What About Love?

Photograph © 2020 Peggy Kornegger
“How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?”
—Jonathan Larson

Your mind can’t comprehend it, and your heart can’t absorb it: Sudden death—and the fear, pain, and anger that accompany it. Yet another African American man, George Floyd, murdered by a white police officer. Hundreds of thousands of lives cut short by a virulent worldwide virus. In the U.S. and internationally, thousands protest in the streets against years and years of racism, violence, and injustice. As COVID-19 circles the globe, people lose relatives and friends, their jobs and homes; immigrants are again targeted and blamed. Grief. Anger. Is this how life is going to be from now on? It is unless we make the conscious choice to change it. It is until we see our neighbors as ourselves.

We are at a turning point in this country and in the world. Our direction will determine our future. Will we repeat the fatal mistakes of the past, continuing to exist in a polarized “reality” of hatred and mistrust, separation and fear, every stranger a potential enemy, our green planet dying right along with us? Or will we wake up in the midst of this nightmare and recognize the madness for what it is: inner pain externalized. The idea of “other” arising out of a distorted desire to feel “better than.” Can we salvage something livable from this brokenness? Is it possible for humanity to learn how to value life again? And what about love?

We have that love within us. We were born with it. Look in a newborn baby’s eyes and you see only possibility, only love. Children have to be taught how to fear and hate. Can we erase the programming and start afresh? The coronavirus stopped the world in its tracks. In the absence of “things as usual,” the skies began to clear, and new ways to live were born out of compassion and kindness. Still, racism and attitudes about “difference” remained. Now is the moment of truth. Let’s not fall backward into old patterns of divisiveness and “otherdom.” Disagreements about wearing face masks that end up in physical fights, racial hatred that ends up in murder. We can choose differently. We can value the lives of every being on this planet. We can open our hearts in love instead of close them in mistrust and fear.

What will it take, you ask. Seems impossible. But the world we are currently inhabiting is just about as “impossible” as it gets. And that is becoming obvious to more and more people. An awakening is happening on this planet. Humanity is breaking through to the other side of hundreds of years of internalized and external separation. The concept of “other” is being shown in all its distortions so that we can at last see it for what it is—a prison that we are all entrapped in. As we awaken more and more, we begin to see ourselves in every person. What happens to you is simultaneously happening to me. The universal point of view suddenly opens up, and we recognize that separation is an illusion of the mind; at the heart level, we are inseparable. Oneness is not a concept, an unreachable ideal. It is the truth of our existence. There is no “other”; there is only the energy of love out of which we were all born and within which we always dwell.

Love is the awakening. Love is waking up to itself in everyone. Choose it every day in every way and transform the planet. Love everyone. Break through preconceptions and stereotypes (race, gender, age), opinions and beliefs, judgments and arguments. End the war inside you and live in peace with everyone. Allow your heart to guide you. Love every single person you encounter as you would a newborn, and love yourself as well. There is no way to “measure a life,” for life is immeasurable, unfathomable. It is a miracle of love and light that we are blessed to experience. Let that awareness fully awaken within you, and your life and the lives of all those around you will transform immediately. That is why you came to this planet at this time, to be part of an awakening. To open your heart to love even when you are facing a wall of seemingly solid opposition. Keep loving courageously, and the walls will eventually fall, the opposition dissolve. The awakening is in you and me and all of us. Our collective love and compassion are more powerful than “impossibility.”

 

The Last Attachment

Photograph © 2020 Peggy Kornegger
In the course of our lives, human beings form attachments to events, people, memories, feelings, beliefs, experiences, physical objects, and much more. If we choose at some point to follow a spiritual path, we learn, sometimes quite painfully, to see the impermanence of everything and to let go of many of those attachments. One of our strongest attachments is to the personality we have constructed over the years and the stories we tell ourselves about our lives. Lives that are in reality ephemeral and transitory—a truth never more poignantly visible than in the past few months as humanity confronts death on a daily basis because of the coronavirus. We are taking a collective crash course in letting go—of everything.

The very last attachment in life is to our physical form. It keeps us tethered to Earth and if held onto too tightly may prevent us from experiencing the seamless connection between the physical and the spiritual. Between humanity and divinity. However, when you step into the free formlessness of the soul, of living with and within God, you begin to flow with life and eventually let go of hanging on so desperately to your physicality. This may happen fully only at your death, but if you are fortunate, you may experience it in life as you open to the greater wisdom of nonattachment.

Over the past year, I have faced the unexpected early deaths of several good friends. Such losses seem to increase as the years pass, and we look at our selves and our lives with a new awareness of the fleeting nature of time. In childhood, we have a whole life of endless days and nights ahead of us. As we grow older, the days appear to shorten and the years pass more quickly. In counterpoint, our bodies slow down, and we realize there is no reason to rush through the days and years. This is precious wisdom, moving us gradually to releasing attachment to time and physicality. But now that process has been accelerated for everyone. When people are dying by the thousands everywhere on the planet, there is no time for gradual acceptance. The last attachment is front and center all the time.

