Leaving Home, Coming Home.
There are community celebrations I’ve left behind—or chosen not to attend—that I miss: my 20th Princeton Reunion, my spiritual community’s celebration of our guru’s birthday. In my stationary life, I perhaps discounted their importance to me. I thought, on the road, I will not feel the tension (and frankly, ambivalence) of my desire to be there.
I have plucked myself out of an ecosystem, which I believed I always carried with me. Home is where you are. You carry your loved ones with you. But the questions arise: Am I creating a life of individualism rather than community? Have I always?
My relationship with community has always been ambivalent—fueled by a deeply rooted sense of being an outsider, of not really belonging, except with a few intimates, and an equally deep rooted love of independence and solitude. Both of these feelings and qualities are archetypically consistent with my dharma (from the Vedic tradition: the nature of my being, the path of my soul). They are also an illusion, a mind trick that creates false, unnecessary separation. But the equilibrium in all areas of my life is being recalibrated, and it’s dredging stuff up.
I feel a pull toward home in so many directions—and in equal measure, the pull to roam. The call to roam feels like home to me, home in my being, home in my innate nature. And the people of these communities, these families, born and chosen, equally feel like home. I could easily create a fracture, a duality that is in conflict with myself. But the two are not even separate, but one and the same, fluid, shifting, connected.
The profound wonder of the human heart is that it can hold all of it, simultaneously: joy, grief, longing, peace, loneliness, belonging. To have a fully human experience, we must. We are all of these things; and we are none of them. They pass through us, and to think that they do it in sequence, that there’s an order or a logic to it, or that one can and must only exist at a time defies our experience. It’s messy, this being human. It’s beautiful.
I am going home. Home to the mountains and the ocean. Home to my family. Home to my Self.
And I am leaving home. Home with my spiritual teacher and community. Home with my friends and classmates, those whom I have let know me, those I have not.
It keeps coming to me: Let Them Love You.
Let Yourself Love Them, with Everything You’ve Got, with Everything You Are.
And the key to my (our) ability to do this seems to me to be this: Are you at peace with your dichotomies and with your choices?