A COURSE IN OBSTACLES – LIFE

 

Life is… a course in obstacles.

 

There are only two ways to live your life;

One, as though nothing is a miracle,

The other, as though everything is a miracle.

                                                                 –  Albert Einstein

 

By contemporary knowledge, I cannot in good faith accept the notion that humankind’s purpose on Earth, is one of enduring a lifetime of suffering in return for being granted an eternity in paradise.

Throughout recorded history, human minds have been co-opted into believing that no pain is ever too much to inflict or endure, creating a legacy rich in “competition of suffering”. Fundamentalist religion has often sanctioned self-misery over self-love and compassion. Piety has entailed a spectrum of harmful behaviors, from self-denial of pleasure to self-flagellation and well beyond. In the extreme, unquestioning believers are expected to demonstrate abiding devotion through acts of holy martyrdom.

Can one begin to imagine what a life without pain and suffering would look like? Suffering takes so many human forms, including illness (physical or mental), financial concerns, relationship stresses, as well as work related demands. So long as life is subject to events of which we have little or no control, outer circumstances fuel our perception that life is a burden to bare.

Who but someone insane, would agree to suffer mercilessly without cause? It seems reasonable if not wise to give up on life, if there is no value in experiencing pain. As a holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankel realized, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” The disavowal of religious martyrdom or any other ideological dogma, permits the independent choosing of one’s attitude. 

If we endure human suffering without cause, its toll is diminished rather than amplified “passion for living”. Living in a state of ennui opposes our spiritual nature; our heart-felt desire to thrive. Faith alone can open our hearts, and provide hope and inspiration for living, despite pain.  

Through tapping into our unconstrained mind-space, we may dive deeply into our spiritual terrain to discover our faith in a benevolent universe. Such an inspired outlook infuses us with the attributes of courage and grace, enabling us to rise above all that follows. I have personally been privileged to know many individuals who endured unimaginable suffering, and yet went on to acquire a greater level of gratitude for life; a reverence that intertwined the raw beauty, love, and divine grace, to soften their pain. 

Today’s pain and stress are interchangeable events,  generated externally. Once internalized, they morph seamlessly into a feeling of loss of control. This perceived loss is what Frankel refers to as the last of the human freedoms. Confusing our outer events and our inner state, serves to weaponize our mind to unleash within us a barrage of activity experienced as anxiety, self-doubt, and other self-defeating emotions.

In past times, inner states of threat were rare, as fear was caused by time-specific, external events that threatened immediate survival.  Reviewing fear through an historical context, suggests it is time to reframe our perception of suffering by reviewing how life and our perception of stress operate in the present-day. Simply put, our life perception today can be distilled down to two things:

1) We are little more than our present-moment awareness, with our thoughts subject to change in each new moment (this implies our perception creates our reality); and

2) Beyond the now, there is potential for creating a future legacy (how our life will be perceived by others), extending beyond our lifetime.

Being concerned with the present moment, let us first seek our truth within by asking ourselves…

  • What if the obstacles that prevent us from embracing life are perceived as purposeful and benevolent rather than random and threatening?
  • What if there exists a universal energy imbued with loving intention that compels us forwards to seek a path that resonates within?
  • What if it is our obligation to seek the ultimate truth of our life, in order to render our lives meaningful?
  • What if all answers already exist embedded in our soul, though not accessible through physical or psychological realms where we typically seek joy?
  • What if our search for happiness through physical and intellectual stimulation, are supplementary to the primary pursuit of satisfying our deeper spiritual longings?

In our elusive search for peace, we seek contentment and the right to be/feel heard. We long to thrive, inherently feeling the need to rid ourselves of the overwhelming feeling that “all is not right” in our world. It takes much humility to find strength within by turning to faith. Acts of humility provide rare glimpses of illumination into the sanctum of our heart. The true peace of our spirit nature resides there. Through humility, we may at last discover divine faith. Who amongst us has not plead our case in desperation? “I will forfeit all my money, if only you will hear my prayer and grant me peace…”

As we are deluged today by the abundance of sensory pleasures through our materially indulgent society, it can take us years to exhaust our selves thoroughly before seeking deeper satisfaction through other realms. Beyond our conditioned beliefs in status, consumerism, a life of excitement and adventure to validate us, lies another inclination. Those acts of self-numbing behaviors, whether drinking and/or drugs that serve as a means of distraction, keep us from the painful truth we prefer to deny. By penetrating the veil of separation, we discover the spirituality that is our essence and integrate with the wholeness of our true nature.

