Much as I would like to have things easy, that isn’t what life is about. And I don’t get my way.
Life is about evolving us, growing us. Life is evolution—and it happens through meeting problems, allowing new solutions to come forth.
Life is about moving into the unknown more agreeably; becoming more complex and making new connections.
This is creativity!
We don’t grow spiritually living the same old patterns each day. Life comes to us with challenges, which become our opportunities.
But if you’re like me we often doubt ourselves as we meet these challenges. Should I do this—or this? Or maybe not do anything. We struggle. We stress.
The struggle is similar to a chicken emerging from the egg. It’s not that easy! We do a little here, a little there, rest a bit and come at it again. Eventually we break through. Something new comes from this stress and tension.
But if we make life a continual struggle, staying with old resistant patterns, fighting these changes, life is very difficult.
There is an easier way!
Instead of resisting the events as they take place, we can learn a different response. We can actually engage with them, inquiring into what is actually taking place, and withholding judgements of good or bad. This takes discipline and much practice.
We learn this through the practice of mindfulness and meditation. We quiet the mind often, breathe deeply and remind ourselves that this is the way it is. This present moment has come about—and our fighting it or resisting it won’t help. It will hinder.
Through this process of investigation, we have time to consider each possible path before us. Taking one step at a time, pausing and remembering that things happen because their “ripeness” has come about. Seeds were sown that have now bloomed and this is the way it is. It has happened and this is the way it is.
Engaging with our difficulties without opposition means that we welcome everything, opening our heart and pushing nothing away.
Yes, there may be sadness. There may be anger. These are simply feelings. They are not “us.” And feelings pass. If we suppress them, deny them, they just go underground and cause problems in the unconscious, where we have little or no control. It is best to accept them and engage in them as they arise.
Some feelings are pleasant and some are unpleasant. Each is just what it is, and each feeling is connected to a belief system that has been held dear. We simply explore what is happening in our heart and mind. It’s amazing how creative we are. Creativity is something we never lose. Our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs create our experience.
I continually remind myself that everything is impermanent and everything is interconnected. Nothing stands alone.
Winston Churchill made an interesting statement when he said that “Success is never final and that failure is not fatal.”
Sometimes we like to glorify our successes—to hold them close to us and take pride in them. However, everything is temporary, including our successes. Learning to let them go is part of the journey.
Nothing lasts—neither success nor failure.
Wisdom comes as we learn from our failures—a wisdom that could never come from success. Rich treasures of understanding come from what we consider a failure—as we allow ourselves to explore how we react to it. As we ask ourselves what our beliefs are, and investigate this belief. Where did it come from? Is it true?
Sometimes we scratch our heads and wonder what happened to that simple life that we used to have. Well, it’s not here now. It’s gone—never to return. And actually while we were living it, it probably didn’t seem so simple. It only appears so in retrospect.
Everything changes. This moment passes away and is no more.
As part of my lovingkindness practice I regularly speak these phrase:
“May I live in ease and kindness. May all being live in ease and kindness.”
It has been explained to me that the word ease doesn’t mean sliding through life without any problems, but instead implies that we handle what is happening in a nonresistant way—even our difficulties. We stop struggling with, arguing and complaining about what is happening. We engage with each moment, seeking to observe what is happening in our mind.
We simply notice what we are clinging to, wanting to happen, and what we are pushing away, not wanting to happen.
We pay attention to how our mind is viewing this situation, simply observing, not trying to figure out solutions. This concept most people of Western orientation find troubling, for we seem to take great pride in solving problems. It makes us feel so important.
I practice noting if I am fighting what is happening or running from it. Or am I simply allowing things to be pleasant or unpleasant, according to how I experience them, without any expectations?
This may sound as if I have given up the reigns—turned life over to something or someone else. But not so.
I don’t always manage this. Sometimes I forget and get caught up in the struggle between good and evil. I have forgotten that the yin and the yang are always in motion and something purposeful is being born out of the seeming chaos.
The path is slow and requires patience. It meanders and follows no known logic. It is sometimes up and sometimes down or sidewise. And I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I don’t know where it is leading.
I only know that nothing else has worked for me. So, I proceed the best I can.