I would like to share a concept I personally enjoy using that has helped me to understand the way things unfold in our world—why some beings grow beautifully and radiate life while others wilt with lifelessness. I like to call this tool The Book of Life.
This version of The Book of Life is not a giant leather-bound document that sits on a podium at the entrance of the proverbial pearly gates with a list of names of those who will (or won’t) be permitted into heaven. This Book of Life does not discriminate arbitrarily according to the bias of an anthropomorphic judge, or of a more charitable benefactor dolling out forgiveness like Hail Mary’s. I’m not talking about any biblical or manmade book.
Rather, this version of The Book of Life is the very living soup in which we live and swim; it tells the story of what generates life and what deteriorates it. The ability to read this living story playing out all around us gives us a unique power of perception to understand why some things in our world thrive while others face sure ruin. This is perhaps the most essential form of literacy for a human being, a language that everyone should know but that no educational institution in our culture teaches.
Reading this Book of Life is something of a lost science. The wizards, magi, white witches, high sorcerers (call them what you will) were the keepers of this sacred knowledge. They understood the Natural Laws that explained why something would thrive or deteriorate. They were fluent in the essential communication of life and practiced vigilance as their world unfolded in patterns of blossoming or wilting based on the seeds of what was set in motion.
They observed life in its macrocosmic expressions such as in the health and viability of the solar system as well as in the most microcosmic expressions such as in the cleanliness of the smallest cells. Both the micro- and macrocosmic universes told them the story of these life forms and how they interacted with the whole.
Sickness and deterioration were not mysteries to those fluent in the language of life as they are to modern science. The wise ones would not go into laboratories or pass buckets around community centers to fund experiments for cures. They would trace the undesirable outcome back to its source, the original offense to the Natural Laws, and take steps to correct it. Their fluency would also allow them to divine the outcomes of myriad situations—whether individual, social, or organic—before it was too late.
Once you become literate and fluent in the language of life, you, too, will be able to divine the probable outcomes of the choices you make. Blossoming and wilting are not punishment and reward; both are the predictable expressions of natural energetic flow. A life-generating choice will render a blossoming effect. A life-deteriorating choice will render a wilting effect.
When you step back far enough to gain perspective and read The Book of Life in this way, coming to recognize the patterns of how life unfolds, the effects of your choices will become astonishingly predictable. In fact, the first time you make this connection, you will suddenly wonder, How could I not have seen that before?
We all have the ability to become our own “prophets” and “seers”—it is actually more of an analytical exercise than a magical one because the Laws of Nature undergirding our physical world are scientifically rooted in fact. Certain things add up to support life and other things add up to undermine it. Most people today fail to put these pieces together because this way of seeing is so foreign to our culturally skewed perceptions.
We learn lots of facts in school and gain some practice in critical thinking, but I have never in all my years of schooling found an institution to teach me about the laws of life. I had to find those on my own, after much searching.
Every generation experiences a distinct mix of the lows to which it has sunk and the heights to which it’s capable of rising. The lows and highs of our generation are engaged in a bit of a tug-o-war, but the risers among us will help to lift all of our brothers and sisters by becoming more “life literate”—by learning The Book of Life as we might have learned a history text in grade school. Becoming “life literate” means literally learning how to read the signs that life is constantly showing us—all of the blossoming and joy and pain and deterioration around us.
Pain, as I have written previously, is not a nuisance, but an alarm bell that tells us something is wrong and requires an adjustment or change somewhere in the works. But we have so many false ways to silence the alarms that only suppress rather than dissolve the pain. We must learn to recognize and receive its message. Only then can we begin to return ourselves—physically and emotionally, individually and universally—to peace and wellness.
I enjoy reading The Book of Life. To me, it is the most engaging book of all. Life is spread out all around us, imparting the most vital stories available to humankind. To learn the language of life is to discover that all the pain, chaos, beauty, and harmony makes sense. When you learn what supports life and what doesn’t, you realize that you really can choose your experiences, not because of some trendy new-age ideology, but because there are indeed Natural Laws undergirding life: certain things that sow a future harvest and others that seal certain drought.
The book is open all around you. Tune in and take pleasure—the more you read, the better reader you become.
Here’s to a new kind of literacy!