On the Brink of Everything: Reuniting with Awe

“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely aware.” ~ Henry Miller

Many people live their lives trapped in a tight box of beliefs. They are unaware that boundaries can be transformed into horizons. That the box can be flattened into a platform for creative self-expression.

That the tethers of yesterday’s results (be they triumph or tragedy) can be cut, thus unleashing them from the false cultural labels, expectations, or assumptions that tend to lead to unawareness. 

Being on the brink of everything is becoming painfully aware. It’s reuniting with awe. It’s discovering the edge of the world and letting your feet playfully dangle over cosmos, eyes wide in astonishment, soul agape with Agape love, as it dawns on you that you are everything becoming aware of itself.

Being on the brink of everything is the onset of imperfect wholeness. As Parker J. Palmer said, “Wholeness is the goal, but wholeness does not mean perfection. It means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life. It’s the truth that can set us free to live well, to love well, and to die well.” 

Becoming more whole is becoming more curious about our place in the world. Curiosity is the birthplace of awe and the crucible of astonishment.

With the mighty question-mark Sword as our Sword of Truth, this article will be asking three galvanizing questions that will keep us on the brink of everything. How should we live? How should we love? How should we die? Let’s break it down…

1.) How, then, shall we live?

“There’s a big difference between truly being challenged and just busily checking off your daily tick list of carrying the cross of others’ expectations.” ~ Brendon Burchard

Being challenged is what makes us come alive. It defines the path toward an engaging life that utilizes the empowering energies latent within us. Real challenge stretches our concept of self, our talents, our beliefs, our comfort zones.

It keeps us at the edge of life, on the periphery of awe and astonishment. It’s where real change and growth occur. Where engagement and fulfillment come to fruition. 

So how, then, shall we live? It turns out that the answer is the journey itself. Socratic wisdom reveals that the never-ending search for the best way to live is itself the best way to live. It’s the sumum bonum, the core practice of the good life we seek. Indeed, seeking the good life is the best life. Remaining curious about goodness creates goodness. 

The challenge is to keep the question open-ended, never-ending, unfulfilled, to allow the journey to be the thing rather than get hung up on a destination.

If we can remain fluid and flexible with the answers we discover, then the question itself will make us come alive. It will keep us hungry for more. Galvanized and moving forward. It will keep our question-mark sword sharp as we cut through expectation, boredom, distraction, and mediocrity.

2.) How, then, shall we love?

“Someday, after mastering winds, waves, tides and gravity, we shall harness the energy of love; and for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

The Greeks have five words for the concept of love: Eros, sexual love; Storge, familial love; Phileo, friendly love; Xenia, hospitable love; and Agape, divine love. 

If our purpose is to reunite with awe, then Agape love is our magic elixir. Agape love is being love. It’s being in love with life, all of life, come what may. Through thick and thin, through lust and loss, through success and failure, through life and death.

Being love is an unselfish unconditional love for all things. It’s so profound that it leaves you in a state of wonder and awe, soul-hungry for more beauty, more mystery, more fire. 

Indeed. Agape love is a fire that lights up the world.

True love is fire. A fire that burns with a heat that lights all beacons. Those who codependently seek love tend to be insecure, needy, and clingy. They have forgotten how to be love, how to be fire. Don’t seek love; be love. Be the fire that attracts love to you. Be the fire that attracts more fire. For fire plus fire equals greater fire. 

If you should also attract moths, so be it. Let the ashes fall where they may. But you are fire, and fire burns. You are love, and love burns.

It’s the unifying force holding the universe together. It unites us all in its terrible, loving heat. There’s no reason to seek love when you are love. There’s no reason to have expectations about love when you are giving it. And when you are love, you can’t help but give it. 

3.) How, then, shall we die?

“Death twitches my ear. ‘Live,’ he says, ‘I am coming.’” ~ Virgil 

Death is the ultimate leveling mechanism. It gives us perspective. It forces our head over the ledge, revealing that the “brink of everything” is also an abyss.

But, if you listen closely, the abyss speaks. It guides. It ushers. It oversees and undersees, asking us the tough questions: “does your path have heart?” “are you living your best life?” “does your life have purpose and meaning?”

Contemplating death pierces the veil between mortality and eternity. Everything is all the more precious because it is fleeting. The universe is beautiful because it is constantly in the throes of great transformation. 

On the brink of everything, Death is our copilot. He’s a reminder that all things must end. He’s the ultimate parenthesis. He conveys impermanence. Everything changes. Life is transitory.

The universe is meaningless except for the meaning we give it. But we are the pilot. There is still hope. We can still live our best life by keeping it in perspective. By asking important questions. How will I live? How will I love? How will I die?

As Carlos Castaneda advised, “Death is the only wise advisor we have. Whenever you feel that everything is going wrong and you’re about to be annihilated, turn to your death and ask if that is so. Your death will tell you that you are wrong; that nothing matters outside its touch. Your death will tell you, ‘I haven’t touched you yet.’

Image Sources:
Art by Totemical

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Gary Z McGee
Gary Z McGee
Gary 'Z' McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.
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