Ever notice how one problem can lead to a downward spiral? Other problems, known and imagined, come floating forward out of some foggy abyss, appearing persistently and unbidden in your thoughts. “What if…? If only… I should have…” And on and on…
I have a couple of beloved family members with some very serious problems right now. Their lives are basically falling apart. My suffering around this is intensely wrenching, the definition of suffering being “wanting something to be different from what is.”
My suffering impacts my health. I literally slide back into joint pain and visible inflammation when I get upset about this situation. Unlike the many studies saying being happy is good for your health, suffering produces a contraction in your body, which cuts off circulation, which keeps the nutrition and healing inherent in your red and white blood cells from distributing easily throughout your body.
What to do?
1. First of all, I want to remember that even though it looks like individual people are making decisions I may not like, it is all part of the Divine Plan. Things that happen that I don’t like … all part of the Divine Plan.
What does this mean, this Divine Plan? It means that your Soul has a personal growth agenda when it comes into this life. All events are orchestrated for one reason and one reason only: to bring up whatever comes up inside of you.
And why? To give you another opportunity to resolve old issues that are coming up, perhaps with a new face that you might not recognize until you take some quiet moments and sit and look, “What’s really going on here? What might this be about? In what way is this feeling I’m having familiar?” If you can identify what it looks like it’s about, you can be sure it’s not about that! There’s always something much deeper going on.
Rather than over-dwelling on the details of the problem, just sit with the feelings that are coming up in response to it, and notice where they feel familiar. This noticing has a way of dissolving your resistance to the problem, which then allows the situation to shift.
2. Even while your Soul is busily arranging your life for your personal growth opportunities (seeming obstacles), your personality is not at all happy about these turns of events. The personality thinks life is about success in career and relationships, having fun, watching movies, etc. Even though these are the busyness of life, their real value from a Soul perspective is in what they bring up inside of you and the opportunity to resolve it.
So I ask myself, “If I could push a magic button and save my beloveds from their suffering, have their lives be all fun and success, but they would have to forego Soul growth, would I want that for them?” For me the answer is always, “No,” because it would be a hollow fun and success… not the deeper feelings that fulfill a Being and really make life worth living. Just being who we are becomes more full and enjoyable, even after we pass onto our life between lives.
3. Happiness is an inside job. The corollary is this: if your happiness is dependent on someone else doing something or not doing something, or on outside events going the way you want them to, you’re in trouble. You’ve just given all your power away, including your power to find happiness within Yourself. That feeling of powerlessness exacerbates the problem.
4. Last, but most certainly not least, Aaah … Surrender. Poor Surrender. So misunderstood. Surrender does NOT mean to lie down like a doormat. Surrender is a pro-active state. It is totally empowering. We’ve gone full circle. It is the opposite of suffering.
Remember the definition of suffering?
Suffering: “wanting something to be different from what is.” So surrender is simply allowing things to be as they are … and consciously, purposely, relentlessly, choosing to Be that aspect of Creation that is happy regardless.
For me, I can just look at the blue sky or the white clouds, or the new flowers springing up so full of happy life. I can feel into the wonderful Beings in my family and keep envisioning their lives being happy and fulfilling. Whatever makes you feel good is what is going to work here.
And then, this is important, then you do what needs to be done … the chopping the wood and carrying the water Ram Das talked about so long ago in Be Here Now (1971).
I just gave myself a spiritual counseling session here. I invite you to gift it to yourself as well.
Please join me in the meditation below, where we will enter the mysterious realm of release.