Why you need love, not wisdom

A rare cloudy day dawned in Los Angeles. Rare in my opinion at least, as I am used to seeing clouds on a near-constant basis over the past few decades of my life. As I stepped out of the shower, I realized that my life energy hadn’t dipped as it did in the past, where cloudy days would make it harder for me to function. In other words, I was weak.

Almost all spiritual endeavor happens when you’re paying attention at a higher level than where the body itself exists. This is what causes the body to starve while you’re carrying out the work you need to do in a different space. After a long period of spiritual endeavor, your body becomes extremely weak, fragile and really easy to destroy. And that’s what had happened to me after decades of spiritual service.

Most people don’t survive extreme spiritual experiences, like sudden onset enlightenment, which sounds like a disease, but is extremely common — it happens at the moment of death. Right before dying, most people realize what life is about and they feel desperate to continue, but it’s all over by then. If you don’t want to experience the joy of living only for a moment right before you die, you must enlighten yourself before your time is up. And that requires that you pay attention to your life. But the body is where it starts.

Most people tend to take their bodies for granted, as if it’s going to carry on living without their conscious attention. The reality is a bit worse, actually. What happens when you don’t pay attention to the body is that it cannot repair itself whenever it has a problem, usually due to environmental issues. Our bodies are actually marvels of creation and they are absolutely healthy by themselves. It’s usually the environment around us that causes our bodies to deteriorate as they do.

Here’s how the mechanism of the body works, to put it simplistically. You eat, and the energy you put into the food when you eat is carried into the body. And this is why you should eat well and love the food you eat. Whenever the body suffers an injury or a problem due to an environmental factor — even if it’s as simple as the people around you being inappropriate, for example — your body has to work to get rid of all the influences that are causing it to be wonky. Let me give you an example.

After making breakfast, I was closing up the windows and getting ready to leave. I leave at least one big window open to let all the fresh air in, but I leave other windows closed as there tends to be a lot of black dust in the atmosphere in Los Angeles. As I walked past a box of ‘Q-Tips’, my hands reached for and picked up two of them, or so I perceived they wanted to. And then I saw what they’d done. They had picked up three. My body responds to these kinds of minute details every day and calls for attention when it fails to do exactly what it wanted to. There’s no room for error, compromise or delay.

When such a thing happens, my attention in 100% focused on the body, to help it understand, figure out and take care of the problem. The problem here is simple — misalignment. Basically, my body hasn’t been able to follow the guidance of the mind accurately enough, for whatever reason. So, it needs to fix itself. Realign, in other words. In my case, the ‘figuring out’, ‘understanding’ and ‘taking care of’ parts are all unconscious, in the sense that I trust the mind, body, soul and life in general to just do the right thing. At best I have to pay attention if it’s calling me to do so. This isn’t a very long process — it’s a split second or less, but I am attentive, totally attentive, in that split second. And I am aware of it happening at lightning speed.

My hands automatically put back one of the ‘Q-Tips’ back in the box and carried on. In a split-second, my body found the issue, took care of it and was back in alignment.

We all tend to make these little ‘mistakes’, as we like to call them, every day. As I sat down to write this story, a girl behind me started screaming at her partner for knocking over a cup of Vanilla Latte. Instead of helping him fix it, she complained, threatened, flailed around, made a scene and generally drew attention from everyone around her. Her attention was clearly focused on the problem and not on the solution, which was, simply to mop it up, or call someone to do so, as it was quite a mess.

This tends to happen with women because they’re weakened by their ways of living. While boys generally are weakened physically, women are weakened emotionally. In such a state, simple things tend to create a huge problem, but the problem isn’t ‘external’. In fact, what’s going on is that life is desperately calling for attention from this woman, signaling to her that she’s falling apart. It’s as if a vehicle has all its nuts and bolts loosened even though it's moving a high speed down a bad road. Everything rattles and shakes, and the vehicle is literally in danger of falling apart.

Women generally tend to want to ignore these warning signs, choosing instead to carry on living as they have, constantly blaming their environment and the people around them for all that’s going awry, when it’s really their minds, bodies and souls that are actually suffering, and not being paid sufficient attention.

If you had been paying attention to all that needs attention, you wouldn’t ever go so far out of alignment that it takes an emergency to get you back into shape. But most of you don’t pay any attention to your system at all, hoping it will just ‘work itself out’. Well, it does, but in a way none of you will appreciate.

It takes a lot of energy to be calm in a situation where the body suddenly calls for attention, out of the blue and you’re expected to stop whatever it is you’re engaged in and shift attention to what’s calling for it. And that’s exactly what you must do. If you don’t, the body will not heal and will carry on working in a very poor state. This is essentially the cause of all disease on this planet — the simple fact that when your mind, body, soul and life in general call for attention, you decide you’d much rather comfort yourself, forget about the problem, pretend that whatever’s calling for attention doesn’t exist and hope that the problem magically goes away.

Or if you’re really stupid, like this girl behind me is, you want someone else to fix it as you continue to act like you’ve got no skin in the game.

If you’ve ever seen a homeless person in your life, even on TV, you know the world’s problems haven’t fixed themselves, and no one else is able to do what you can do to fix them. Until you first pay attention to your own life, make it a happy experience and then work to alleviate the suffering of the world around you — which is all too painfully apparent even if you pretend to ignore it — the world isn’t going to magically fix itself.

