by the people around us and the situations we face.