January 2005

Why is Life so Difficult?
by Ross Bishop

I do not have to describe your place of personal darkness. You know only too well the feeling of that dark place and the influence it can have over you. Whether formed by a powerful trauma or simply the painful struggle of growing up, your ăshadowä as shamans call it, has the power to seriously disrupt your life.

Allow me to explain. First, we must consider the one basic principle that guides human existence on earth. Everything that happens here revolves around this principle. It is the reason you are here. This principle is expressed through a simple question, ăDo you love yourself?ä The extent to which you do not determines ö and this is very important ö the experiences you will need in order to: 1. Call your attention to your lack of love for yourself, and 2. Give you the opportunity to change.

Everything that has ever happened to you, every moment, every occurrence, is because of those two points. Thatâs right, Iâll say it again: everything, every event, every occurrence, every moment of your life, is guided and directed by the degree to which you do or do not love yourself.

Take some time and think about the various events of your life from this perspective and you will see what I mean. The problem is that we get all caught up in the smoke generated by our life experiences and lose sight of the ăfireä thatâs creating the ăproblemä in the first place.

Consider where you spend your time and energy. Most likely you go from problem, to problem, to problem, with little time or energy to do much else. Your cup is undoubtedly full to overflowing. There is an old cliché: ăWhen youâre up to your neck in alligators, it is difficult to remember that your original task was to drain the swamp.ä However, this is only partly true.

It is true that when all you can do is to work on immediate problems, it is very difficult to search for deeper explanations. But, it isnât just about time and energy. It is also about focus. Dealing with daily problems necessitates an external focus. You know how it goes: your relationship is rocky, the kids are causing problems, work isnât going well, etc., and as a result, your time and energy are spent plugging the holes in your external life (the surface manifestations).

We stop here because we really donât want to go deeper. We donât understand what is going on, and going into the shadow can feel pretty scary. I want to help you understand the deeper process that is at work so that it wonât seem quite so mysterious.

Also, the spiritual institutions of the time had become incredibly corrupt. They had totally lost touch with the needs of the people. As science and commerce threatened their dominance over society, the various faiths tightened their control, creating forms of religious rigidity (the Inquisition, Puritanism) previously unknown except in cult situations. This rigidity ultimately alienated the populace and hastened the demise of these fundamentalist faiths.

The first thing to understand is that this is not a new issue. You have been wrestling with these dynamics for centuries. In fact, these unresolved past life dynamics are what have shaped the events and circumstances of your present life. In the past, you always ended up on the short end of the stick, so it is understandable that you donât want to look deeper. The important thing to remember is that you have been repeatedly pushed someplace you havenât wanted to go. You have resisted, the Universe has persisted, and as a result, things have gone badly and you have felt a lot of pain. If I say to you, ăLove yourselfä what comes up? You probably canât exactly put your finger on it, but Iâll bet that you can feel some sort of resistance.

Every experience you have ever had, in this life or a past one, involves some aspect of the Universe urging you to love yourself - every experience. So, I am going to ask you to hold on to Principle #1:

ăThis is happening because I need to learn to love myself.ä

And remember, we are talking about every situation. How do you know? Simple: because you get hooked. If you didnât get hooked, it would be just another experience. We get all caught up in the external event, but what is really important is that the Universe is trying to wake you up to the fact that in this kind of situation, you do not love yourself.

This opens the door for Principle #2:

ăTake your focus off the other person.ä

It means no longer persecuting them for wronging you or hurting you. And when you take your focus off them, you stop being victimized by them. Now, you are not going to like what they did, and this is important. It may have even seemed cruel or hurtful, and you wonât like it. But you deal with that part. You donât ignore it, you deal with it. But deal with it with compassion and then let go.

Seeing the situation as a learning allows you to remain focused on what is really happening. This brings us to Principle #3:

ăDeal with the real problem, not whatâs on the table.ä

Most of the time people do not speak their real truth. Maybe they were scared, and all the stuff they said to you was garbage, but when you are focused on your emotions and your feelings of being hurt, it is very difficult to see the other person.

Our focus is usually on the smoke instead of the fire. We rarely look at what is really going on. And if you focus on the smoke, you will miss the real problem. If what is on the surface is not the real issue, as is the case much of the time, youâre going to get hopelessly mired trying to address a bunch of non-issues.

No one likes confrontation. We do it because we feel that we must. When you realize that and start to focus on whatâs really happening, it dramatically alters your response to others and then you can get on to some real problem solving.

When your insides get tugged on by life, the tugging isnât coming from the outside. It may feel like it, but itâs not. It is a product of you not loving yourself. Letâs take an example: somebody calls you stupid. Now, if someone called Albert Einstein stupid, Iâm sure he would have given them a curious look. Why? Because Einstein had to know that he was a pretty smart person. Calling him stupid wasnât going to register on his ăThis is a true statement meter.ä

You, on the other hand, are probably not Einstein. Youâve been called stupid in the past and it hurt. So, if someone calls you stupid, or ugly, or insensitive, etc. today, it will register somewhere on your ăMaybe itâs true meter.ä Note that what they say is far less important than the fact that you are being criticized.

A condemnation coming from an outside source replays your old wounding process. What is important is that you validate it and let it in. That is what makes the difference. It is you who chooses to accept what is said. Therefore the pain that you feel is really a self-inflicted wound. So, this brings us to Principle #4 to log away in your ăImportant Thoughtsä mental card file:


Consider this difference: a friend comes to you and lovingly says, ăYou know, I could have heard you a lot easier if you had . . . ă What happens? You listen. Even if you ultimately do not agree with them, or, you donât like hearing it, youâll think about their suggestion. Notice how in this instance, even though you may be uncomfortable, the focus remains on the message. You probably will not feel the necessity to defend. Whatâs the difference? You felt safe enough to listen. And that is one of the important secrets of life. The reason that life is sometimes so difficult is because we resist. If you can put these principles into practice, you will find that life will get a lot easier.


©2005 Blue Lotus Press.
Reproduction is permitted with attribution.


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April: Islam and the West
March: Why is Spirituality so Difficult?
February: Loving Yourself
January: The Corporation and Society
December: Finding Faith
October: Living Wills
September: When did God become a Fundamentalist? II
August: When did God become a Fundamentalist? I
July: John of God
June: Accepting Love Part II
May: Accepting Love Part I
April: Relationships II
March: Who's Running Your Life?
February: Spirituality and Life
January: Why is Life so Difficult?
December: How do I open my heart?
November: Why can't I meditate?
October: What's the truth and how do I get there?
September: Why can't I heal?
August: The Yuppie Paradox
July: Dealing with Dragons
June: Healing
May: Are you happy?
April: Relationships
March: Shamanism
February: The Loss of Spirituality
January: The Evolution of Faith
December: The Rise of Rational Thought
November: Rationality and Universal Thought
October: Business and the Paradigm of Opposites
September: Institutionalization
August: Domination
July: The Web of Connectedness
June: Depression - Part 3
May: Depression - Part 2A The Aminos
April: Depression - Part 2A Treating with Amino Acids
March: Depression - Part 1