As we finally awaken, we realize the high cost of our long neglected need of inner-peace. Self-deception is incongruent with self-love.  At last, we find a space of re-connection to our core through which we may uncover our personal blueprint for how to thrive in life.

Nature acts with compassion in brazen ways, awakening us from our prolonged slumber. As pain becomes overwhelming, we finally reach a point of knowing a change of course in life is due. We begin to touch upon the miraculous nature of energy, finding its gift easiest to recognize through those obstacles that block our freedom!! 

Suddenly, many things that have caused us pain begin to make sense. We begin to slowly understand that our personal discontent informed the universe to provide us with whatever obstacles are required to shake us free. Ironically, by looking inwards we gain a more expansive perch to discover the optimal steps along our journey; each experience offering us better insight to lead us forwards.

  • Let us awaken now, asserting life’s purpose to love and be loved; as we mindfully cultivate our awareness of all sacred things, living in awe of each moment.
  • Let us pay attention to all manner of universal love, no longer requiring messages infused by pain and suffering. 
  • Let us be free, abiding in peace and contentment, knowing all growth is expansive and directing us towards the fulfillment of our unique purpose.
  • Let us rest assured that each present moment is nourished by Divine grace; granting our eternal legacy of love.

Ebb And Flow: Birth Day Thoughts, Oct. 14, 2016

“Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” Dalai Lama

We are born to experience, learn, grow, and LOVE…. And whether or not we choose to fully embrace the life we are given, one day our opportunities will be spent and our life will be over. As the Dalai Lama warns us, more of a loss than any life ending, is that of a life never fully lived.

If this prognosis is depressing to you, it may be a wake-up call. Every moment offers its own joy; each unwittingly passing you by because of a fundamental disconnection. While you dare to wish for what you desire, life demands more of you in order to attain your desire.

We must live with the intention of making each moment count, immersed in the conscious awareness of giving and receiving of LOVE.

In order to expand beyond superficial awareness, we are granted a long series of experiences from which to learn, as each offers to support and nourish us through growth. We begin our journey as we are expelled from the only home we’ve known; where we have been nurtured in sublime peace through a miraculous 9-month evolution. This marks our transformation from seed to human being through being nurtured and nourished with a mother’s love. The experience may unfold after allowing for possible forceps delivery, perhaps numerous changing of hands from delivering doctor to assisting nurse, as we are flicked for reaction, checked for vitals, and subjected to post-partum cleanup, for good measure. At some point shortly after our first breath however, we are likely to be delivered back into the loving hands of the one whose familiar energy perfectly resonates with our sole/soul experience.

Our earliest moments constitute our arrival into the most sacred mystery of life. Imagine the need for safety and security after the tumultuous experience of birth, as we are quickly united in “oneness” with our source. We now experience love as inseparable from life itself. This hallmark becomes the template for all growth, evoking in us the felt sense of peace through“being loved”. This and other early experiences of love presage our most intimate need for safety, that help us recognize our inherent “right to exist”. All the experiences from birth to mid-childhood will determine our future self-esteem and establish our character. Multi-layers of scaffolding create what becomes our self-identity, the stage on which we will play out all the role(s) of our lifetime.

 There will be a vast array of productions in which to mould our lives, for better or for worse; each providing us with or denying us security and love. Each experience will instil us with hope and optimism, or relentless insecurity and fear. All varieties of scripts are presented for our growth. Each scenario offers something different.Every experience and relationship may deliver us deeper into the loving embrace of life, or to threaten our security by distancing us from our sense of love and safety. We begin as helpless beneficiaries of whatever script is handed us. Powerless and dependent, we cycle between events that move us towards or away from resonance with our heart.

Those who have produced us (parents and caregivers alike), shape us even according to their own early circumstances. We are each a single link in the chain of a multi-generational legacy. If we are truly fortunate, we may enter once again into a familiar sense of oneness, causing our eyes to open inwards in search of the source. A brief experience of resonance may re-awaken the bliss we knew before we were separated from the womb. As though by the wave of a magic wand, we are suddenly awakened from the delusion of separation we suffered upon delivery into the world.

It is difficult to master control of the reigns without the confidence gain through early years of validation through unconditional love. Nature directs the ebb and the flow of energy for all human action and interaction, just as all things under the sun. As energy can be constricted and repressed from self-expression, so too the heart’s over-flowing capacity of to recognizes love emanates from within. Love is the singular, essential, pulsating life force that seeks eternal expansiveness.

