“Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do.”—Byron Katie
The disciples were involved in a heated discussion on the cause of human suffering. Some said it came from selfishness. Others, from delusion. Yet others, from the inability to distinguish the real from the unreal. When the Master was consulted he said: “All suffering comes from a person’s inability to sit still and be alone.” There is great truth that being alone in silence is a worthwhile antidote to overcome the weight of human suffering. We languish in sorrow because outside events unsettle our sense of stability. When intense or negative emotions arise, there is a tendency to escape them. This could be attributed to the view that negative emotions should be tossed aside and not confronted. The nature of reality is filled with pain and suffering. Interspersed are moments of joy and happiness to the degree that no untoward condition is permanent. It is how we respond to the difficult times that points the way to our personal growth.
I enjoy the message by spiritual teacher Pema Chodron who writes in When Things Fall Apart, affirms: “Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it.” We accept life’s unfolding events by allowing experiences to move through us with unreserved patience. The moment you resist pain, it pushes against you with an overpowering force until you concede. Have you experienced this before? The more you resisted, the more intense the suffering? Our darkest hour, however frightening can never extinguish the illuminating radiance of our being. Consider it to dimming the lights inside our home to impose darkness while it’s still daylight outside. Even through concealed curtains, the light still penetrates the dark. Striving, longing and expecting are ways the mind places barriers around our happiness. We never know what life will bring, so we let go of fixed outcomes and trust conditions will advance of their own accord.
This is the message echoed in Michael Singer’s acclaimed book The Untethered Soul in which he writes: “The only permanent solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality.” When we resist life, we are called to surrender to the unfolding conditions. In the moment we concede to universal intelligence, we merge with the natural order of events. When pain emerges, we must drop into it instead of resisting it. Why? Because our resistance signifies our opposition to life. It is our resistance to what is that is the source of suffering, not the pain itself. This is when we must trust in our capacity to overcome whatever arises. Trust in life and the unseen forces that conspire to help us in the unfolding of our personal story. We must learn to celebrate life, knowing the sequence of events change. What seems unwelcomed at first may become our greatest teacher. We expect the foundations to be laid before assuming the worst. Our life’s journey is composed of layers, concealed by the weight of past conditioning. By allowing life to unfold through us, we consent to uncover those layers. Similarly, as we encounter an experience and overcome it, another layer is revealed.
It is this truth that is echoed by authors Charlene Belitz and Meg Lundstrom in their book The Power of Flow: “If you get real comfortable, it’s less likely you’ll make a lot of progress. If you’re always seeking pleasure, you’re not necessarily in Truth.” Unpleasant feelings are not to be avoided, yet embraced. This does not mean we ought to celebrate pain, though accept circumstances as they arise, knowing there’s a vital lesson contained within it. The moment we declare our intention to move through pain, we activate the wisdom to overcome undesirable events. When we shy away from an experience, we resist the moment. As you know, that which you resist intensifies until you are called to face the truth, amidst untenable circumstances. At the least, to embrace life is a commitment that what transpires will do so of its own accord. We have two choices: resist what emerges or accept it with trusted humility.
What appears threatening at first is identical to thunder on a sultry night: loud and confronting, yet leads the way for the looming rain. There is a reassuring quality in the wake of every experience. Even in the ravages of a natural disaster, the human spirit cannot be overshadowed. To rebuild one’s life, with stronger foundations is testament to our grounding legacy to survive any untoward condition. Yet, everything works out for the best if we get out of our way and embrace all that is. Life is a self-organising system, functioning irrespective of our resistance to it. This same force responsible for creating the cosmos has a good handle on the organisation of the universe, given its 14 billion year history. It was the transformational author and critical thinker Werner Erhard who taught: “Life will resolve itself in the process of Life Itself.” There is little for us to do other than stay attentive to the outcome. To embrace all that is, we must expand our notion of suffering to correspond with the natural order of events. By spending quiet time in reflection every so often, we quiet the mind to allow the voice of reason to emerge, through the stillness of life.