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Ab Aeterno

Ab Aeterno is Latin and translates to: “Since the beginning of time.”  I learned it watching a recent episode of the television show LOST.  This episode was about the story of a character named Richard and a difficult decision he had to make.  Let me share with you a brief summary of the story and the profound lesson I learned and brought into my life. 

The Story:

Shipwrecked on an island and still mourning the death of the love of his life, Richard meets two individuals: the Man in White (Jacob) and the Man in Black (*Nameless*).  The Man in Black tells Richard that they aren’t actually on an island, they are trapped in Hell.  He persuades Richard that if he can kill Jacob (who he calls “The Devil”), not only will they be freed from Hell, the Man in Black promises to reunite Richard with his deceased wife.  So Richard treks across the island to find and kill Jacob.  However, upon finding Jacob, Richard learns that the Man in Black was merely trying to manipulate him.  Sitting on the beach sipping on wine, Jacob (in blue text) and Richard have the following conversation:

*picks up wine bottle* “Think of this wine as what you keep calling hell.  There are many other names for it too: maneviolence, evil, darkness. And here it is swirling around in the bottle unable to get out because  if it did, it would spread.  The cork *grabs cork and plugs top of bottle* is this island… And it’s the only thing keeping the darkness where it belongs…  That man who sent you to kill me believes that everyone is corruptible because it’s in their very nature to sin.  I bring people here to prove him wrong.  And when they get here, their past doesn’t matter.”

“Before you brought my ship, there were others?”

“Yes, many.”

“What happened to them?”

“They’re all dead.”

“Well if you brought them here, why didn’t you help them?”

“Because I wanted them to help themselves.  To know the difference between right and wrong without me having to tell them.  It’s all meaningless if I have to force them to do anything.  Why should I have to step in?”  ***

“If you don’t, he will.”

*thinking* “Do you want a job?”

“Wha… A job?  Doing what?”

“Well if I don’t want to step in, maybe you can do it for me.  You can be my representative, an intermediary between me and the people I bring to the island.”

“What will I get in return?”

“You tell me.”

“I want my wife back.”

“I can’t do that.”

“Well can you absolve me of my sins so I don’t go to hell?”

“I can’t do that either.”

“I…. I never want to die, I want to live forever.”

“Now THAT I can do…”

In exchange for his loyalty and service, Jacob grants Richard’s request: the gift of immortality.  When Richard goes back to tell the Man in Black, he seems to be very understanding.  He let’s Richard know that his offer still stands and hopes he realizes that by choosing to go with Jacob, Richard would never see his wife again. 

(*** NOTE:  Although this is not the main lesson I intend to share in this blog post, in my opinion, the dialogue here is an excellent lesson on free will. Just FYI.) 

My Lesson:

Life vs. Love

I’m sure my quick synopsis of this episode barely did it justice but when I first watched this episode, I knew that there was a message here that was calling out to me that I was supposed to learn.  So I watched it over and over again.  It wasn’t until the 3rd time watching it that it finally hit me… Richard wasn’t merely choosing between Good vs. Evil, he was also choosing between LIFE VS. LOVE.  Listen to the Man in Black, act selfishly, commit a sin, free them from “Hell”, and in return he would get back his precious wife, the love of his life.  The other option was to listen to Jacob.  Commit his life to a more divine purpose, gain immortality but make the ultimate sacrifice: Never see his deceased wife again.  (This also reminded me of a lesson a fellow yogi shared with me, “Act selfless, you will be infinite.”  Don’t they sound pretty similar?) Richard chose the latter.

The reason this resonated so deeply within me is that I feel like I can relate to the lesson being taught.  In my life, I am facing a similar decision.  On one side is love.  On the other, life.  And sitting in between the two, yoga.   Circumstances in my life have left me feeling heartbroken, frustrated, and depressed.  Pain that I feel straight to my soul and don’t know how to express or let go of.  And within this ordeal, some of my passion for yoga was lost.  My personal life (and love for yoga) was met with ignorance, anger, and worst of all… silence.  And it left me feeling so empty, I didn’t know what to do…  For the last few weeks, I practically crawled into a shell and hid from the world.  I wished to get back the only thing I wanted: Love.   I was desperate.  To do anything, be anything, sacrifice anything… WHATEVER it took to get Love back, I was willing to do.  And it still hurts, I still feel the pain.

But as much as I want that, there is still a part of me that is calling toward a higher purpose.  A part of me that understands that this sacrifice (of Love) might be necessary for me to take the next step in my life.  To know that although Love was still in my heart, my task right now is for something bigger than just myself.  Although the pain of a lost Love is still deep (and is unlikely to go away anytime soon), it is time to pick myself up, hold my head up high, and begin to move on.  And though my journey will not grant me immortality as it did Richard, I know that if I can ACT selfless, I will BE infinite.

Ab Aeterno called out to me as the perfect title for my first post.  It was a story about love vs. life.  And although Ab Aeterno means “Since the beginning of time,” I believe the concept of time is relative.  We can choose to decide when, where, and how we want to measure time.  So for me, THIS is the beginning!  Today, I once again choose life.  Today, I strive for selflessness.  Today I begin a new life and I greet this day with love in my heart.

Ab Aeterno starts now.

Namaste.

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