Our allotment of days gives us ample time to increasing master our lives. With each step, we can grow in confidence, seizing control through self-directing hands. Increasing clarity helps us chart our own course through life, keeping our eye on the prize that is our sacred destiny. Our heart’s mission is to bring back us into the freedom of being all we are,  breaking ties to all that binds us and blinds us.

Anxiety, depression and other signs of emotional dis-function are demonstrations of diminished life force that act as signposts to awaken us. Too much time has been spent in inattention of our needs.  At other times, our physical body may swell with inflammation, i.e. through chronic manifestations such as irritable bowel, autoimmune disorders, etc. Alternately, we may suffer from various “dis-eases” of constraint that block our vital energy channels; i.e. heart disease, stroke, etc. Shifting direction becomes necessary to achieve a path congruent with our heart’s longing.

All manifestations of disease are to some degree, an externalization of internal oppression. Relentless suffering at our deepest core is unsustainable. Inner-suffocation unleashes our silent scream to awaken us. The long absence from feelings of “unity” and “oneness”  are stirred in order to awaken us from our slumber of delusional thinking. No longer can we be satisfied with “everything is okay”.

 A time before birth, bathing in a womb of security and ease, long forgotten, still resonates. Our whole being longs to return to our familiar mantle of peace and comfort. The body remembers.

Once we have re-experienced bliss for even a single moment, we re-activate the body’s memory; a system of collective and eternal memory embedded in our human physiology, from time immemorial. The re-activation of past bliss-memory is a dramatic moment of re-awakening; a sudden return home to where we feel a sense of belonging. It turns out “home” is that feeling of belonging; indelibly linked to the safety of our first home… the womb. Our experience of feeling a sense of belonging can be re-established at will. All life experiences are opportunities to prime our senses towards varied elusive pleasures, aimed at igniting a longing for the sweetness of coming home.

Each positive experience alludes to the blissful security home offers. Every painful experience awakens in us, the need for what our heart is relentlessly seeking. A life lived with pain, even at the hands of those we consider enemies, is a life pleading with us to awaken to a better reality; the familiar resonance our heart is constantly attuned to.

Mindful choice grants us the ability to choose the path that leads to unity and oneness. Thought is energy. We may thoughtfully pick up the reigns and fully re-possess our energy in effort to direct our journey along a path of love and compassion. As each successive signpost directs us towards a flow of deeper peace and greater ease, we find New Harmony. With each new moment, we gain affirmation of our direction. Our sense of life-flow prevails, while yet-to-come ebbs are minimized as we chart our course in resonance with love.

In the end, this is our journey, alone to determine. We have been set forth in life by those who have come before us. We are given ample opportunity to make of our lives what we choose. On this Birth Day, my wish is for all sentient beings to discover what it means to live in unity and oneness with the flow of life itself, through love and compassion, in peace and with ease.

How Pain Informs and Forms Us – A New Understanding

Every experience we undergo from birth onwards (and many will argue from long before this time) is a defining experience, to a greater or lesser degree. The degree of impact each event has on our lives is relative to its perceived value at the time. We value things most highly when they resonate at the deepest level of our Self.

 

Due to our complete dependence on others in infancy, our core essence is at its most fragile and pure at this stage. As we develop increasing competence, we begin to gradually lessen our dependence on external factors. Until and unless the transition of our power centre (from outer to inner) is complete, we remain insatiably driven to protect our tender core. We continue to adapt, through our innate sense as well as externally driven impositions. Early adaptations to circumstances that threaten our wellbeing and security, along with a constellation of other subsequent protective adaptations, when repeated over time become recognized as our “personality” traits. Whether we are labeled as self-confident and ethical, or arrogant and immoral, depends largely on how our sense of self concretized from early circumstantial challenges, over time.

Behaviors that were once purely adaptive, inured us from suffering our wounds. Through development and maturity, past scars harden and potentially become debilitating. All residue from past wounds left unhealed, even when not overtly crippling, limit our access to a vast potential trove of choices we would otherwise have available to us. Just as a physical scar contracts around its edges in order to bind two tissues of the body, thus limiting our mobility; so too, emotional scarring constrains our expansive potential and impedes the natural emotional resilience we require to stabilize our psyche.

Years of operating under emotional restraint eventually renders us hemmed in by inflexibly narrow parameters. Past incidents that were endured in wordless silence remain entrenched as deeply felt daggers of shame. Shame threatens our sense of self, etching our memories of inadequacy deeply through to our most profound and subtle layers. The closer the wound to our soul, the greater the need for protective measures undertaken to guard our vital spirit.

