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.

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