There is a Zen question which asks: Who is the God who makes the grass green?
We live in a lonely world, one in which we are accustomed to make many assumptions to survive. Years ago I heard the (unconfirmed) story of one of France’s many King Louises who held the theory that because we speak the languages that we hear, we actually lose the ability to speak a birthright language of the angels. In order to demonstrate his theory, he took three newborn children away from their Mothers to be raised in the Palace. Each had their own room and lived in luxurious surroundings. All three were attended by silent wetnurses who fed them without uttering a word, and the King waited for them to be old enough to begin speaking the language of the angels. The children were warm and comfortable & well fed & all their physical needs cared for. They died without ever uttering a word.
The thing they lacked was love. Love is not food or warmth or shelter, It would not appear to be an essential for survival, it doesn’t appear as a basic need on Maslow’s Pyramid of needs, however we cannot thrive without it. But what is it?
I have no idea how my notebook feels, or how the trolley it currently sits on feels, or how my chair feels, I only know how I feel. I do not know how you feel and cannot feel it for you. We are all isolated in this way. By your facial expression I might perceive how I imagine you feel, but I cannot know for sure that any emotion I feel resembles any emotion you feel in the slightest. My perceptions tell me that there is a good chance I can share experiences with others, but I cannot know for certain. We are all isolated in this way.
Who is the God that makes the grass green? I am. And you are. And we all see green & call it green, but do we all see the same thing? Many colour blind people cannot of course, or we perceive they cannot because they score differently on colour blindness tests. In a world of seperation & isolation, where I cannot know, but only perceive the possibility that our experiences and perceptions can be the same, how do I stop being alone? I must have some sort of faith. I must trust my perceptions. To be so utterly alone is tantamount to despair. The power of our belief is enormous, but can be so very undermined by itself. How can I connect if I cannot do more than perceive. If I am told I am loved, how can I know I am, or measure that love? More critically, How can I be loved unless I can love also? What is Love? If we cannot love adequately, we cannot trust to be loved and we are isolated. Only in self love and self acceptance can we trust ourselves to be loved and to trust those who love us. Also to trust those who love us, they must also love and accept themselves. Those things are not easily learned, and are rare on this planet. The act of faith and belief in those that love us is that they have self love & self respect enough to be able to love us too. We risk all when we love, because love is organic – if it does not grow, it withers and dies. Self love and self acceptance are so rare in the world, but cannot be bought, only earned. Once we have earned them, we can believe in the love others have for us and accept them, only then can we understand that love is freely given and no longer earned – though it always requires our careful tending. Love and acceptance are the most powerful things in our lives. They make us powerful, and their loss inconceivable to those who achieve them.