Here is what I have discovered about which spiritual teacher or master is the one for you:
When you hear them or read their words, you recognize that what they say is something you feel you’ve already known, but were unable to articulate it. And the gratefulness for this feels immense! Then a beautiful love affair unlike any other starts to grow.
Once you find someone who does that for you, you’ve come home…to your teacher.
“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!
For much of my life, I sought to avoid struggles. I found ways to divert from situations and people that were difficult. What I didn’t know then was that the diversion produced as much if not more pain than dealing with the situation.
And then, somewhere I began to understand this. Maybe I had gotten enough of the pain; maybe meditation gave me a clearer view of what I was doing. I realized that going INTO the situation not only was less painful than I had imagined, but it actually helped RESOLVE it!
What I know now is that the struggles I have hung in there with, as well as those I avoided, have given me an amazing foundation of understanding. They were essential for me to be the present ME! And when I remember this, it produces an amazing feeling of gratitude for my life and what has happened in it so far…
The Sufi mystic, Rumi has said this so beautifully:
If God said,
Rumi, pay homage to everything that has helped you enter my arms,
I have heard again and again the mind saying in various ways, “Same old same old.” This is the formula for boredom and fatigue. The mind can easily make everything known; so when I am identified with the mind, I take life for “granted” and feel disconnected.
One way I’ve discovered to wake up to life is: first, to just become aware of this boredom mindset. Meditation helps by giving me space to dis-identify from the mind’s chatter. Then I am able to remember a simple process – that wherever I am, whatever I am doing, to look for miracles along the way!
Suddenly the expansive feeling of gratitude often appears, like a gift from existence…as I find more miracles than I can count! Give it a try…
Since for most of us, this is a season of giving and receiving, I felt it was a good time to share how they function in my life.
Giving has always been the easier of the two. And while I have miserly moments, I am generally a “good giver.” (My last name is German and literally means one who gives!)
I became much clearer about my giving when I looked at my ability to receive…gifts, compliments, criticism, etc. I saw that I was really a miser in receiving! While on the surface I was a humble, acknowledging receiver, underneath I was VERY uncomfortable in receiving these things!
Digging deeper, I realized that in giving, I was in control. But, in receiving, I had to be vulnerable and NOT in control! So my “work” has been to watch carefully how I am in both giving and receiving.
Now, I often give something in contradiction to the mind’s refusal. And when I am given something, I watch the squirming part of me and let it know that it is alright to squirm and feel vulnerable. When I stop fighting these vulnerable moments, they can be so full of bliss and gratitude…
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”
Charles R. Swindoll
I keep experiencing that life is so little what is “out there” and so much what is inside the mind! It’s like looking at life through filters, and filters upon filters. And then, every once in a while, the filters fall, and something unexplainable, something beyond words, becomes the real. And what follows is the expansive feeling of gratitude…