Difficulties arise because they are part of the journey. They grow us. It’s how we relate to them that makes all the difference.
Remember the Greek myth about Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the hill only to watch it roll back down, and push it back up the next day—and the day after that, and the next, and on and on?
For instance, just when you finish cleaning the house, it begins getting dirty. When you have washed all the dishes, people soon get hungry and food is to be prepared. More dirty utensils.
When you finish exercising, you know it is to be done again tomorrow, or soon.
We never complete our tasks. Nothing stays finished. And everything is impermanent.
The answer becomes the next question. The solution becomes the next problem.
Everything new will grow old. Just look at those beautiful spring blossoms!
Yes, we live in the midst of constant change, uncertainty and difficulties.
You may ask: “Did I sign on for this? Well, if you’re here, I would guess that’s a Yes.”
The gift comes as we walk through the difficulty, not try to make it go away.
Compassion is our answer to difficulties—not judgment.
Life continually asks us to come up higher; to become more of the divine being we already are--but we don’t really know it yet.
This knowing comes through engaging skillfully with the difficulty, by knowing we are not alone, that divine energy of grace carries us through this process.
We can do this!
We don’t have to push what we don’t want aside, or try to figure our way out.
The way out is in and through.
The way we “see” the difficulty is the difficulty.
Do we see situations as problems to be fixed?
If so, our perceptions are off. All things arise so that we might learn something beautiful; something we did not know before.
We can learn to say: “This is a difficult moment. It’s hard and it hurts. But I am willing to see something new and powerful here, something that will bless my life, as well as the lives of others. I am willing to stretch so that I can see other possibilities. And I will do my best to be patient through this experience.”
This practice of affirmative prayer helps us investigate and learn, rather than judge. This leads to understanding and serenity.
To be free of suffering we must look closely into the causes of suffering. We have to find the roots, or we will continue to experience the effects of these causes.
First we have to admit that we are hurting—that we feel dissatisfied, conflicted, and perhaps angry.
Then, instead of blaming, we begin to explore how the suffering arose--and it’s not someone’s fault. No one is to blame.
It came from a belief—a way of perceiving ourselves and the world.
What attitudes cause us to feel and experience whatever we are feeling?
My favorite prayer is: Let be revealed that which I need to see.
If I am hurting, I am missing something.
Let me open to “what is”—not my opinion about “what is,” but the direct experience that my body and senses show me.
Let me wait patiently and watch all that shows up.
Let me open by mind and heart to this experience, just as it is right now.
Let me speak and act as I am guided. If spirit is guiding, the words and actions will harm no one. They will be filled with compassion and honesty.
As I wait, I open my heart and wish everyone well.
Gandhi has said, “What you do may seem insignificant, but it’s vital that you do it.”
Those words have carried me through many times of discouragement. It’s called trusting what I can’t see, and taking the small steps I can.
Doing my daily exercises even when I’d rather not gives me the gift of self-respect, for I have kept my agreement with myself.
Making that difficult call, or taking the time to connect with a friend brings me the gift of feeling happier. Again, self-respect.
If I get prideful about this, swell up just a little bit, then that will be my next difficulty.
“Pride goeth before a fall.”
Little and often, as I meet each unpleasant event, I gradually develop patience. Patience and perseverance lead to wisdom.
And true wisdom is the art of loving ourselves and everyone as deeply as we can.
Every difficulty can become a path of becoming stronger and wiser when approached by knowing that something good is eventually going to come about through this situation, whether we can see it or not.
Learning to move through the dark days and just put one foot in front of the other is the effort that assures the eventual victory.
Full effort is full victory!
The human soul is always triumphant as it learns to grope in the dark, and get back up when it has fallen. The soul learns to find new paths.
And can we also see the humor about entering a world in which we grow by facing difficulties? It’s sort of funny—If it didn’t hurt so much!
Gentle, good humored laughter helps keep us moving forward even when things are darkest. Now might be a good time to laugh!
In lovingkindness, Rev. Billie