Those memories, persons, experiences, which dwell in one’s heart without his being able to say why or how, endure because they have revealed to him some part of himself that he was previously unaware of — a hidden talent perhaps, a sense for beauty, a newfound conviction. Rarely do we discover ourselves from pure reflection, at least not in this modern world of disturbance; but rather, we know ourselves to the extent that we have known other people. It is possible that a poet is born, and not made. But the poet does not realise himself as a poet solely of his own accord; instead his gift is shown to him by the presence of something else— by the divine love of another human, or the enchantment of nature.
The principle service of our relationships therefore is as a reflection into our own personality; that which we praise, admire, or loathe and despise in others is also within ourselves. In every friend and companion we recognise something about them that others are unable to see. This recognition belongs to us; it is within us as potential and unrealised talent. We only truly see those who attract our attention, and we only understand them in relation to what we are; their words are our unspoken thoughts, their personality is manifested by our senses. And thus the energy, people and experiences we receive during the stages of life are reminding us of our true personality.
Companions of the heart bring the greatest of joys in life, and at the same time the sharpest of lessons. This is especially so of romantic relationships, which are the ultimate instance of the energetic exchange — of the union between masculine and feminine — that happens when two people of a similar vibration meet. Often it can seem easier to love someone else than to love oneself. The essence of love is wholeness; it is a spiritual encounter, in which one sees a person as a divine being, as a god. It transcends the material world of imperfection and limitation, and it feels sure of the independency between not just the two lovers, but between all things that belong on earth.
And yet, rarely do these lovers realise that the recognition of the divine in the other is the recognition of the divine in oneself. For there is nobody ‘out there’ but our own reflection; so when you are in conversation with someone, or falling in love with someone, you are actually in contact with some aspect of yourself that you have so far been unable to recognise. No one chooses who they fall in love with, nor who they flourish in friendships with. We might meet a thousand people in our lives, but there will only be a few who influence our character and purpose, and who cooperate in assembling ourselves into an honest individual.
Once we integrate and embody that separated aspect of ourselves, and learn the lessons that need to be learnt, the old energy that attracted us towards certain people and experiences falls away; and it is at this moment when a new energy introduces itself and brings about a new reality. It so often happens that two people who were once in love suddenly find that they no longer have anything meaningful to share with each other. In the moment, it feels as if the flowers had suddenly retreated beneath the soil. The contract between the two has gone, and with it has gone the emotional energy that binds two people under oath in union and marriage.
This is always a terrible realisation, but nonetheless, when it has made itself known, it cannot, however hard one might try, be ignored. Love, friendship, fortune — they are not ours. They do not belong to man. Rather, they are symbols of the higher self, which assist as a source of guidance towards higher consciousness and independence. The purpose of these gifts is not happiness, nor security or comfort, but rather to give us a clear awareness of the Self. Eventually we must give back that which we borrowed from the gods, so that we might receive something greater and breakthrough to the next phase of life. This is not to say, however, that there will be nobody who will stay with us for our lifetime; but this is a rare occurrence, and requires that two people have similar intentions and purposes for their lives.
The cycle of death and rebirth is inescapable; everything received in this life has an end date, and it is our responsibility to be aware of when an energy is in our service, and when it has turned rotten. This is a universal process, and is particularly observable in youth — that period when one undergoes the process of becoming, and is noticeably reborn anew every month and every year, and when the possibilities are so expansive, so endless that it is difficult to feel certain about the particulars of life.
I remember during my adolescent years when I was starting to come into my own and had achieved a degree of independence, and how the old bond between my childhood friends and I was starting to split apart, as I was ascending in a certain direction, and they in their direction — not in any hostile way, but rather it was a unspoken and mutual understanding; for I had never quite fitted in anyway, and it was always likely that I would eventually find my own way elsewhere. I felt ashamed of myself for this; and, for a short time, I endeavoured to preserve their friendship, which had once served a noble purpose, and of which I held many beautiful memories. It would seem I had grown attached to their approval, and I did not know what would become of me if I were to remove myself from them. But I could not ignore the intuition that such relationships had served their time, and that whilst in their presence I felt only a hollow loneliness; that I was unable to be who I truly was, and communicate the things which seemed important to me at that time.
As far as I can tell, this is a common experience, certainly for those introverted souls who delight in thought, and one which accompanies the passage to maturity and adulthood. So, I entered a long period of loneliness, an inevitable consequence of differentiation, and I dedicated myself to the curiosities of my personality; I became a companion to myself, and I discovered the way of creation and art, and of the secrets of books and nature and beauty. My character expanded and my vibration brightened, and I rejoiced in my new-found freedom. Eventually, as it happens, I began to attract new people who met with me at this new frequency, and I did not feel so lonesome anymore. Now I look back upon my solitude as time of awakening, as a rebirth — as a deliberate descent into the unconscious, from where I received mysterious gifts and joys.
Such events and themes in my life are happening as I write, and will happen hereafter for as long as I am alive; death and rebirth belong to every stage of existence. Life is not merely linear, a straight voyage from one destination to another; rather it unfolds as a spiral does, expanding upwards through a labyrinth-like passage which reaches to the original Self. The world rotates around the Sun and brings about a change of seasons in the natural world, each with a different face and mood to the one that came before. Summer passes by, and we mourn our loss. In winter, the leaves of the trees recede into the core so that they might blossom and vibrate during the warmer months. The same is true of man, who rises and falls according to the demands of his nature and his environment. However, if he was to approach the winter as he does the summer, then he will have squandered an entire season; and he will suffer in due time for his negligence.
Nature brings gifts, and at first we receive her with love. And yet when we sense that it is time to return our gifts, to separate from that which was once meaningful, we are hesitant with fear and half-hearted in our thoughts. But if we refuse nature then we will soon discover that our reality has become empty and mean, as we have remained stagnant in a state of affairs which is no longer of any service or education.
Whether we listen to our higher intuition or choose to be stubborn against nature is our decision. The tendency of man is to exaggerate his history and attach himself indefinitely to that which does not belong to him, and which has long ago fulfilled its purpose. But new energies, people, and visions cannot arise into existence if we are still holding onto our old relationships and routines. It is impossible to be in one place and another at the same time.
In my experience the fearful struggle for relationships and occupations which have long since turned sour only causes further sorrow and turmoil; and yet still many of us persist, in spite of our ringing conscience, until eventually our reality becomes so heavy and acidic that we arrive at the point when one can do nothing else but surrender to fate. It is as if nature is so fed up with being refused that she resolves to destroying our delusions entirely, so that we might fall in with the life that is intended for us. This end need not travel so far, if only we learned to trust ourselves. But you see how nature insures herself, and repairs the decay of everything in this world, including the fall of man.
Thank you, Harry J. Stead