The Western world view pretty much revolves around measuring success by how much one can get or achieve.
The paradox is that true joy and contentment is gained by subtraction — not by addition.
Yes, material things and worldly status can be obtained through acquisition in some form or another, but when have these brought lasting happiness?
Worldly things are temporary and will always leave us, or we will leave them which often brings great suffering — until we learn that less is more.
Status in the world is a fleeting passing thing. It comes and goes so quickly.
Jesus stated so profoundly that it was in losing our life that we find it.
That boggles the mind. What a paradox.
The intellect recoils from such a ridiculous notion. When you give something up you have even more? No way!
But in truth it is in letting go of whatever is dear to us, everything that has a physical basis, that opens us to real living.
When we can stop hanging onto something, trying to prolong its presence and almost begging it not to leave us, that life begins.
Begging for more — more love, more money, more respect, more comfort, more peace — really sucks.
There is no freedom here.
When we can stop looking at our losses as tragic, and begin searching for the gifts that are still here, we will find the real treasures of life, serenity and trust in that which is higher and wiser.
Then we live!
Teilhard de Chardin, a renowned scientist of the Twentieth Century, proves in his great treatise The Phenomenon of Man, that consciousness has evolved by converting loss into gain.
Throughout the eons of evolution every time something was lost in the outer, life transformed it into greater interiority — into more consciousness.
Teihard shows us that the very process of evolution itself converts all loss into a deeper and more profound consciousness which gives life the ability to proceed in more skillful and wholesome ways.
Since humankind is a part of the very essence of evolution, we can apply this to our losses.
When we lose, there is a great potential for a deepening and richer interiority. We only need to open to this possibility.
In actuality we lose ourselves to find ourselves. We lose our present self to experience our future self, which is a greater authenticity.
We find out what is truly meaningful through that which leaves us, and these new values enriches us.
Of course this is easy to talk about in theory. It is the practice of relating to loss (yes, all our personal losses) in a new way, a more nourishing way, that brings us this freedom.
I do my best to remember whatever I’m losing in the outer will bring me something more beautiful. I open to that thought and integrate it in the very small losses throughout my day.
And when I forget, I breathe deeply, and tell myself this is a great truth. That calms me and restores some pleasure in my day or night.
All loss eventually becomes gain. Each of us grows spiritually by letting go.
In my life I have found that my greatest comfort comes from the awareness that I need nothing that is not, at some level, already within me.
I have found this to be true irrespective of what has vanished from my life. If it has been present so far, it seems reasonable to not doubt that it will be so in the future.
As I steadfastly stand in this truth whatever my soul needs seems to come to me. Especially I realize this as I really look around me. What more do I need right this instant?
I continue to ask myself if these are wants or needs.
God fulfills needs, our true needs, so that our souls thrive.
The word want has a root meaning of lack. Wanting is a belief in lack.
I enjoy contemplating this knowledge: what leaves me in the outer at any moment heralds new life, and a new way of experiencing life.
I don’t need to accumulate another thing, or have another person added to my life in order to feel content.
The universe supplies what I need as I give more trust to the universe.
As I let go my stranglehold on what I think needs to happen, space opens for things to work out the way that is highest, the way they need to.
I also let go of the thought that I know what needs to happen.
Proceed as way opens. Take the steps that open. Trust, let go and have fun. It’s a lot more fun not to be responsible for running the show, but to trust in a higher power.
Then we have time for dancing, singing and letting people know how much we love them!
Every loss becomes gain. We grow spiritually by letting go, releasing all that has been, and stepping into the openness of the present moment.
Everything that is taken from us can bring much joy when we learn to let go, surrender to the power of Truth and simply be the presence of love.
Doesn’t this make life simpler?