One question that vexes almost everyone is, “What is the purpose of my life?” “Why am I here?” When he was asked this question, the Buddha replied, “Life is pain.” Although true, his answer could stand a little explanation.
You came to earth to learn to love yourself. How will that learning take place? Because you don’t yet love yourself, you’ll operate from your ego, leading to the creation of “problems.” After all, the ego is an extension of your unfinished awareness and it primarily operates from fear, guaranteeing that you’ll either get your feathers ruffled or ruffle those of other’s. So, we have a partial explanation to the Buddha’s answer that, “Life is pain.”
But there is more. You typically get caught up in the struggle and hurt feelings (theirs and yours). I am going to ask you to set your feelings aside for the moment and look at what “a problem” really is.
A problem is The Universe’s way of calling attention to a place where you’re not finished – where you do not move with grace. Yes, there is another person involved, and they need to look at their part of this issue, but this has become a problem (as opposed to a situation) because you got hooked. That means that some part of this is yours! As I said, we get caught up in the drama of the situation and (conveniently) do not want to look at what is being asked of us. But this explains the other part of the Buddha’s answer. Life asks us to grow and the way it wakes us up to where, is through our pain.
So, we essentially have two different things going on. At the ego level you’ve got this other person to deal with and at the spiritual level, the situation offers the opportunity for growth. An unpleasant and unwelcome one perhaps, but nonetheless an opportunity. The saving grace is that on both levels the solution is the same. As Gay Hendricks says, “The only thing any situation needs is more love.” You may not like what the other has done, but you can love them for who they are nonetheless and that will make resolution easier at the ego level anyway. Think about this for a minute: God does not judge you (or others) for your “inadequacies” or “failings.” He sees them for what they are. If He does not judge, how can you?
Does this mean that you should just go through life doing what you want? Actually it does. If you were to let your inhibitions go and really be “yourself,” other than your immediate fantasies, you really wouldn’t do much differently than you do today, but you would feel a lot better about it! And if you would do things differently, you need to look at your life! The point is, you have some learning to do. Don’t make such a big deal of it! Work on your stuff, for sure, but let it go at that.
So, since you are here to learn to love yourself, let’s consider your resistance, because it isn’t what you probably think it is. We view our problems as coming from our inadequacies – you aren’t smart enough, you aren’t pretty enough, you are overweight or skinny, you don’t have it together, yada, yada, yada. . .
Now, you may need to work on your weight or your behavior, but not for these reasons. The issues that produce shame are working the other side of the fence. They are calling your attention to an unfinished area of your awareness. This isn’t about your weight at all, but your vulnerability to criticism – and that’s a different issue. You don’t move energy well when criticized, and that is why you are here. So, work on loosing weight or whatever, but when you move into shame, you lose the ability to learn from the situation.
Some of us go through life continually pitching our problems out the window, because we don’t want to look at our part in them. We just want to blame the “other.” That strategy only works for a while, because The Universe has a built-in safety mechanism. It’s called stress leading to disease. Avoid a problem, create stress. Avoid it long enough, and face disease. Hospital surgical wards are filled with people who have been given a life or death choice – change or die. You get to decide.
Let’s take the subject of love. We can assume that there are some situations where you hold back and don’t move easily into love. In all probability those feelings didn’t start with the present situation. You can link them back to events that happened 30, 40, sometimes 50 yeas ago. In the past, you were left with the impression that if you opened up, you would be hurt. Now for a child, that is true. Children are dependent on external sources for love and support. But as an adult it’s not. You cannot really be hurt. When a situation goes badly, you may not like it, you’ll feel terrible and things can get very unpleasant, but short of physical hurt, you cannot be harmed.
You are going to have a “problem” in that area, because your ego can get totally bent out of shape and it has come to encourage you to see that. As I said its not punishment for your behavior, but to open your eyes to a place where you can be shamed and where you do not move energy well. Frankly, you’d rather avoid it. But the persistence of the problem won’t let you do that (funny how problems are built that way).
The ego is a protective system, designed to let spiritual awareness in as you are able to handle it (whether you feel ready or not). So, you may not be able to see what’s going on. You may be so wrapped up in your ego that the spiritual side of this whole thing eludes you. That’s OK, The Universe has time. . .