Take a Risk on Life
By Timothy Freke
A friend of mine told me a lovely story about having a conversation with an inspiring elderly lady. At the end of their time together he said his goodbyes and added 'Take care.' But the lady smiled and replied 'No ... take a risk!'
I enjoyed this remark immensely because it is so life affirming. I want to take a risk on life. I'm not going to be here forever. If I don't go for my life now, when will I?
What happens if we 'take a risk'? Not a stupid, irresponsible risk. But a wise and courageous risk. What happens if we refused to be ruled by fear and set forth on the adventure of life, determined to make the most of the precious time we have?
Life is amazing but can also be very cruel. There are good reasons to be hopeful and good reasons to be fearful. Both play a role in helping us live well. We need to sometimes be cautious and prepare for the worst. But let's err on the side of hope ... because that is what pushes us forward rather than pulling us back.
To never feel fear would be impossible and undesirable. Lack of caution isn't courage, it is foolhardiness and leads to disaster. Yet, as we spiritually awaken and discover the reality of the deep self, there is a profound sense that 'all is well' despite appearances. There is an irrepressible confidence in the essential goodness of life.
When we 'deep know' this primal goodness, the fear doesn't disappear, because our humanity remains as vulnerable as ever. Yet there is an authentic faith that mitigates our reasonable fears, so that we can act from hope.
We can be conscious of the essential safety of the deep self whilst also embracing our human vulnerability. Then we are able both to fear and not to fear. And this is the experience of courage.
You know, there is an awful lot of suffering when we’re caught up in separateness. When we just think we’re the separate self, there is a kind of what I call the SOS. The ‘suffering of separateness.’ It’s very a very lonely place to be. There is a lot of pain, isolation, fear. All those things which we all know too well. And when you come into this lucid state, when we risk being courageous and connect fully with life, it’s like life is still life, with all of its polarities. It’s like this all embracing love which loves it as it is and to have that, it fulfills the joy and mitigates the suffering. You’re in a place where you can feel alive. You don’t have to become numb. You don’t have to back off from life. You can actually dare to live.
It’s this ability to enter in, ironically, from knowing the deep self which isn’t in at all – which is actually outside of life, which like a dreamer is outside the dream. So you see that paradox and when you get that paradox, it’s what I call enlivenment. You come to life. You remember you’re alive. When you become more conscious, there is a great sense of liberation and the ability to engage with the unfolding drama.
When we become deep awake it is an experience of deep love. This awakening can happen in a moment. Yet to learn how to live from love takes a lifetime. The process of acquiring the wisdom to negotiate the paradox of being separate and not-separate is continual. We need to find a fresh response to each new challenge. And it is through this process that we evolve as conscious individuals.
Deep love is an experience of the limitless. Wisdom is learning how to live within the limits of separateness. What a wonderful dance!
Also: Read an introduction to the philosophy of Timothy Freke
in the article The Wheel of Life
by Peter Shepherd.