How do you navigate that awareness so that it infuses your life with wisdom and not suffering? How do you come to accept the deaths of loved ones and/or your own eventual death? Perhaps this global acceleration has been given to humanity to help us to face all of life’s beginnings and endings with peace instead of panic. To fully realize the preciousness of each moment and live from love and acceptance rather than judgment and attempts at control. We are here on Earth in physical form for a split second in time. Yet our nonphysical souls live forever in eternity. If you open to connecting to that soulful presence within (through whatever spiritual practices resonate with you), you access a timeless inner peace that is not attached to your body. That experience can sustain you through life’s most challenging moments.

When you begin to see everything from your soul’s perspective, moments of peaceful connection can multiply and become continuous. Much of the suffering that arises from attachment to a fixed predictable “reality” will gradually dissolve, and you can be more allowing of life, even in times of crisis. Maybe the entire world is now learning to accept the process of living and dying as part of a greater spiritual unfolding in the universe. Our physical form is just a temporary costume. In truth, life at its very core, you at your very core, are Spirit, which is eternal. When you are no longer so “attached” to external physicality, you begin to experience that inner loving connection as a constant companion.

 

Soul Agreements

Photograph © 2020 Peggy Kornegger
We each come into our human lifetimes with an individual soul plan, which we then forget at birth. God, however, remembers, and God’s presence as the soul continuously reminds us of that plan. What may seem like a complete falling apart of everything in your life is really only a divine rerouting to keep you on course for what you agreed to experience, and expand with, before you incarnated. Your soul always remembers. When you begin to live consciously as your soul, you won’t feel so blindsided by life events. At the highest and deepest levels, everything is unfolding as it is meant to.

In addition to individual soul agreements, there are also collective soul agreements—for families and friends, for social groups, for countries, and for all of humanity. We are in the midst of a very powerful one right now on this planet. We humans had lost our reciprocal, caring relationship with the Earth, so much so that a massive cease-and-desist order went out in the cosmos. The coronavirus put the entire world in a timeout. And just in time. Mother Nature, our deepest connection to planetary life has been slowly dying, slipping away more and more dramatically before our unseeing eyes.

Now, as businesses, industry, transportation, and entire countries partially or completely shut down to prevent the further spread of the virus, we are beginning to see changes on the planet. Reports and photos of clear skies and waters are circulating on the Internet. People can see mountains in the distance and fish in the sea. They can hear birds sing in the stillness. They hear the silence within them for the first time in their lives. All of this was part of our collective and individual soul agreements: to awaken in the midst of planetary crisis to the wonders of the world and remember our connection to each other and to God. To remember why we were born.

Still, hundreds of thousands of people around the world are suffering and dying. In the worst cases, individuals need respirators because they have difficulty breathing, an eerie and heartbreaking reflection of what life is like on a polluted planet. But the Earth has now shown us that if we step away from “business as usual,” the air and waters can clear. We need to continue that recovery process so we can live in harmony with, and connection to, the Earth and all the people who live here. This is our collective soul agreement. This is our sacred responsibility: to restore balance everywhere, in our communities, in our homes, and in our hearts, so that as a species we can breathe again.

Each of us was born to be part of this huge planetary shift, the culmination of thousands of years of evolving, in incarnation after incarnation. Our individual soul agreements are bringing us together to contribute to a global transformation and the realization of our essential oneness. How do we each contribute? First and foremost, with love in our hearts. We all have particular gifts that we came into this life to lovingly share. Compassion and kindness will guide us as we move forward into an unknown and continually changing future.

Uncertainty is our friend. When we surrender to the fact that we don’t know all the answers yet and trust in the perfection of the process, then everything will begin to flow. Each step, each choice, individual and collective, will arise from how our souls see the world: as one consciousness living in many uniquely beautiful forms. Division and separation will be replaced by community and collaboration. One Earth arising from one Heart. Two words, same letters—the synchronicity of oneness.

 

Living Peace, Allowing Grief

Photograph © 2020 Peggy Kornegger
Yesterday just before sunrise I was overwhelmed by feelings of sadness, grief, and mourning. Tears streamed down my face. The unfathomable loss of life around the world from the coronavirus hit me like an avalanche. The number of cases is continuing to rise here in Florida and throughout the U.S. My thoughts turned to Boston friends who had died of cancer in the last year and the trip home to Massachusetts in May that Anne and I had to cancel. My own and the world’s sorrow and pain rushed through my body in waves as I wept. Gradually, after a time, it subsided, tear by tear, and I sat quietly in the half-darkness, breathing in the silence. The sky began to lighten. Then, as if in answer to my heart’s call for comfort, a mockingbird began to sing its morning song, a medley of every possible birdcall it had ever heard. My heart lifted, as it always does when I hear a mockingbird.

This is how life works. You fall head first into grief, your heart cracks open, and through that crack, grace enters: a birdsong or a sunrise, the comforting words of a friend or the kindness of a stranger. Grace takes many forms, but it always brings us back to the peace at our core, our soul’s presence. I realized that even as I wept in pain and sadness, I had not lost the feeling of inner peace that has been with me since the beginning of the year, an ongoing connection to something greater. Growing awareness of the peace that lives within us will be our greatest strength in these times of huge planetary change. We are learning to let go of the known and trust in something beyond knowing.

