Moments ago I finished a beautifully written novel called All the Light We Cannot See. In poetic prose, the authors weaves the lives of a blind French girl and a German orphan through the unfathomable horrors of WWII to their final destinies…I won’t spoil it. Suffice it to say, the characters come to life under the artistic guidance of the author. I picked up the novel after reading a review that described it as a story of hope.
In the aftermath of the story, I’m left instead of hope with the heavy sensation that Paramhansa Yogananda described as, the “anguishing monotony” of life. Yogananda often taught that the devotee must reach that precipice, where the “anguishing monotony” is too much to bear before she turns to find truth beyond this tiny human existence.
The characters in this particular novel are fascinating people. People I can relate to. People very much like my grandfather and his siblings, who all had truly incredible stories of resilience and unimaginable horror during those same war years and beyond. While some would find inspiration in the fact that these brave souls put one foot in front of the other and make new lives after being devastated, losing everything and witnessing evil, it just doesn’t feel like enough for me. It’s a start. It’s admirable. But it’s not enough.
Death comes to every one of us. As my Dad likes to say, “no one gets out alive.” Resilience is one of the many qualities of the human experience worth admiring, yes. As is compassion, love and generosity. Even so, it’s just not enough for me. There has to be more. There has to be an end to the “anguishing monotony” of life after life. An end that doesn’t include a harp and eternal sitting around on a cloud.
It’s moments like this that I’m deeply grateful for my guru, for the teachings of yoga and the thirst-quenching answers that they bring to make sense of it all and bring something worth living for – worth dying for too.
Soul qualities like peace, love and compassion, they are manifestations of our highest nature. But behind even the manifestations of that nature is our consciousness. Our oneness with Spirit. Our little Soul that is a wave in the Ocean of Divine Bliss – eternally one with all things. Now THAT is inspiring to me. THAT will get me out of bed and on the horse again.
I sure wish there were more poetically written novels that struck at the heart of life. At the deep core, where we find our inner bliss. With just a few exceptions, most novels and movies that attempt to go there end up dripping in cheesiness…it’s really too bad. It’s such a deep part of the human experience. I guess I’ll need to read biographies of saints and nonfiction to fulfill that part of me.
I’m open to recommendations!