Your String of Life

john-v_spider-webMembers 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.


Contemplation Seeds

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?


20 Responses to Your String of Life

  1. Lovedales says:

    Waoo, my heart is opened. Thank you Wah Z.

  2. Passion MATONDO says:

    Merci wah-z, nous devons danser avec la vie. Le danseur cosmique baraka bashad

  3. Ann says:

    Before reading this, I was trying to follow so many divine laws at a time and I always found myself being burdened by focusing on doing all of them at once. I asked Z, “Can you tell me one thing I should do that will help me keep in step with all divine laws?”
    The answer came in this letter from the Master.
    It is to simply love.
    Love is all. All is love. Love is the mother of all spiritual traits such as patience, humbleness, kindness etc..
    When there is love, all other spiritual traits will follow.
    Thank you Z for answering my question.
    Love to all and myself.

  4. Adedeji Adelodun says:

    For me, this should be “taken in” before every breakfast.
    What a priceless piece of spiritual value, especially in this world of today.
    I thank you, Sri Harold.

  5. Janice Kim Cartwright says:

    Thank you, Mahanta, yet again!!! This is such a wonderful ‘story’……I do believe I will hang a piece of string in my home as a reminder!

  6. Lyndy says:

    Thank you for this wonderful article in this blog, this is one experience that has helped me Keep my “string of life” from having to many ripples.
    One thing I really noticed growing up was listening to understand, so many people did not know how to do this very well, myself included. Because it was not taught to us from an early age. With reading the ECK books Sri Harold often would mention this aspect of the human condition. Saying our problems would be much smaller if we could just listen to understand.
    I took this to heart and asked Mahanta what could I do to learn this very important skill.
    Things came along that allowed me to study this difficult art and over time I improved my relationships with family and others.
    This has allowed me to relax more into life and enjoy the fruits of what other people have to say, because I found it is better to listen than to sound my own horn! which I was quite good at doing. If I listen better I learn more. I am able to be more detached from what others are saying because there are many view points and listening just allows things to be.
    I am grateful for the Spiritual Exercises of ECK which help me listen to the nudges of Mahanta the Inner Master.

  7. soulme says:

    The path of ECK is The path of Spiritual Freedom and thus as time goes by, it also becomes The Happy Path. The longer one travels on it, the better it gets, the happier one is. Never give up on oneself, life , SUGMAD, the ECK and the Mahanta. Baraka Bashad. Love always finds a way.

  8. Sigrid says:

    Thank you so much – a wonderful answer to many actual challenges.

  9. Jeremy Clayton says:

    Amazing how the Master seems to tune into things that I am currently experiencing.
    Stresses, attachments, anger can arise from many sources. How about Sports for instance? Yeah, I am wired to that stuff. And I am shocked at how attached I am to some of it. It controls me. Not good. It’s hard to just watch it and appreciate the Art, the talent, the skill.
    I know it’s a problem that I have to work on.

  10. Benita Martin-Boley says:

    I have been in Eckankar for a long time. The longer I am in, the greater the humility I gain. Not from a life without conflict. Not from being uninvolved with the undesirables, people who have social problems, drug problems ….etc. What gives You as Soul, Humility~ is not putting yourself higher, better, or superior because you are an Eckist, or other form of worship for God. It’s the Realization ~ We Are Here Too, and Still Learning~ Just Like Every One Else! Death, Sorrow,Pain, Loss of Possions, Hardship, Prisons, Disappointments, the negatives in life~Brings Out Your Core Self. How else past the ego, would you see past the fluff. Trust in the Mahanta, the Eck, AND Your Opening Heart~ Brings Hu-mility and Love through the messes in life. Karma Burned, Spiritual Growth Achieved…What a Blessing Graditude, and Grace Brings!

  11. Deanna Strahl says:

    Thank you Harold for all of your wonderful books! And words of wisdom! And happy new year!

  12. Dimče says:

    This comment is in reply to Osioke. Thank you for putting it so clearly. These words relect my own thoughts on what you’ve so eloquently said.

    Someone once asked
    Can one love another
    Without losing one’s self?

    When you have become
    Your longing,
    you will no longer want.

    You hastened to the appointed hour
    Clad in burnished rainbows,
    Only to stumble at the final hurdle.

    You studied the ocean’s
    Elaborate trace route
    Yet baulk at getting wet.

