by Susan Scharfman
We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses, and it ain’t names. And it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars … everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that ‘something’ has to do with human beings.
—The Stage Manager from Act 3 of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town.”
Looking For Mr. and Mrs. Right
On Oprah Winfrey’s website there was an article about relationships called “Looking For Love” by Colette Bouchez. The author discussed how even when young beautiful women marry the men of their dreams—wealthy successful men who give them everything they can possibly want, it doesn’t prevent marriages from ending in divorce. And the divorce rates continue to rise. People think they know what they want. But maybe they are looking for it in the wrong places. In her article Bouchez quotes Psychologist Dennis Sugrue, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School.
“If you are looking for a partner to make you feel worthwhile, to make you feel happy, to rescue you from a bored or unhappy life, if you are seeking someone to make you feel complete or whole—well then you have some work to do, because these are needs that are never going to be met by any one other than yourself. To put those demands on someone else is to set up yourself, and the relationship for failure.”
Recalling last summer’s political mob scenes, can you imagine how impossible it would be to rage against people who are not preoccupied with being right? There really are folks who can disagree on any number of things and still love each other—madly. This is no more evident than in those opposite Washington politicos married to each other, James Carville and Mary Matalin. They repeatedly admit their core values are the same. Yet publicly, they have strong influential opposing views on how the country should be run and who should run it.
That “eternal something” to which playwright Thornton Wilder refers, exists in every human being, in all that man has created, and in all of creation down to the tiniest atomic particle. Call it what you like—consciousness, awareness, presence, stillness. But when we’re not in touch with our essence, we act from limited consciousness. Oceans and temperatures rising, freakish storms and multiple earthquakes; animal species disappearing, the insanity of never ending human conflict and war. The question is not who’s to blame for the state of world consciousness, but who’s going to fix it and how?
Lights, Camera, Africa!
When I worked in Africa years ago, I never locked my door. I wandered around one of that continent’s darkest cities at the time, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where hyenas roamed unlit streets at night. A strange character we called the Hyena Man would lure the creatures out of town with his flute. In Nairobi, Kenya I’d leave the embassy at 5 o’clock, jump in a Land Rover and be in the game reserve around the time the lions were on the move. That world has vanished, animals and the people who tried to protect them, destroyed by selfishness and greed.
“Wildflower, An Extraordinary Life and Untimely Death in Africa” by Mark Seal is a beautifully told biography of Joan Thorpe Root, a white Kenyan-born woman married to adventurer-photographer Alan Root, during the many years they produced spectacular Oscar winning wildlife documentaries. A relentless conservationist, Joan Root was more comfortable with animals than people. Like naturalists Dian Fossey and Joy Adamson, Joan was murdered trying to protect the thing she loved most, Lake Naivasha where she lived. When I knew the place it teemed with life. It is now dead.
Being Aware of The Silence, Living in Presence
The planet survives or it doesn’t, depending on humans waking up, knowing that they are not different from one another, that they are not separate from one another, that the silence in the African bush is the same silence within all humans. The Divine Love that created the stars that look down like diamonds out of the black Saharan night is the same Divine Love that created everything in the universe.
The realization of that simple fact requires less thoughts (mental noise) and more stillness. Great numbers of people are already living in advanced states of consciousness, or are in the process of realizing their full potential right now. Their voices, their writings are everywhere on bookshelves and on the Web. You know some of them by their fame; others may live next door to you. People know them by how good they feel in their company; they tend to hug a lot. Maybe you’re one of them. If so, your light and love is bringing about a global shift in the evolution of humanity and the realization that every human being is Divine Eternal Universal Consciousness.
When Henry David Thoreau went to live near Walden Pond in Massachusetts, he said it was only partly for spiritual reasons, and that he did not set out to live as a hermit. But the fact remains, when you are immersed in the natural world, with no one to engage in constant chatter, you can’t help but be aware of the stillness and the aliveness within you, and in everything around you. That is who you are. Living in presence makes it impossible to harm another soul. The sooner we realize this the more we contribute to the birth of universal humanity.
Susan Scharfman is a former Foreign Service officer whose career with the U.S. State Department and Agency for International Development embodied service at overseas embassies within Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as the Washington, D.C. press office. In the private sector Susan is a novelist and Winner of a 75th Annual Writer’s Digest Memoir Award. Now a non-fiction freelance writer, her website is www.susanscharfman.com,