“Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment.” ― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
Of all the beautiful statements I’ve read over the last year, I must say that John O’Donohue’s assertion that “the eternal makes you urgent” stands out as being one of the most intriguing and compelling. “The eternal makes you urgent.” What does that mean?
I think most would assume that the constraints of the temporal are what makes us urgent. Timelines. Deadlines. Due dates. While these do create an urgency with respect to our achieving nature, temporal matters do not create an urgency from the inner standpoint, from the standpoint of being. Only the eternal makes you urgent from the standpoint of being.
You cannot become urgent from the inner standpoint, from the perspective of divine purpose, until there is awareness of the eternal. No one person can encompass or become aware of the totality of the eternal, but you have the privilege, and indeed the responsibility of clothing the aspects of the eternal of which you are aware, in thoughts, words, and deeds, that is, in your living.
The eternal is the body of love. The body of love, like the body of humanity or the human body, differentiates in to innumerable small, but important parts. The parts incorporate and cooperate to make the whole. Love is at once many things and one thing. The eternal, therefore, is at once many things and one thing.
When you become aware of the eternal, of the power of love, you are struck immediately with a sense of its magnitude, of its strength. Whether that love is perceived through the beauty of a majestic landscape or when you meet a soul-friend, you feel the intensity of its presence. That presence lifts up to consciousness the extraordinarily special inner longing, a longing which burns continuously in the soul of man. This special longing, the longing of your being, yearns to be acknowledged by your body, mind, and heart.
When your outer soul – your body, mind, and heart – awakens to the urgency and passion of your inner soul, you cannot help but become urgent. Your priorities shift. Petty concerns, material wants, jealousies and the many other insignificant matters which previously yoked you to the state of “complacency and partial fulfillment” vanish instantly in the light of that love, in the dawning recognition of the eternal.
If you maintain that awareness in your heart and mind, nothing will stop you. Your urgency will allow you to move with grace and composure through challenges and obstacles which would surely stop you were you simply motivated by some outer goal. If, however, you relinquish that awareness – and it is a choice! – you will return to the struggle of trying to get through life simply on human strength. Moreover, you might miss the most important part of your purpose while here on earth.
Never forget: “The eternal makes you urgent.”