I was remarking to my therapist the other day that it seems like I do all is work on myself: I meditate, I write, I pray, I affirm, I consciously bless people, I am conscious of my thoughts and actions and yet, I often still feel lost.   Here I am, still needing to do all of these things in order to be sane.   And she wisely said, “Well, what’s the alternative?”  HA! Indeed.

And what is so wrong about needing to balance ourselves: Disciplining our minds, Being attentive to our thoughts and actions?  Is there something in me that feels that I should be beyond this?  That somehow, I’ve done my karmic work and I should be able to kick back and enjoy it?   I’m pretty sure even the Dalai Lama still chips away at his karma everyday.  (He wakes up at 3:30am everyday to meditate.)   So, maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised that there isn’t a get out of jail free card.

The thing is about life is that we can’t skip steps.  There is no way to the other side but through.  We can’t fast forward and we can’t pause.  We can’t skip the pain that enlightens and clarifies us anymore than we can hold on to fleeting bliss.  And we are going to the other side even though in every moment it feels like we are standing still.  And when we get there, it will just be a lot more of this NOW thing that we all talk about…

We have to live our lives and embrace them in their essential grace and clunkiness.  We have to go through it.  We are going to go through it whether we are conscious of it, whether we work on ourselves or not, so why not take the blinders off?  Why not make the journey a tad bit easier to navigate even if it seems like more work?  To be honest, I don’t know how anyone can get through this life without a spiritual practice.  To me, that is a much more terrifying approach – and not because I believe in a spirituality that is all unicorns and rainbows, but the exact opposite.   In Buddhism the essential cause of suffering is understood to be ignorance.   There is no promise of a life without pain or suffering,  but when we pay attention, we can also forgo causing more of our suffering by holding on to the past or the future.

And so we go through it. We fearlessly say to life: I am here, right now, and I’m ready to work it out.  In this moment. In every moment.  And in doing so we free ourselves from the binds of yesterday’s thoughts and tomorrow’s worries, if just for a moment to realize who we truly are.
And if we can access peace in a moment, that moment changes us.  A moment of peace is a miracle in and of itself.  What else could we be searching for?

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