I write when the words start forming themselves in my mind. And, they haven't been forming lately. My outer life and my internal landscape have been very quiet. But, in contemplating the following quote from Rabindranath Tagore, some words started to form.
"Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it."
Yes, I thought as I read it. Please let me always remember this. But, I also realized that I have often prayed to be sheltered from dangers and for my pain to be still. I've often asked that things happen in ease and grace, to be made as easy and smooth as possible. And, I have often not handled my pain very well, yearning to be released from it, to escape it, to deny it, to do everything possible other than be with it.
As much as I want life to be easy and pleasant, I know that my deepest growth has come through adversity and pain. Adversity and pain are the things that demand that we push through the limitations of our understanding and our stamina, that demand that we break through to new personal paradigms of reality, that demand that we dig deep into who we are, and reshape ourselves in order to triumph. Without the demands made through adversity and pain, we stagnate. I'm not saying I'm not for breaks in the onslaught, but in general, if we're not challenged often enough to push us forward, it feels like pointless existence.
I've gone through so many changes over the last six or seven months that it feels like the basis of my reality has been pulled away. All the markers that structured my previous reality are gone, and so I'm rather adrift in the cosmic void until new markers show up. And, I don't know that any new markers will show up, at least in the way I was used to seeing them. It's a new world and an entirely different frequency that we currently exist within, and it's changing as I write this; therefore, the structure of our lives, and the way we're used to seeing that structure, are also changing. I think the current challenge is to accept the unknown and the fluid quality of life and trust that things are moving ahead exactly as they need to. I get this intellectually, but integrating this concept is more difficult.
My current context of growth is to let go of the past and trust in Life itself enough to accept each day as it comes; to be unconcerned about what, if any, direction my life might be taking at this juncture, and to enjoy the journey. But, the letting go is not so easy, my level of trust and surrender is spotty, and enjoying the journey is proving to be much more challenging than I would have thought. I do have glimpses of release and moments of pure joy, but they don't stick around, they come and go. Although, as I'm writing this, I realize that my concept of what I think should be consistent needs to go. Humans love consistency, but that's not always the way, nor should it be. Which is why we need to be fully present with whatever feelings of release and joy we get, as well as any other feelings or experiences. Most things are fleeting, and best to be received as fully as possible in the moment they visit us...adversity and pain included.
And so, I realize that I've often prayed and begged and wished for things to be easy and safe rather than developing the fearlessness that would allow me to face whatever comes head on. And, I've also prayed and begged and groveled for release from pain, on all its levels, rather than developing the depth of heart that would allow me to bear it in grace, or conquer it altogether. In that way, I've been focusing on my personality's wants instead of my soul's needs. But, it's time for the personality to step back and for the soul to step forward. It's time to grow up, to stop complaining and avoiding and move forward in trust, both in Life and in myself, which might be the same thing. No excuses or explanations, but acceptance and receptivity.
I might stumble and fall, but as Ben Affleck said last night in his Academy Award acceptance speech for his win for "Argo" for Best Picture of 2013, "It doesn't matter how you get knocked down in life, 'cause that's gonna happen. All that matters is that you gotta get up."