My own years of spiritual exploration and questioning have at last settled into trust in a universal Presence (or God) that holds the Earth in its loving embrace. We—meaning humanity—are going through a tremendous shift and rebalancing on this planet. It is a release of inharmonious old patterns, an opening into greater awareness, and ultimately a coming together in oneness. It may not look like it on the surface, but I feel that is what is happening. All of my adult life I have believed in such a shift, foreseen by elders and masters in many traditions and cultures. That vision has inspired and sustained me through the years. Now it is occurring, more and more powerfully.

This paradigm shift is not pretty, a gift tied up with sparkly wrapping paper and bows. It is messy and painful, as all birth is. Fear and anger come up, as well as mourning the end of a familiar but worn-out way of life. In the midst of all those emotions, something new is being born on this planet, and we are all part of the process, midwives and newborns, angels and human beings. What appears to be chaos, conflict, and a shattered world weighed down by suffering is actually the shedding of an old skin and a restrictive structure that has been killing our spirits instead of uplifting them. In the ruins of the current paradigm based in top/down exclusion, a new one is arising that is centered in circular process and inclusion. Humanity is rediscovering its collective soul through the experiences and expanding consciousness of every single courageous one of us.

A cause for celebration, yes. Still, there is sadness, loss. Life on Earth, even in a new, more open and compassionate world, is never just one thing. A utopian vision must include the full spectrum of human emotion and being. We came to this planet, God incarnated in form through us, to experience it all. When we accept that—the sorrow and the gladness, the breaking and the healing of our hearts—we can then hold within us both grief and deep peace. The grief is human; the peace is divine. If we live life fully connected to our souls, peace and calm never leave us, even as the tears flow. In full acceptance of all that we feel and all of life as it is unfolding, we can experience that peace and live it in the world. It is who we are and why we are here.

Look Out for One Another

Photograph © 2020 Peggy Kornegger
There is so much fear ricocheting around the globe now. Fear of the deadly coronavirus and fear of disease and dying. Basically, fear of survival. This survival-based fear is embedded deep in our cellular memory as a species on this planet; it is a powerful force affecting everyone. Our collective consciousness holds the emotional residue of every event—wars, famine, pandemics, natural and man-made disasters, etc.—and all that is coming up to be released so that we can reach a new planetary balance. Mostly we aren’t aware of the rebalancing yet, but it is happening. As the virus spreads, we feel both present and cumulative fear, as well as other strong emotions like sadness, anger, or panic.

You can see it in the frightened individuals fleeing epicenters of COVID-19 like New York to other locations—and in the angry reactions of residents in those places who resent their coming (and perhaps bringing the virus with them). Issues of money and privilege come up. In crowded cities where people often struggle to survive every day, the choice of leaving does not exist for most. In such times as these, adequate health care also becomes a huge concern. Countless courageous individuals in this field are stretched to the limit. People are angry at government delays in issuing stay-at-home mandates (Florida finally institutes one today), jeopardizing human lives for business and political interests. This virus points up all those disparities. Who lives, and who dies?

We as a people shouldn’t have to reach that point. We are in the process of awakening to our common destiny and our common survival. Alone and separate, we are diminished and disconnected; together, we survive and thrive. The unspoken belief that you can somehow outrun or outwit death is an illusion. If your time is up on this planet, it doesn’t matter where you are or what you own. So, then, what really matters in the course of a lifetime is how much you have loved and cared for others. Are you living with empathy and compassion, or are you driven by fear or self-interest?

This virus is making us face ourselves, face how we are living our lives. It becomes raw and challenging, but in that uncomfortable mix is the opportunity to awaken to who each of us really is at our core, which is a sensitive soul. Beneath the fear, anger, and defensiveness is something tender and vulnerable: the human spirit. It takes courage to peel off all the protective layers and admit that you are no different than every other human being. You are born and you die. What happens in between is the gift, the key, the opportunity for shared experience and oneness. Even in pain, even in fear. There are held-back tears within you. Cry them. Because when you do, your heart will open, and you will see that you are surrounded by family everywhere. Have the courage to feel compassion for every person who crosses your path. You may not realize it, but that is why you came to this planet: to feel with others, to offer comfort and protection. To look out for one another.

On my walk this morning, I came across four ducks standing still in the middle of the road. I stopped and watched them to see why they were there. One smaller, younger duck was in the middle, and the other three were facing outward in a protective circle. As the smaller one began to move, the others adjusted themselves, always keeping watch in a wide circle around it. Slowly, they moved off down the road and disappeared into the bushes. I felt as if I had been given a beautiful gift from the natural world, a vivid example of how we humans could live together harmoniously. We are all children of Mother Nature. We are all vulnerable and in need of protection and care at one time or another. Now is one of those times. May we encircle and protect one another in our vulnerability and fear. May we have the courage to live every day of our lives with compassion.