It’s well known that storm-tossed waves often expose new treasures along the shoreline; there is unexpected wealth to be collected by those who know the secret value of rough seas. And yet, even though most of us have little tolerance for anything that “rocks our boat,” the truth of the matter is self-evident:
Unwanted moments introduce us to parts of ourselves that would otherwise never get healed were it not for the difficulties that first reveal them and that lead us to release their pain.
When things go “badly” for us, we’re not intended to “return” to who and what we have been. To see the good in this idea, we must be willing to see that the pain in unwanted moments can either be a rock into which we crash time and time again — a tempest without termination — or that same suffering can be used as an inflection point, a place of real change that exists only when all seems lost.
Let me share three ideas with you about this strange and wonderful kind of spiritual goodness that seems to arrive in a package marked: “Caution! Contents under pressure!” Welcome this light into your life and you will learn to exchange resistance to unwanted moments for being receptive to the lessons they bring with them. Soon you will know, without taking thought, the greatest secret in the universe:
All things good come to those for whom the Good is all things.
1. Even though we may feel badly when we lose whatever we hold near and dear to ourselves, it is good to see that nothing in this world — or that we can imagine — is permanent. Learning to welcome events that foster this understanding helps liberate us from painful attachments to relationships, possessions, and of course, our own bodies. What follows is freedom from all forms of false dependency and their attending fears.
2. Even though we may feel badly when our sense of self-worth is shaken by events, it is good to see in these experiences that any sense of Self derived through images, social powers, acclaim, or peer approval is not who we really are. Learning to welcome events that reveal this truth helps free us from the impossible task of trying to be all things to all people and strengthens our intention to realize our unshakable original Self.
3. Even though we may feel badly when we run into a limitation of some kind, it is good to see that, apart from the certainty behind our own pressing demands on life, nothing else stands in our way. Learning to welcome events that illuminate this new understanding reveals two key lessons about limitless living: The more we resist seeing our own limitations, the greater they become! And when we realize this truth, we see that limitations are illusions: They exist only for as long as we resist going through what we must to prove them false.
There is an old proverb that goes something like this: “God never takes anything from us without giving us something greater in return.” The task for those of us who seek the life divine — those who seek to live from their original fearless Self — is to prove the trust of this timeless idea. Through it, we are set free.
(Excerpted from The Courage to Be Free, Red Wheel/Weiser)