“Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction. On the other hand, wretchedness–life’s painful aspect–softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose–you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We’d be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.” Pema Chödrön
Through great contemplation, based on a series of very powerful realizations revealing how I have lived my life up until this moment. I awoke this morning, diving into a transparent epiphany of how I had spent the last maybe 17 years of my life, if not longer. When I was younger I knew what I wanted and I had access to a full force of energy to obtain that which I sought. I was able to experience such a sublime factor of life’s great adventure, in a way that was a pure blessing.
However, upon my return to Canada, around 17 years ago I found myself trapped, back in a country I did not want to live. I had to make a series of decisions to remedy the disappointment, yet it seems that each choice I made was based on a need to escape the mundane reality that I felt was becoming my life, or soon to infiltrate into the sacred corners that I still found solace, peace, and a connection to a deeper inner reservoir of something beyond myself. The banality of life was creeping into my precious spaces. In a desperate attempt to find something for myself, I kept making one choice after the next, almost like a spiral of momentum that could not be stopped until, finally it stopped.
In the last three years it has been a blessing of sorts, with a massive amount of time to myself. Yet, in my own ignorance and ego I kept measuring myself to someone I obviously am not, nor will ever become. Through this process of negative self projections, I felt depressed, until nothing mattered anymore. In that moment of realization, I made yet another choice to let go of everything, in order to create massive momentum for change. Getting rid of most of my belongings and going to India for 6 months was the catalyst necessary to find myself again, after feeling lost for over a decade. I realized that I no longer knew who I was, what I wanted, or even where to begin, within the folds of my own, seemingly broken, within the perception of my life.
In addition, I experienced severe health issues that were chronic and took a very long time to diagnose and heal. Thankfully, in time I was able to regain my full, previously strong constitution. When I was in India I went to an Ayurvedic doctor that has been practicing for over 60 years, who with just taking my pulse confirmed that I have had something wrong for 15 years. When he began to treat me, within only 3 months, I began to regain the same constitution I had when I was younger. This, was such a great blessing, that I have no doubts or feelings that I made a mistake giving up so much to make the trip.
However, upon returning to Canada, I went through a mountain of challenge, that was barely bearable. The one saving grace is the advice of a friend, who is blessed to be extremely psychic. He forewarned me of this time, as well as one of the Vedic astrologers in India. He told me that so much of my karma was being burned, I would only feel suffering, little else. Then, he said, “don’t worry, things will get better”. My psychic friend, interestingly enough said the same thing, that in time, my life “would begin in a way that would be really powerful.”
I can see, clearly how I had to go through everything that I have gone through in my life. So many difficult and heart breaking experiences did not make me harder or more negative. Of course, there was a time when all I felt was rage, of a level that was consuming. Yet, my nature, is one of kindness, love, and compassion. This nature was clear when I was a small child and has prevailed throughout most of my life. I realize, the goodness within me is more real than the anger and negative emotions. Yet, I needed to go through the darkness, for if you don’t confront your inner demons, you will never have the chance to begin the process of purification. Even when the anger begins to lessen, there will possibly be more inner cleansing.
I have seen people become hard, calloused, cruel, and vicious from the effects of going through a difficult or challenging life. In my experience, if we choose to allow ourselves to become this way, it is us who is locked within a dark prison. The darkness will eventually consume us, no one else. Even if we lash out at everyone we meet; the true suffering will only be felt by us, as our actions must all eventually return to us.
Instead, I choose to find faith, love, compassion; not only for myself but all others who I feel have created suffering for me. These sufferings are small, as compared with what many others must confront in their lives. We must always remember that there are people who truly suffer in life, our small trials and tribulations are inconsequential when all of our basic needs are met and we can live a life with freedom of choice.
My entire life I have searched for a feeling of Wholeness, or completion. I clearly realize this first comes from within us, based on the gradual subjugation of our own selfishness and egoism. We must find a sense of inner peace and spiritual awakening, through the grace of a master, where we are eventually lead back to who we really are. Thus, Wholeness, is to awaken within towards enlightenment, as this is the only true wholeness that exists; everything else is just transitory, further limiting us. If we search for Wholeness only on the level of physical health, even the best health can be taken in an instant. Nothing is permanent.
My search for spirituality began when I was a child, it has nothing to do with the suffering incurred in this lifetime. We all suffer in life, in one way or another. My strong ties to my spiritual practice and the teachings of my spiritual teacher have been a beacon of light, even though we all must pay back all of our lifetimes of negative action, thus we will suffer. When we go through difficulty, we must know that this energy is being exhausted and will not last forever. It has been my experience that the more I have gone through; the lighter I continue to feel, the experiences of joy are more pronounced, and I can sustain more awareness of being in the present moment .
I can see the small fruits of my labour, as there has been the grace that has allowed this to happen. Thus, after so much challenge and through my own perseverance to constantly make an effort towards doing a regular practice, I realized that the heaviness I previously felt was gone. In its place, there is a newness and a brightness that emanates the deepest sense of happiness I have ever experienced. The last time I went to see my spiritual teacher, there were still some issues that affected me, yet a deep joy began to bubble up from within.
I see very clearly that all things will inevitably pass, no matter how long we feel that we have had to endure constant stress or challenges. A time will dawn when this energy is gone from our awareness, transformed into an essence that is far more lovely to experience. This has been my experience.
Now my life is at a new dawn where I feel free from things I have never felt free from and strong enough to stand alone against adversities that I have had to endure. I realized this when I was confronted with a group of people within my spiritual community that believed malicious and untrue gossip spread about me, as a means of protecting another’s actions. I suddenly realized that I did not care if these people liked me or not, their actions did not disturb my inner feeling of joy. Of course, I am still affected by things, yet my reaction is different than previously. If I do react it is easily reconsolidated and rectified with awareness and the appropriate action.
In life we may have to cross many difficult roads. However, if we have some faith in ourselves and continue to make an effort, we will see the grace and fruits of our labour. My life is like a flower that is opening, I have complete clarity that the path I am walking down is the exact one in which I must walk and the work that I am doing is exactly what I should be doing. Through this realization, a certain sense of liberation is present, one in which I am extremely grateful. When you find even a small sense of contentment and joy within, enjoy this energy.
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