Your String of Life
Members of Eckankar have a treat to look forward to four times each year in a membership publication called the Mystic World. One of its special features is “Wisdom Notes,” written by Sri Harold Klemp. In these letters, including the one below, Sri Harold addresses questions and issues vital to spiritual well-being.
The Middle Path
By Harold Klemp
If this letter were to have a title, it would be “The String of Life.” It’s about detachment, being neither too much for nor against anything—the middle path. Living does entail putting ourselves into life. But not blindly or rashly.
Emotions are a fundamental, good, and necessary part of our human makeup. They add warmth and color to living. However, too much or too little of a good thing, including our expression of emotions, comes with a price. Tests show that people who suffer the loss of a loved one but cannot get over the worst of the pain in a short time put their own health at risk. The same holds true for other situations of loss, like a bitterly contested divorce, the loss of a lover, a home, or a job.
Our spiritual attitude toward change determines, in the end, how well and quickly we pick ourselves up from the dirt. To make a new beginning.
In ECK, we try to keep a handle upon our emotions, no matter what shock waves of life may surprise or wash over us.
Imagine a string. It’s a long string, reaching from your elbow to the tips of your fingers. Lay the string on your kitchen table, pulling the ends tight so that it forms a long, straight line. From end to end, that represents the natural length of your life.
Next, play with the string. Make some up and down waves with it, like small waves on a wind-kissed lake. Put your arm along the length of string and note that the ends of the string no longer reach from your elbow to your fingertips. Now play with the string again. This time make big up and down waves along its length, then place your arm alongside the string again. Notice that its ends are even farther from your elbow and fingertips.
The wavy string represents the effect of your emotions upon the length of the string of life. A person who lets his emotions run away with him at every new turn in the play of life is also shortening his life.
Each of us comes into this life with a different length of string. That part can be called fate, or destiny. How we deal with it, however, depends upon our spiritual understanding of life. Do we fight life or go with it? Fighting, resisting, or other ways of not dealing honestly with the changes that come to us have the effect not only of making our lives less happy and fruitful than they could be, but also of shortening them.
Rules are hard to remember. Whether they are spiritual laws or the desires of others to run our lives, we try to ignore them. We don’t want to become like the centipede that tripped because it got to wondering how to keep all those feet marching in time.
The natural way to keep in step with the spiritual laws—and thus lessen the wear and tear upon ourselves by a wild display of emotions by habit—is to simply love.
Before speaking or reacting in anger, ask: “Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?” That is the principle of divine love at work. Whenever deep troubles or worries spring up to batter your peace of mind, try to fill yourself with love and ask the Mahanta: “What lesson is the divine ECK, Holy Spirit, giving me in this to make me a better, more whole spiritual being?”
Ask in the spirit of love and you will surely receive an answer.
My Uncle Johnnie, now in his mideighties, is such a person. For most of his life he labored in humble positions: as a hired man on farms, then, when he moved to the city to find work, as the maintenance man at a new-car dealership. A bachelor with no dependents, he bought a new car when he pleased. That brought down the anger of some close relatives, who used to invite him over for Sunday dinner. So he stopped going to dinner there.
Uncle Johnnie worked well past the usual retirement age, because he wanted to—and his employer agreed. But since his retirement, he continues his sweet dance with the blessings of life by going to places where people accept him for what he is. He has many friends among people in their twenties and thirties. Uncle Johnnie has an infectious laugh, and he keeps his complaints to himself.
He is not an ECKist. However, he is living in harmony with the divine law of life. Even a few serious illnesses could not tarnish his unfailing good humor. So he endures.
His string of life is fairly straight. Yours can be too. Love life; love all. Love is the simplest rule there is.
Excerpted from Wisdom of the Heart, Book 2.
What is your string of life looking like at this point?
Are there some gems in Sri Harold’s letter that would help you lengthen it?