To lose the earth you know, for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for greater life; to lose the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth.
Thomas Wolfe, “You can’t go home again”
It might not be grammatically correct, but I love this quote by Thomas Wolfe. It’s just that I’m not sure I know what to say about it. I don’t want to sound too predictable, that is, inventing the obvious and being very rational about it all as I attempt to delve into the mystery of the words and their structure. There is you, of course, and what you might induce from my writing, which is inevitable and I can’t change that. And though I haven’t read the book, the author is, after all, a bit dense and it’s not an easy read; I’m sure there must be some deep psychological study or symbolism that the author is highlighting.
Back to my own reasons for writing, and it is very much autobiographical. I find myself reliving histories that I seem incapable of learning from. They are about relationships where you have put your heart and soul into them with the conviction that they are forever, and then you find out that they are not.
Looking within, it could be that I don’t know how to sustain love. That the hopes I held onto for the experience of eternity were not realistic. I am, after all, human and filled with so many contradictions. It was as if I said, “I want you to understand me but I am unable to understand all the subtleties and nuances that make up you.” Isn’t that maybe the reason behind our sense of victimhood, where it’s easy to cast blame away from ourselves? It must be the reason so many marriages fail, so many partnerships end up in dissolution. Our search for love and understanding in life is conditioned upon our ability to freely give of our emotional capacity, yet, aren’t we needy ourselves and inevitably find ourselves crying out, “I am here too.”
Perhaps, it is just us showing the world that we are not as composed and secure in who we are as we once thought we were.
If I could stand the strict scrutiny of looking at the events of my life; I’d avoid saying, “Why me?” And move into a more self-effacing look at life and say; there have been marriages that have failed and business partnerships that have gone south as they say; and a tendency to believe and follow others when I should have been able to listen to my own council but couldn’t or didn’t, and now find myself trying to learn the same or slightly different lessons again.
So, as you might guess, I’m talking about the ups and downs of life, the mountains and the valleys you must pass through on your journey towards greater understanding. Did you ever wonder why you seem to attract so many seemingly earth-shattering events or lessons that test your stamina and ability to resist, and your ability to lift yourself up again. Once-upon-a-time, someone said, “You attract to yourself what you most need to learn,” and that must mean my learning is never over. Is it that I have to learn so much more? It can’t be an exercise in comparison with you, for that would be futile and missing the point, but I can’t help thinking to myself that I am in the mood for something easier where life tends to flow and I am in greater harmony. I hate to put it out there that this “easy part” might not be my karma.
…the “new socratics” is not so much a search for absolute truths and certainty, as it is a quest for honesty.
Christopher Phillips, “Socrates Cafe”
I, therefore, content myself with the notion that I am here on this earth to gain greater knowing and to hope for greater honesty with myself.
Where will this perpetual lifelong study take me? Is it about faith and the inherent good in all of us? Is it about my own recuperative powers, especially in these dark and challenging times? Can I look towards a brighter tomorrow? I choose to think so. For somewhere in the depth of my being, I believe in me. And in that opening, I welcome what may come…the many more lessons for I don’t presume them to be over since I’m still alive; and the learning I’ll be able to embrace. Whew! So incredible and daunting the task all at the same time.
Is the “losing” Thomas Wolfe talks about really about deep psychological loss or rather an awakening of sorts to something greater, more promising and rewarding? He talks about leaving behind what you know for greater knowing. Perhaps, to let go of what you know – the psychological burdens of what has been your experience up to now – and touch what you do not know. Touch more of the earth, more of life itself; and let your own hand reach out to touch those hands waiting to touch yours. It could be enough to change everything for you and allow you to see this earth differently.
As I think about his next imperative and what I may say about it, I’m sure the author may have been in his own self-induced euphoria and had other intentions, or maybe not. But I am lost in my own musings of what he might have meant. Wouldn’t it be nice if his world coincided with mine; yours with mine?
Yet loss of life and friends is too monumental to consider, even if there is something better waiting on the other side. The change too radical for most of us. In my own life, it seems to me that these changes of new life and new love, are thrust upon you like surviving a tsunami. It means, most of the time, it is a force of nature that asks us to change.
Could it be possible that what happens to us is somehow imbedded in our genetic code and therefore we might be programmed for greater knowing, greater life and greater loving. If you have worked on these themes before, given thought when you wanted to run away and escape, then you probably are in reality one of the lucky ones on the planet. Someone who is on the path to self-discovery and to solve the mysteries that have confounded mankind forever – to live in harmony with his or her surroundings including both the personal and natural worlds.
So give me the larger earth to roam in. Let me taste its freedom. Gone are the shackles of the past – the encumbrances and the impediments. Let it be a kinder earth that I inherit and respects more who we are and what we have been given to be happy. With the growing years, we can gain something in wisdom that was missing before. In the end, there weren’t enough years yet to bring us here.
So, if you find yourself at a crossroad similar to mine, I think we can compare notes and find we are remarkably the same in so many ways. It’s comforting to tell yourself that and I think it is true. We are not alone. What you are going through; I am going through in my own way. The message must be for us to reach out to one another and create a kinder earth in which to inhabit.