A Life of Potholes

by Ross Bishop

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”  

Gilda Radner

Do you know anyone who doesn’t have troubles? Think about it. Anyone? We accept problems as a part of life, but doesn’t it seem a little odd that everyone has them, that no one gets off scot-free? And when you find anything that affects everyone, you need to start looking beyond the surface for deeper explanations.

There is a reason that we all have troubles and it has to do with the reason we have come here. You and I are here to work on the places that when we hit a rough spot, do not move with grace. When confronted with a challenge we do not move in harmony. We get scared, don’t believe in ourselves, allow life to be dominated by our fears, etc., etc. You know the routine.

These reactions, our fear responses, are the things that create our troubles. They get us crosswise with other people, tangle us up in a web of self doubt and shame and keep us from experiencing the joy of God’s love! And as much as we hate stubbing our toe, at the same time it is a message to pick up our feet. It is the way life or God or whatever you want to call it, makes us aware of our need to change something (usually our beliefs about ourselves). So the connection between what we came here to complete and our troubles is not coincidental, it is purposeful.

If you didn’t hit an occasional pothole, there would be no reason for you to ever change. And that would defeat the purpose for your being here in the first place. Without potholes, God’s request that you look into what you have been doing would likely be ignored. It pisses everyone off for things to be this way, but it’s the most effective way to complete the work that will bring you “home”. To put it simply, pain is what causes you to change. It is God’s way of insuring that you will complete the work that you came here to do.There will come a day when things will be different, but I will save that discussion for another time.

The critical element is how do you react when you hit one of life’s potholes? If you are spiritually immature, you curse the road, get angry at your car, blame others for creating the pothole, get angry at God for creating potholes, etc. . . .You will do anything but look at your own behavior/beliefs for creating the problem in the first place.

As you mature spiritually, instead of projecting everything outward, you become more reflective. You say, “OK, I am in this situation. So what have I done, what is my contribution, to making things this way?” Or, another way to say it is, “What have I not been listening to that I need to hear?” You quit blaming others or God for your dilemma and accept your role in being where you are. You then set about changing your beliefs (usually about yourself) that created the situation in the first place. And you will reluctantly, eventually, dig yourself out of the hole and stop creating those kind of problems for yourself.

There is an old Sufi saying, “The sage battles his own ego. The fool battles everyone else’s.”

The spiritual master will accept the problem and recognize that it has been created for his or her learning. The master will recognize that it represents

something he or she has yet to complete on the earthly journey. The master won’t wrestle with the situation, but will embrace it and welcome it as the teacher (opportunity for growth) that it is.

The spiritual master won’t like having problems any more than you do, but instead of getting stuck in the situation, he or she will work earnestly to make changes in order to resolve what the problem has brought, because he or she knows that it brings with it an opportunity to move closer to the God Space.

So what can you do today, wherever you are on the learning curve? The first thing to do is to quit fighting with the situation. Regardless of how wrong it is and how right your position is, welcome the problem as a teacher. Now, I’m not asking you to embrace a snake, but recognize that if the situation has presented itself to you, it has something to teach you, (but that something may not be obvious).

Secondly, have a talk with yourself about the situation. What in your belief set needs to change? What’s getting in your way? Maybe it’s not so much what’s on the table as something in the personal dynamics that needs to shift. Are you holding resentments, jealousy, anger or judgements at the other? Or, if no one else is involved, are you having a war with yourself?

And if you can’t get past this, if the wound is simply too deep for you to resolve on your own, retain the services of a properly trained shaman. That sort of thing is our stock in trade. 

At the Last Supper, Jesus gave us the 11th commandment. He said, 

“Love one another as I have loved you.”

copyright©Blue Lotus Press 2019

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