The awakened sages call a person wise when all his undertakings are free from anxiety about results; all his selfish desires have been consumed in the fire of knowledge. The wise, ever satisfied, have abandoned all external supports. Their security is unaffected by the results of their action; even while acting, they really do nothing at all [i.e., nothing producing karma]. Free from expectations and from all sense of possession, with mind and body firmly controlled by the Self, they do not incur sin by the performance of physical action.
Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 4.19-21
I have a friend who is constantly in an uproar. She had the most difficult time dealing with change, in spite of the fact that life is nothing but change. She always felt that somehow she was in the wrong place, either physically or in life. She was either angry at life, or angry with herself most of the time. She was convinced that she had landed in the wrong place and was unable to accept her life. One day, a woman, from whom she would never normally have accepted advice, told her that the reason her life seemed so miserable and mine did not was because I was able to flow. That statement hit her like a ton of bricks. I think that at that moment, she realized that the quality of our lives has nothing to do with life itself, but how we approach it. However my life was going and wherever I happened to be, it was my belief that everything was as it should be. I felt, that if I am here, here is where I am meant to be.
I frustrated her every time that I said it. I have always considered myself to be very lazy and really averse to suffering. So, it always seemed simpler and less painful to accept my life as it was rather than to suffer, by resisting the circumstances that obviously exist. It has always just seemed logical to me to play the cards that I have been dealt rather than wasting time and energy, especially emotional energy, fighting what is, because I don’t like it. That, in my opinion, is like beating an impenetrable wall because it is in my way, rather than just looking for a way around it. My philosophy is to acknowledge its existence, and then seek a way around it, and if one cannot be found, then I accept that there is a good purpose for it being there. I prefer to use my time and energy rather than waste it. I am lazy!
Living in the flow does not mean that life becomes a bed of roses (without the thorns). It doesn’t, it is a bed of roses with the thorns. And sometimes life pricks us. That hurts, but that is ok, as long as we feel it, maybe even have a tiny pity party. We need to acknowledge what we feel, but after that it is best to try to find the lesson in the experience and move on. Flowing is not pretending that everything is amazing and it’s always wonderful to be alive. Flowing is not looking to blame life, anything or anyone else. It is not even looking to blame ourselves – it is acknowledging that we are here to learn and grow, and if we can enjoy our selves during the journey that is great. But we don’t come here to enjoy ourselves and perhaps learn a few lessons along the way. We don’t have to leave Home to have a good time; we have to leave home to have the experiences that help us grow. As we each grow, we ALL grow, the Universe grows, Spirit grows, love grows. The goal of humanity is to become humane, and we do that one human at a time.
If you want to run a marathon you train. If you want to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, you climb. If you want six pack abs, you exercise. The accomplishment of these goals requires pain. However, because our eyes are set on the goal, the pain is overridden by the ever-present goal. Rather than holding us back, the pain pushes us ever forward, acting like an aid in helping us to reach our goals. We are always certain that the struggle to reach the goal is justified by the reaching of it. We feel each moment of pain as a moment that brings us that much closer to our goal. The end justifies the means.
Why is this pain so tolerable and accepted while the pain of life seems, much more often than not, to be an end in itself? The reason is because the goals that our souls seek are not material, and neither will be the reward. We cannot know the purpose of each experience that we have that causes us to suffer until the experience is far enough behind us for us to see where we were, as apposed to where we are. From that point we can, with detachment, understand that where we are is better spiritually than where we were, and worth the price.
We are conscious of setting our material goals, we are consciously aware beforehand of the pain required to reach them, and, even more importantly have chosen to suffer that pain, so the pain itself is experienced as a step that brings us closer to that goal. Here on this plane, when it comes to material goals we choose the end and accept the means. Our spiritual goals are chosen by our souls, we here in body, are unaware of those goals until we have experienced the pain and reached the goal. We have to be able to believe that there is a spiritual goal that has been chosen by our souls and work our way back. I know many people who will suffer the pain, over and over again. Rather than growing closer to the goal, they are pushed further and further away by bitterness, anger and resentment. They are not able to believe that anything can happen here that is not instigated here. Faith is the key to connecting the goal with the journey to it.
Faith in what we do not know, and faith in the knowledge that every step we take is a journey towards Spirit. Faith that begins with “God is good, all the time, all the time God is good”. If we believe this first, it is easier to connect the spiritual dots. If we don’t believe this first, we cannot hold onto the faith that this material betrayal, disappointment, loss and suffering can have a justification that is in no way connected with the pain.