Be it health, wealth, relationship, work or any other of life’s experiences and challenges. Some journeys are more obvious, learning to deal with the death of a loved one, facing a serious illness or other catastrophic situations like a hurricane or a divorce. Other journeys which we may not think of as journeys are some of the roles we play, such as daughter, son, parent, friend, lover, caretaker or what we do to earn a living – I’m a doctor, lawyer, teacher, street cleaner. Or it could be a journey of learning to master some skill such as riding a bike, becoming a painter. Even learning how to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ can be a journey. Each and every one of our daily experiences is a journey is some form.
You can even say each day is a journey. I like to think of my days in this way. I can set my intention for the day through meditation ,reading and writing practices at the beginning and then watch as the day progresses how much I am able to stay in the Present Moment, and how much my conditioning and beliefs pull me out of my inner joy and into some belief that things/life shouldn’t be that way, or should be this way. And there’s my learning right there.
Ego can have such a huge influence in all our experiences and it isn’t until the awakening process begins that we become aware that perhaps there are other ways of thinking and doing and being.
It’s the Journey
The saying It isn’t the destiny that is important, it is the journey, never rings more truly than when we are in the middle of situations that are painful. We look to escape the pain, we look for a pain free outcome and the choices we make will be based on how we have learned to do just that.
Take a drink to ease the pain. Eat a snack to ease the pain. Watch TV to ease the pain. Take a pill or some other substance to ease the pain. Go out on the town to ease the pain. Work to escape the pain. Surf the internet/engage in social media/ … put your own escape-from-pain mechanism in there. These are solutions of the mind. And as we know, whether we admit it or not, they don’t cure the cause, they merely delay another outbreak of pain.
In time, if a situation is chronic, we may be driven to seek other solutions and that becomes a journey in itself.
An Element of Awakening
But in the end, no matter the means, the journey becomes spiritual. It becomes an element of awakening. If you look back over your life at issues that you have risen above and found solutions for that worked, if you look deeply enough, you will find the spiritual component that awakened you to a higher level of awareness. Maybe faith, maybe trust, maybe compassion or a greater awareness of the power of Presence in action.
One of the biggest elements of awakening we learn, is surrender. Total and complete surrender to any situation is a great enlightener.
Sometimes you may not have even been aware that there was a challenge you were facing, and yet a solution appeared. I recall in the early years of my marriage – in the 70s – how a solution appeared in the form of a lady giving a talk on energy and angels. I was unaware of my own unconsciousness, but that talk led to a gradual awakening of who I really am as an energy field in a physical body experiencing life on this planet. The roles I was playing of wife and mother, with which I was deeply identified, weren’t who I really was, and that identification was keeping me trapped in unconsciousness. The roles we play are in fact opportunities for Presence to express Itself. I AM Life Itself expressing through my roles as a wife and mother.
Was there pain in that unconsciousness? Yes. The preconceived notions I had of how life should be, of how people should be, of how I should be, ruled me. As I became more aware that there was more to life, those notions started to dissolve. Very slowly to be sure – but the relief in knowing there was more to who I really was and that my ego didn’t have all the answers, was huge – in hindsight – and has held strong throughout all the years since.
Did all my challenges disappear? No – dissolving ego patterns can be a lifelong challenge. There have been many times when ego patterns and surfaced and I have caved in to them. But somehow, that inner awareness, though dimmed in those times, has continued to shine and eventually bring me back home to a place of deep inner peace. Along with an awareness of what caused me to cave and the knowing that isn’t who I really am.
The Eternal Search
My life recently has involved much physical pain – the pain of deteriorating joints and muscles long compromised. So how is that a spiritual journey? The process is the same. Sitting in Presence very often helps alleviate at least some of the pain. Somehow it changes form, and isn’t so dominant. As that amazing energy of Life Itself floods my cells, there is a deep peace, despite the pain. And most of all, the frustration and fear that engages pain so powerfully, dissipates.
Part of this particular journey has involved visiting specialists, doing specific therapies and even surgery. The mind in its quest for solutions will go surf the internet for understanding and alternative remedies and the mass of information can sometimes be quite overwhelming.
But I have learned from past journeys. Presence comes first. There are many possibilities – this is an incredible planet we live on, in the most amazing and complex physical body systems. And far-reaching scientific solutions are continually being discovered. But they aren’t the full solution if I am not first rooted firmly in Presence.
Facing any of life’s challenges from a place of Presence changes how we see those challenges. Being rooted in Presence dispels fear, anger, anxiety and depression and gives us fresh courage. It brings reminders that challenges are of this planet and if we see them as a means to awakening, they take on a whole different perspective.
Solutions Live in the Now
We can take comfort in the knowledge that all solutions to all situations already exist in this present moment, in the now, remembering that no other moment exists. The past ONLY exists in the mind as does the future. So if the solutions already exist, it simply means that we don’t know yet what those solutions are. But Presence does. So we can let go of needing to control and direct the situation and instead we can become alert ‘cats’, watching the hole in the wall for the ‘mouse’ – the next step. Presence brings us the next step as surely as the night follows day. Our job is simply to look for it and to act on it.
From a place of Presence, though nothing much may change outwardly, peace and trust can arise, and a deep inner knowing that all is well, no matter what. It’s a journey and we do not walk it alone.
The challenge is to maintain that level of knowing, to not react to outer circumstances. In some ways it can feel like moving in the dark – you are blind because you cannot see where you are going. And indeed, from the mind’s perspective, you can’t. But you are so much more than the mind. And that is the journey. That is the awakening.
You have to experience that deep, inner knowing in order to be able to totally trust in it, to let everything else go, if only in small glimpses at a time. But when you do, you will know beyond all else, that this is Truth. When you make time for more and more small glimpses throughout your day, your faith grows. And grows. And grows. And the ‘mouse’ appears. And you know it to be YOUR ‘mouse’.