Friday, October 10, 2014

How to Move Through Difficult Times

This year has been challenging for me in many many ways, from my physical well-being to the health of others in my family to a big change in my job and more. I’ve tried to weather this time as well as possible; to keep my spirits up, to support my dear ones, and to learn whatever lessons I can from what life is sending my way.

At times like this, I find I must pare my activities down to the essentials and then really focus on those essentials, letting go and acting from the present moment. That is a very interesting “predicament”. Everything may seem very stressful but, at the same time, I have inward permission to let go of anything that does not apply to the present moment. I’m forced to do what we are so often told is best: to center in the present moment, to let go of the past and the future, and to simply be where we Are.

I also have to see and accept that I am not in control of what is happening outside of me. I can have control over how I respond to emergencies or demanding situations, but I cannot control events or other people. This is a big work in the inner life. It demands, first, observation of my inner self, close observation. When I am about to try to control others or events, then I can ask: “Do I really need to control this? What will happen to me if I don’t control this?” and I can choose to test this out by letting go. The fearful small self continues to try to undo my active effort to let go of control, but I can watch its efforts and thereby continue to create a space between it and myself.

Throughout this process I also have to trust that everything will be alright in the larger sense.  This is always a work in progress. As I let go in small situations and interactions, I strengthen my ability to do it.  I will be more and more able to release the fearful small self’s need to control, and embrace a kind of inner freedom, beginning to see that it is o.k. to let go and be who I am rather than trying to shape events  and everyone else. 

Life challenges provide fertile ground for growth, for learning to let go, for inward change. Because these things do not always come easily, we sometimes choose to fight this process inwardly. But, if we can loosen that tendency to back away from the challenge (a futile exercise in any case) and allow ourselves to move with it, we may well come out of it stronger and more at peace with ourselves, our world, and each other. Allowing this process to flow, for me, always comes bit by bit. I have to keep working at it, one moment at a time.

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