Without enough inner strength to sustain an open heart, I couldn’t tell the difference between what turned me on and real happiness…and substituted one for the other. Lost in a tenuous world of high pressure, family, and money, and a belief that objective cures would solve deep inner problems, I discovered that objective cures didn’t solve anything. They’d patch up my problems but never got to their source. Caught up in life’s game, I could think of nothing but victory, but whether I won or lost did little to change my inner condition. It gave me momentary highs and lows that floated away in turbulent rivers. I was on to the next game, and the next, until I’d thoroughly exhausted myself, and my inner life. I walked into hundreds of dead ends and finally said to myself, “there has to be another route.”

Shakespeare’s “whips and scorns of time…” reminded me that the world was a dream-filled caravan of events that slipped away into nothingness – a show staged by buffoons and clowns, fools and heroes, that repeated itself over again without anyone ever learning real lessons. Would I ever learn to uproot problems at their source, or would I continue to apply bandages to symptoms and postpone deeper answers for another day? I once believed that money, success, and literary prowess could replace unconditional love. I didn’t know the difference. Could material things make that much of a difference? Sex? Power? Success? I certainly thought so. But none of them were a permanent solution. They got me through the day, they reassured my ego, but never reached deep enough inside me to tackle the root of the problem.

I’m often reminded of a Bill Gates interview I saw on television. “I have difficulty sleeping at night,” he said. “I’m afraid my empire will be gone in the morning.” Someday, his empire will be gone. So will he and I and the entire cast of characters that makes up the twenty-first century. Impermanence stares us all in the face. Human greed and its penchant for money and power won’t vanish; what also won’t vanish is a hunger for love and a need to transform suffering into enlightenment.

The goal of deep meditation practice is to open the heart chakra and transmute angst and suffering into joy and love. The goal is to help the soul fulfill its destiny on earth, to build inner strength that allows one to step off the karmic merry-go-round and merge with higher energy, to free body, mind and spirit from a lifetime of pain and dysfunction. When my heart first opened in meditation class, I discovered that my inner child could laugh and dance on God’s playground. If there’s anything like utopia on earth it exists in the human heart, a place where love is unconditional, where happiness welcomes one to a sanctuary that houses the highest level of human attainment.