OK, so I had a realization recently, which is this:

I have been thinking too small.

I have been aiming too small — if that's even a sensible way of saying it.

I realized this when I was hanging out with an old friend a few weeks ago, and we were talking about our aspirations and goals — where we want to be, how we want to be, who we want to be.

To my surprise, when she asked me to express my biggest dreams about where I wanted to be a year from now, all I could answer was that I wanted to be living in a state of pure and unconditional love for myself and all humanity.

I started talking to her about the two genuinely mystical experiences I've had in my life — moments when the walls of "reality" fell away and suddenly I saw myself, everyone else, and the entire universe for what it is: a divine dance of love.

One of those experiences, I wrote about in EAT PRAY LOVE, when I talked about the feeling of "sitting on the palm of God's hand" in meditation one day.

The other experience was almost a year ago, when — in the midst of a huge burst of angry conflict between me and two friends — I was suddenly overcome by the most peaceful sense of compassion I have ever experienced…overcome by a sense of our oneness, our shared suffering, our shared longing for peace. Right in the middle of the fire of our mutual anger, all I felt was love. Love for them, love for me, love for anyone who is standing in the hell of conflict, suffering.

In both cases (in India, and more recently right here in New Jersey) I floated around the world for a while in a state of pure bliss and love.

In both cases, I could never imagine worrying about anything or ever being angry at anyone again.

In both cases, I felt like, "Existence is so simple, once you get here — to this place of peace and kindness."

…and then it vanished.

And in both cases, after it vanished, I was like, "Oh, well…that was nice, but it can't last, I suppose."

And immediately I went about my mundane life again — getting caught up in dramas, being judgmental, getting mad at myself, getting mad at others, worrying about everything. Because those two golden moments of total peace and comprehension were just impossible divine visitations, right? Even though I would LOVE to live in a state of bliss and compassion and contentment all the time, it isn't possible…right?

But why am I aiming so small?

This is what I asked myself, while I was talking to my friend about my goals. Why have I put this limit on myself — this limit about what my heart is capable of feeling, and for how long?

Why have I committed myself to anything less than total love and harmony?

Why not aim for more than the mundane, the small, the restricted?

Why not aim bigger?

How much work am I willing to do — in terms of prayer and forgiveness and acts of grace — in order to grow my heart to its utmost capacity?

What addictions am I willing to give up (judgment, blame, shame, gossip, panic, drama?) in order to treat myself and others with the highest possible kindness?

Why did I give up so fast on unconditional universal love, once I'd been blessed enough to glimpse it those two times? Was that not an invitation?

Because if unconditional universal love is not worth striving for, then what in heaven IS?

And so…here we are.

It's Monday morning.

I'm hard at work. Living my life, doing my chores, meeting my obligations, cleaning my desk, editing my book, returning emails, etc.

But I'm working hard at something else, too:


I'm working to manifest the biggest big-heartedness I can possibly reach. All the love I can hold, and more. That's what I'm aiming for.

Who's with me?

Is there anything you're aiming too small about?

Anybody ready to reach a little higher?

Anybody have any wisdom on how to do it?

Let's roll.


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall