I need to know that something is happening, as NOTHING appears to be. My heart sees through the deception of illusion, and knows otherwise, despite my trepidation. I have planted the seeds for growth and renewal, and on a deep level I trust that they are germinating somewhere in dark and fertile soil. I know, that given time they will push through the ground and appear perfectly miraculous. But at this moment, it is a faint and colorless certainty. I feel raw and vulnerable. I miss the contentedness of my Self that has basked in undaunted faith and fearlessness. I am steeped in self-doubt, in the chasm of rational analysis that can only lead to suffering. I want evidence that I will be restored to a viable state of living, that my work will resurrect, that my sense of belonging to something greater then my own pulse will return. Some part of me is resolute and unwilling to continue unless I see visible proof that I will rise as the proverbial phoenix out of the ash. My ego seems to have drawn a line in the sand, presented non-negotiable terms, and unleashed a host of unthinkable ultimatums. It has surfaced like a prehistoric and mythical creature out of the depths of my own insecurities. This year has challenged me on every level, to the very core of my being. As the economy has deteriorated so has my income. It has taken all of my inner resources to consciously refuse to succumb to the “fight or flight” response, to remain ever mindful. I will not be controlled or bullied by fear or ignorance. I will not let it distort the truth or lay claim to my path. Yet I cannot deny the mounting concern over my apparent inability to earn a sustainable living doing what I love.
How can I even think of discontinuing the work that has taken a lifetime or several to cultivate? Yet when I look at the numbers, the lack of funds in my account, the cancelled events, and the virtually empty schedule in front of me, I am ready to abandon it all. This of course is just my sense of futility trying to gain some momentum. I cannot allow myself to be disheartened, I, nonetheless, feel cratered. I have begun to deeply question whether what I do is of real value to others, whether or not there is genuine need for my skills. I believe with every naysaying cell intact, that despite all indications there has never been a more generative time. I pray for strength, for the means to live in faith not fear. In the midst of this Soul searching I get a voice message from a student, it was her birthday and she just called to express her gratitude for the help she has received, for the great work I was doing in the world…”the universe is absolutely going to support everything that you want.” Then when I check my email I have notification that some kind and generous soul has donated $20.00. Though I have tried to emancipate myself from my need for external signs or validation, I fully acknowledge my need for such encouragement. My life has shown me over and over and over again the limitations of my awareness and understanding. Just when I think it is time to reevaluate myself into oblivion I am awakened. I am given another opportunity to realize that every moment, every breath is vital. Everything has purpose and meaning. The divine, no matter how far I stray into the abyss of uncertainty, is ever present in my life.
We humans are unlikely to continue anything that doesn’t fulfill our expectations or satisfy us in one way or another. Whenever we invest ourselves, our time and energy in any endeavor, we want to know that it has quantifiable value. We want confirmation that our efforts are not in vain. We want substantial proof that ultimately it’s going to improve the quality of our lives, and potentially the lives of others. This seems like a reasonable way to evaluate which experiences are desirable and worthy of our labor, and which are not. The challenge however arises, when we depend solely upon our sensory system to be the agent of our analysis. Our primary senses aren’t able to discern what is happening beyond their conditioned perception. Our sensory input for the most part is based on prior memory and association. We determine what is real and what isn’t, by our own relative and limited experience. Our reality is a direct reflection of our individual awareness or consciousness. There have been many times in my life where absolutely “nothing,” seemed to be happening, I was certain of it! I felt conflicted and discouraged. There was no real evidence of progress or development. I couldn’t see the whole, wasn’t cognizant of the constellation of events that were taking place beyond my perceptual lens. Countless physiological activities are happening in my body at this very moment beyond my conscious awareness. Human beings are being conceived, stars are taking form and dying, species are emerging and becoming extinct all in concert with an intelligence that is beyond my own. The truth is we can’t even begin to fathom the complexities inherent in our own epic and archetypal sojourns.
In general, we tend to be pleasure seeking, to desire satisfaction in lieu of dissatisfaction, and certainty over the unknown. We gravitate towards activities we know we will excel in and avoid those that might be humbling. Ironically enough, the most valuable, transformative and consciousness-raising experiences are those that frequently appear as burdensome, unwanted events, obstacles and challenges. These life lessons can make us feel powerless, vulnerable and inadequate. They can destroy our illusionary sense of control, our personal identity, and dismantle our core belief system. This “dismembering,” feels like death, the one thing we are hard wired to avoid. This process certainly wouldn’t qualify as “valuable” from the limited perspective of the rational or logical mind. In fact, it would be viewed as self-destructive. What I know, is that I have been absolutely liberated by traumatic events, by those experiences that I have ardently resisted and refused. I know, that what I have endured this past year, the financial devastation, personal loss, and general instability are the seeds of my growth, of my expansion. I have faith in what I cannot see. I have courage in the face of my own ignorance. I have abiding gratitude even when I am self-pitying. I embrace this uncertain life with all of its harrowing trials, the twists and turns. As my enlightened friend Billy says “there is always a shade tree and there are always friends.”