“But for the grace of God go I.” I stopped…and took this in.
What does it mean? It means that I should be thankful for where I am, because I could be far worse off. But that kind of comparison breaks down when I understand that I could also be far better off than I am. And besides, what kind of a game is this to find thankfulness in others misfortunes?!
But that’s only part of it!! What I see as a “misfortune,” existence often shows me is really a space of amazing potential, where I could learn far beyond what I am now learning about myself and life.
Take Helen Keller and her plight for example. Blind and deaf…. How much more difficult could existence make it for her? And yet, as a result, she was able to “see” and understand things about life that those with sight and sound hardly ever see.
So, if we are on this planet to learn about ourselves, we don’t need a comparison with those in different circumstances to feel grateful.
And once I understood that, ALL of this life was there for me to learn from, nothing became excludable, and all became teachers. And that is how I continue to find the life I love!
And for THAT, I feel tremendous gratitude!
What I understand about awareness is that it isn’t “incremental” – a little bit, then a little bit more, then a little bit more. Rather it is the constant learning that “here I am again, identified with the mind,” which happens again and again! So, I have to keep peeling, with everything I’ve got, until some fortuitous moment when it becomes so clear that whatever “I” am doing, “I” will never get “there!” Then there is the possibility of a quantum leap into the unknown.
Knowing that death is not an “if”, but only a “when” that I cannot predict, I invite as much awareness into my life as possible with meditation, so that when death comes, I will have the possibility of being aware as it comes.
Here is a beautiful video about a woman’s preparation for her impending death.
It is an inspiration to me…
A friend asked the question, “how does one maintain compassion and patience with those that are not being compassionate and patient with them?”
Here’s my answer:
As a kid, I developed three strategies to cope with those difficult situations: fight, flight, or freeze. So when I find myself in similar situations now, the knee-jerk reaction is to move into one of those three. The only way I know of getting out of this reaction is through meditation. It gives me the tools of watchfulness and awareness…and the understanding that connecting with myself brings me back to what got triggered inside ME; and eventually to a clearer, more compassionate space – for myself and for the other person. The key here is meditation…
I heard Osho say, “Never act out of fear.”
This has been a constant reminder to me to stop…and observe whether I am acting out of fear. It doesn’t mean that I never act out of fear. What does happen is that in the stopping, I get a chance to experience the fear. And that moment gives me a space to shift, if it’s possible. Sometimes it’s not possible….
But there have been many times when just catching the fear – and how it penetrates the choices – has transformed the moment from fearfulness to awareness.
Why not give it a try? Just start with Osho’s statement and see where it takes you!
Have you ever noticed that big problems are usually small problems that weren’t dealt with, or were not given enough attention and awareness?
It’s amazing to me how many times this is true! Check it out for yourself.
(Then the next step is to explore why we disregard the small problem!)
My experience of dealing with polarities has led to the understanding that they only exist as opposites in the mind! There, they are certainly contradictory. Outside of the THOUGHTS of good and bad (= outside the mind), they are complementary! Night and day – as with good and bad – aren’t two separate things; they are deeply joined together.
And certainly to connect with our hearts is a way to be outside the mind! And the only way I know of really doing this is to connect with the silence and stillness inside of us through meditation.
So for me, meditation has become the key. It opens the door to greater awareness and clarity.
Now, when I remember, I stop trying to “become” something, which just creates another polarity in the mind (who I am now vs. who I want to become)! And in those moments when I relax into who I am – in that relaxed, accepting space – I have found that doing what I had perceived of as “good” happens without any notion of good or bad – and without any effort! What a paradox!