    After years of practice
    You threw away your flute,
    Though ancient trees
    Have been known to
    uproot themselves
    In order to follow
    Its single, singing note!

    The perfectionist cannot
    tolerate imperfection.
    But “perfection” is not a thing.
    Its this moment.
    With all its inconveniences.
    With all it’s imperfections.

    When lovers cry
    Oh-oo-or, oh-oo-or
    Hawks vacate the sky.

    A passing Silent One
    Closing ITs eyes
    IT sings HUUU…

  13. Osioke says:

    This is so beautiful! It helps me conclude a stage I have been going through.

    I have been trying so hard to be perfect. The perfect son, the perfect employee, the perfect friend, the perfect boyfriend, the perfect … It all seemed well and good as I read and studied so many ways to do this. I was really ‘perfecting’ it. Then I started making mistakes by trying to remember what step I was supposed to take after doing XYZ as I had learnt somewhere. The time I took in this process of remembering kept increasing more and more and my patience reduced less and less. I had to wait to please everyone before I could do anything and it was delaying me doing the things I loved doing.

    It felt like I had stopped living, I felt so empty. I became really proud (from being so perfect), really brash (from not wanting to waste time with anyone as I still had so much to learn and do), and very lonely and depressed (from not living by doing the things I loved). It has been quite a journey, and I still wasn’t able to please anyone or even myself.

    Thank you Zee for this, I just need to live, love, let be and be in harmony like Uncle Johnnie 🙂

  14. David Coldwell says:

    In your book Autobiography of a Modern Prophet, in Chapter 8 you spoke of a balanced attitude in all things despite any provocation, as a way to avoid creating karma.

  15. Rama Badarou Soule says:

    When I retrace the distance I traveled with so many pitfalls and that an invisible hand has helped me all the time, it is clear to me that ignorance of our true identity can be source of obstacles. This attitude (ignorance) pushes towards spiritual pollutants that, not only darken the horizon but especially shorten our life span. It’s more than a fortune to be conscient of the presence of the Mahanta, the Inner Guide who sound the alarm in every possible way. I realize that everything is illusion. Everything is ephemeral. Everything can disappear overnight.
    My ability to truly apply God’s laws makes me aware of the opportunity for change and new beginnings. When one door closes, another always opens.

    I am always accompanied by the Mahanta, the Inner Master for any action I undertake. Every day.
    I feel very happy to be ECKist.

    Thank you Mahanta for your endless love. I will be paying more attention to your notes always full of subtleties.
    May the Blessings Be !

    • Anne says:

      Exactly! When one door closes,another opens! I got the same sentence from within in contemplation last night and here I see it again! What a beautiful confirmation by the Holy Spirit !
      I am so amazed at the way Eck communicates with me every day. And it is always uplifting me to reach higher horizons of happiness and peace.
      Thank you so much for saying that sentence. It really lightened me up!

    • DJ says:

      Your comment is full of beautiful gems of wisdom that has enlighened me. Your realization that everything is ephemeral is great because to realise that profound truth,one should have gone through enough ups and downs of living.
      Thank you so much for sharing your gems of wisdom which I was able to pick up now for my spiritual benefit.
      Love in Eck.

  16. Carol Cameron says:

    This story is deeply meaningful to me. When I could no longer afford to live in an expensive, coastal community where jobs were scarce a few years back, I was forced to downsize to what fit into my small car trunk. Perhaps the greatest challenge of my life, this experience actually bore fruits I could never have imagined. Unable to sit and wallow in my emotions, I had to keep asking Holy Spirit and the Inner Master for guidance. These helps kept my own spirits uplifted enough to move forward. Many helping hands and hearts came to my aid. What seemed the most dire of situations held many blessings and new experiences that grew me as a person, as Soul. I’m so grateful.

    The most helpful tool I’ve found in general, good or stormy weather, is the reminder: it it true? is it necessary? is it kind? With love in ECK, Carol

  17. Ann says:

    After reading this letter from Master, I have come to realise how much harm I had done to my body by not letting go of the stress and pain. A big thanks to Eckankar blog team for posting this. If not, I wouldn’t have realised this significant truth about what I was doing to myself. I plan to let go of all my stresses and just love God because God loves me.
    Thanks a lot Z for helping me realise this truth.

  18. Karen Rhodes says:

    So true. I was an Eckist for many years. Always in my heart.

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