The past forever informs who we are for reasons above. To ignore, deny, or repress our painful past moments (despite our innate self-protective inclination) prevents healing of those wounds. Without healing, we remain forever limited in our freedom to express, explore, and create our selves outside of externally restrictive boundaries.

Though all behaviors at point of origin serve us protectively, those same boundaries (self-imposed or otherwise), eventually restrict the necessary freedom required to navigate a spiritual awakening and return us home to our Self.

Emotion is in fact, a physical and psychological embedding of our reactive body responses to events when we were unable to express ourselves otherwise, i.e. act out mindfully.

Without rattling our defensive apparatus that has long acted as security for our soul, we are denied access to our most vital field of creative potential. As soon as we begin to shake loose some of our painfully held memories, energy is set in motion. Until shaken free, we are prevented from releasing our pain and regaining our creative freedom required for living fully in the present moment. Pain often provides a direction to move forwards upon its release, but until such time only acts as a yoke of restriction for us to resist.

Painful energetic imprints dig their way deeper and deeper into our central nervous system; psychologically via our personality and physically via illness. Alternatively, physical and psychological symptoms may converge through the ennui of exhaustion from endless consumption of energy used for suppression.

rear-view-mirror

We may view the journey of life as driving on a roadway; focusing on our view ahead through the broad windshield that serves as our primary lens. Simultaneously, we remain aware of visual access to a smaller rear-view mirror; providing not a source of distraction, but a supplementary tool to broaden our scope and further assist us in safely reaching our destination.

If the use of our rear-view mirror becomes a distraction and holds our gaze for more than a moment, we jeopardize our ability to navigate the path directly in front of us. As we navigate our way mindfully, we inevitably encounter unexpected turns and impediments that continually transform the living landscape. A stream of new information, such as those offered by modern “Apps.” can continually update us by feeding more direct routes with less inconvenience to reach our destination. We are wise to be aware of the caveat for all external assistance devices (however well designed to assist us) will at times mislead us by their inherent limitations.  At other times we will be subject to our own errors and limitations, as our shifting awareness moves us from one path to another in search of never-ending ideals or goals.

Only once we have our gaze firmly in line with the primary intention of spiritual growth regardless of means available, are we secure in knowing that all alternate paths lead to the same sacred goal.

Once we accept there are a myriad of ways the universe sets forth for us to attain spiritual growth, we can more readily work towards achieving emotional freedom from past wounds. There is no event that cannot be utilized for the reverent energy it conveys for spiritual elevation.  Pain is often greater than joy (perhaps because its effects tend to stick like Velcro) in providing the ultimate messages we require to learn what is necessary for our spiritual development. Whereas, the impact of even our greatest moments of awe and joy tends to slide off of us over time (comparable to Teflon).

Pain burns deeply under our flesh, into the core of our being as a tribute of remembrance to whom we once were and that “place” we long to return to. Only then, can we be truly at ease with where we are in life; accepting the past and embracing of all of our choices. The singular earnest intention aimed towards spiritual awakening provides all the necessary guiding light for our travels.

We are all aspects of one universal energy, sharing a common origin as well as future; our connection to all divinity exists in a realm outside of time and space. The notion that spiritual growth is not a priority now… maybe later… is the greatest delusion of all. Once we accept there is only now, it is clear there is no time to waste. Make every moment count; for there is only now… and now… and if you miss this message, do not fret, as “now” exists in every next moment you have.

Outside of time, there is no future and no past. There is only now.

Take this opportunity to expand your scope of vision through the entire span of the front windshield. Cleanse it thoroughly for ultimate clarity before starting your journey anew every day. A clear view will diminish careless errors along the way and guarantee a safer ride. It is wise to keep checking the rear-view mirror as well as glancing laterally at side-view mirrors to assist you gaining the broadest possible scope. Those who travel along side your journey will assist in your lateral view, as they share their expectations and advice with you. Be mindful of many, whose personal need for control will attempt to steer you towards the only journey they have control over; their own. With mindfulness, one can never be disappointed regardless of route chosen. All routes emanating from a true heart-felt desire, guided by spirit will bring you closer to fulfilling the mission of your soul.

To glance in the side-mirror is to listen to those around you, all-the-while knowing the external data remains yours for discernment. Check in with your inner GPS frequently and deeply… for guidance directly from the depth of your soul, experienced through the language of your heart.

Every experience along our life journey is a part of what informs our  mission and forms our unique being. Stay focused on the road ahead. Remember the mirrors of time hold sacred information to be used as tools to assist us along our journey.