Hello dear friends of On the Wings of Dreams! I return from my unannounced summer hiatus with a new Reflection. There is no way I would miss September, as it is the 3rd anniversary of Reflections by Tee. Happy Anniversary to us!
This morning the crickets are chirping, the morning glories are blooming and the crows are cawing. It’s the tail-end of summer and I think we’re all ready for the change.
Here in these essays I have done my best to offer up any insight or wisdom I discover from walking the spiritual path. Because I am currently in a state of flux, with everything shifting both within and without me, those gems of wisdom usually so accessible to me are not yet mined, seeming to hide deep within the earth. Instead I offer you the gift of not knowing. I offer you the path of placing one foot in front of the other, unsure just where it is we are going.
Perhaps the most important thing during times like this is to keep your mind from spinning. The challenges of the past and the uncertainty of the future can distract us from the here and now. It is all too easy to get locked into a pattern of believing that the thoughts in our heads are all there is; we cycle through those same thoughts over and over again.
In order to make ourselves a fertile ground for fresh insight, and to avoid being trapped in the morass of confusion, we must use our awareness to perceive what is.
One helpful perspective is to remove judgment from our perceptions. When we label things as good or bad, we create an emotional response that activates either attraction or avoidance within us. Instead we might choose to be a spiritual scientist, analyzing the Truth of our situations through observation and reflection. We can expand our ways of thinking, remembering that what appears as a set-back or a challenge, may in hindsight be exactly what we need to stretch ourselves and evolve.
Another helpful perspective is to remember the law of impermanence, or as my Mom is fond of saying, “This too shall pass.” Whatever your current situation, prospering or challenging, the Great Wheel of Life is in motion. When we get to the heart of impermanence we greet all change with equanimity. We do not cling to our happiness or to our sadness. We develop a flexible interior state that brings calm compassion to each new circumstance.
It’s not the destination, but the journey that matters. How we walk the path, rather than the end result. When we are faced with great challenges, perseverance and courage are required. When we find ourselves in times of increase and expansion, we can elevate those around us, strengthening the human network of which we are all a part.
In either case, we do not cling to our situation. Banish the thoughts that say, “EVERYTHING’S AWFUL FOREVER!” OR “NOW I’VE GOT IT MADE!” Everything, every thing, keeps moving and changing and evolving. That is the True Nature of existence.
The Dalai Lama says that when we are filled with our own suffering, the best antidote is to remove attention from ourselves and be helpful to others. This can seem counter-intuative, as we are overwhelmed with the challenges we face. But it’s true that giving others a smile or a kind word or a helping hand elevates us, bringing unexpected consequences that improve our own situations.
The opposite is true as well. The energy of happiness or good fortune can inspire us to spread the joy and prevent the wild emotional swings that arise when we are out of balance. You know, too much of a good thing, and all that.
Clinging to anything, good or bad, is a form of greed. “I’ll keep this to myself,” is a sure recipe for suffering. Allowing others to help us and offering help in our turn keeps the process in a state of balance and creates the potential to elevate us all.
Humanity is one big family. We are all sisters and brothers and mothers and fathers to each other. Our great hope is that we all wake up to that truth.
And so I leave you with a bit of wisdom from Matthew 25:40: “Truly I say to you, inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these, my brothers, you have done it to me.”
copyright Teri Nolan 2010