I hope you’ve paid attention to that sentence: it starts with you first creating a happy life experience for yourself. But if you’re already wounded, in pain or are suffering in some fashion, how can you be happy?

It’s easy: pay attention to your body’s pain, your emotional trauma, your mind’s suffering and your soul’s confusion. All this must happen first, which is why spiritual endeavor almost always starts with a shit load of crying and wailing, pain and suffering, confusion and denial, etc. Only when all this has left you is the body in a place where it can begin to rebuild itself. And only after the body is in shape will it go do anything about anyone else’s world. And you must allow it all the time it needs, even if it takes a lifetime.

Instead, most of you are in a rush to experience the pleasures of someone else’s life — whatever you may have seen on TV or social media, for example. And so, you desperately try to create these experiences in your own life without having any strength to do so. As a consequence, your life experiences aren’t ever perfect. All the while, your body, mind, soul and your life are calling for you to stop, take stock, heal, rejuvenate, strengthen, rebuild and then, and only then, restart activity.

But people are loathe to pay attention to the most important thing in life: life itself. Instead, they wait for life to deal itself a blow they cannot but pay attention to, either in the form of a debilitating illness, further emotional trauma, an accident, a cancer or a loss. And when that happens, they wonder what they did wrong.

What you did wrong is to not pay attention to your own life, choosing instead to pay attention only to whatever is pleasing.

But life isn’t partial like that. It’s going to force you to pay attention to everything, until it’s satisfied.

And that’s the crux of the problem you are all struggling with, on a daily basis: you expect life to satisfy you, but it’s you that is meant to satisfy life, by giving it the attention it needs.

You are here to satisfy life, not the other way round. And you satisfy life by giving it all your attention.

Most people are so confused about their identity that they believe they’re here to be satisfied by the life they live. But life is here to propagate itself until it cannot go any further, and to do that it needs attention. You, in other words.

But where are you? Lost on TikTok?

It’s as if y’all want this life to go on without you in it and yet, somehow experience the best of what it has to offer. You will never succeed in this fashion. And you’ve already come to terms with it, at a very deep level, which is why the vast majority of you have zero happiness even in the way you look around at the trees and the sky.

The good news is that at least now, most of humanity feels distinctly unhappy.

Why is this good news? Because at least now you’re in search of a way forward. Do not think that all this confused running around in search of comfort is a ‘bad thing’ — it’s just a sign that your anxiety is getting to the point where you cannot but pay attention to it. I am very happy that you’re all quite miserable, actually, because the world hasn’t been in good shape for a very long time, and you’ve been ignoring it in order to focus on your own selfish ends. Slowly but surely now, things are getting really difficult to ignore. And I don’t mean just the societal ills — I also mean the wars and genocides, climate change and environmental destruction, the disappearance of species at an accelerated rate, and so on. More and more, your attention will be brought back to life’s problems, not yours, for your problems are imaginary, while life’s problems are real.

The older generation was very focused on trying to create a better world by fixing the ‘outside’, but they’ve come to terms with the simple fact that they’ve failed. If you’ve ever spoken to middle-aged and older people, you’ll notice a distinct sense of helplessness in most of them, a sense that they made so much effort and failed at doing anything worthwhile in their own lives. And they’re right. It’s just that their effort was entirely futile because it was done blindly, without love, and in the wrong direction.

They looked outward and tried to fix what’s already been created instead of looking inward and fixing what’s actually responsible.

If you don’t want to end up old and decrepit by the time you hit 30, you should be focused on your own life, 100%. Most of you don’t understand how to go about doing this, which is why I am here. No, don’t waste your life on yoga and meditation classes — if you’re in my target audience, you’re not going to benefit from either, guaranteed.

Right action comes from right understanding, not from twisting your body in strange ways without proper guidance. And right understanding requires paying enormous attention, at a level most of you aren’t even aware is possible. For that, you need energy, tons more than you’ve had all your life.

That’s what love really means, on this Earth. It means you’re given energy, from a very special source, in a way that no one else can match. Energy that allows you to forge ahead despite obstacles, pay attention to your life even if it’s a disaster unfolding in slow motion and still come out unscathed.

This is why, if you’re a woman, you must be loved, not simply given wisdom, because it’s the love you have in your own soul that will empower your ability to see clearly, understand life from a whole different perspective, and then be what you can be. All wisdom can do is whet your appetite for love, that’s all.

Do not ask for wisdom, understanding or knowledge — these will not help you. Every chance you get, ask for love, love and nothing but love. Everything else will be given to you as you go forth and become receptive enough for love to be poured into you, because it’s just natural for life to give you whatever it is you are capable of receiving. When you ask for something really tiny, like safety, you get only a little bit, and you continue to be hungry. But if you ask for the best, the highest and the most exalted, you’ll get everything else as well, as you’re transformed to receive that which is beyond all words, concepts, ideas and opinions.

The best things in the world are free. And so too, is love.

Ask, and ye shall receive.




Instagram @penumarthyshashi

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

What You Shouldn’t Do For a Man

Vantage Points

How I Used Slow Growth to Complete a 48-Hour Fast

A person on a swing in the jungle by the beach.


Don’t Let Your Invisible Fences Hold You Back From Being Amazing

The Sound and Lights of Love

A photo of pottery showing a wolf howling at the moon

What Do You Do When You Don’t Feel Like It?

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Shashi Penumarthy

Shashi Penumarthy

Instagram @penumarthyshashi

More from Medium

Sealed Brothers: The Creation

Give and Get

What is Rove?