“I am a part of all that I have met” (Tennyson, “Ulysses”).
Deep down, what do we want out of life? No, that is the wrong question. Deepest down, why did we come here? That’s better.
We didn’t come here to be a banker or grocer or salesperson or CFO or a drug abuser or dealer. We came here to experience a mortal existence that would allow Spirit embodied in us to experience physical creation. We find ways to do so by connecting. Our human characteristics and circumstances make us wonderfully unique, and because of that, different people, places, things, and philosophies resonate with us.
Those draw us, and we seek connection with those. We came to connect in significant, fulfilling ways that matter to others. Integrative connections. What we really want is to be a part of all that we meet.
To process life, we come equipped with two operating systems: Ego and Heart. Ego is required for physical, mortal survival. Heart is required for the deepest down concerns of life, the ones we should be exploring every day. Why? Because that’s where significance and happiness are found—and love. Never forget love, because we want to be a part of all that we meet.
Tennyson explores this in his poem “Ulysses.” He’s an example of seeking connections in his life by writing his poetry. And in this poem, he illustrates his personal truth through the character of Ulysses, who many also know as Odysseus.
Ulysses is a leader and warrior. However, the associated roles and qualities were only means to live his true nature of an explorer and discoverer who knew he had to continue living his truth if his life would have any meaning, significance, fulfillment, thrill, joy, peace, or love. He asked the deep questions and accessed the best energy source, Heart, to search his own being.
He sums up his life of the past when he says, “I am a part of all that I have met.” Then, he considers himself in his current situation and evaluates his life.
He knows his purpose: to travel, explore, and discover. When he neglects his Heart, even though being a king and doing what most consider noble work, he realizes that he will “rust unburnish’d” and that he will “not shine in use!”
Do you and I have a sure knowledge of our purpose, sure enough to know that we are wasting away, rusting, and dull when we aren’t walking in that positive energy?
Ulysses speaks of himself, but his words register with those of us awakening to Heart, to highest Self. Although he is famous and loyal and a model for his people, if he is not engaged in his purpose, everyone else’s opinions of him do not sway him or encourage him. Ulysses gives his estimation of his privileged life. It’s not “I’m a king and important and wealthy.”
No, he sums it up by saying, “As though to breathe were life.” It’s not. Ego would have us simply exist, draw breath, find no challenge, thrill, intimacies, connections, or true love — only be safe and secure. Ulysses says that’s bullshit.
He’s old and knows it, but he intends to walk in his purpose, live it, and die doing it. Even in his last years, he plans on discovering new things and “to follow knowledge like a sinking star, / Beyond the utmost bond of human thought.”
As Ulysses does, I will always hear and give some credence to Ego in seeking to conform me to expectations in order to keep me safe, secure, and respectable. However, when Heart speaks, I listen and do.
Whether I was painting, working as a lab tech, restoring antiques, pastoring, or teaching, I was working towards where I am now, towards my awakening. When I heard my Heart urging me quietly, deep inside to move on, I did. Finally, I came to full reckoning with myself, and I knew I should be writing.
I know if I don’t write and publish, which is my purpose and the way I become a part of all who I meet, then I will feel as if I just exist, suffer frustration, and live out my life sucking oxygen.
Ulysses didn’t know where he would end up when he hit the ocean waves again. I don’t know where I’ll end up, but I know I will be part of all that I meet, all things, experiences, people. Fulfillment. Significance. Thrill. Joy. Peace. Challenges. Creativity. Light. And Love.
Whatever age we are, when we join in the journey with those who know their purpose and yearn for it, we are “one equal temper of heroic hearts… /…strong in will / To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” I love connections, especially with those following their Heart, those who will not be deterred, those who will not yield to their own Ego.
If we become a part of all that we meet, then we are experiencing true freedom in living personal truth. What a valuable measure to indicate if we are following Ego or Heart!
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Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!