When I was 9 years old I went to my First Communion. When Jesus’ body melted on my tongue I felt how I became one with him, I was in ecstasy. Not so long after that the devil talk of our chaplain chased the church out of my heart. I became a Marxist, then an Existentialist. Not much spiritual consolation in Marxism or Existentialism, so I found Buddhism.
Today I just really do not know. I do not know if I can call myself a Buddhist. I work with a man, who believes that when we die our glorious transformation will finally occur. I have listened to people, who died clinically and returned and went through the tunnel and the light and afterwards changed their lives profoundly. Maybe these are just the last illusions of a dying brain. Maybe there is God and a transformation. I do not know. I read Irvin Yalom and he says: there is nothing when you die. I really do not know. I want to believe this, then I believe the opposite, sometimes it changes several times a day.
The taxi drivers, who drive me every day, tell me their stories. Most of them have been terrible drunks. Then they found God in some evangelical Church. I used to hate these missionaries breaking up traditional society. I do not hate them anymore, because all these men have found love for themselves and their families by finding this or that church and God.
Pema Chödrön says that you can easily find out if your spiritual path is good or not: if whatever you chose as your path makes you more loving, then that is a good path.
I know people, who do not have a spiritual path, they are just humanists, or not even that, they are just loving. My father was like that.
Today I believe in love. It is the only thing we have to go through this valley of tears. Nobody knows if something is waiting for us once we are cold and stiff. But, I guess, we can face even that if we feel love.
Most of my life I have been confused about love. I have confused it to a huge degree with romantic love, sexual desire and dependency, because I feared to be alone. Love comes in so many different forms. You can love any person, animal, a flower, a poem. Love can be there for a moment and it fills your heart and then it is gone and that was just enough or love can last. Love is a free bird, if you put it in a cage, it dies... (Did Jacques Prevert write a poem about that?)
When I sit in therapy I find myself in nearly every single person that sits in front of me, if he or she opens his or her heart. I know it all. I have felt desperate so many times, I have wanted to kill myself, and I have felt fat and ugly and useless. I have felt addicted, worthless, capable, proud, unforgiving, and furious and filled with panic of the unknown. I have been envious and jealous. I have wished people bad luck and even dead. I find myself in everyone.
And then LOVE happens. Maybe this is the purest love I know. I do not want anything from that person in front of me; just listen to the deepest murmurs of his or her heart. I might never see them again, it is of no importance. They might change after this session or keep committing the same mistakes. I do not care. In this moment I just love him or her for being, who they are, for letting me in, for showing me myself.
With my loved ones around me I usually always carry some expectations towards them, often very hidden. With the person, who comes for a therapy session I do not. We are so very close together just for this session. Somehow it heals us both a little bit. It is not what I say; it is just listening with an open heart.
We can also listen to ourselves this way.
Maybe that is all we ever need.
Art by Kiki (Love Finds Its Way)