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December 29, 2018

Didn’t Sign Up For This? How To Navigate Life’s Downs

Spirituality is readily embraced when it’s showering us with insights and blessings. “Yes!” we exclaim. “It’s so clear now, I see without a doubt that all is one. I see the divine perfection of it all!”

These are the “spiritual crack” moments that keep people coming back for more.

But how many people also readily recognize and welcome spirituality in the form of the dark, thick, murky waters that we find ourselves trudging through some days?  You know, those days when you oversleep your alarm, miss an important meeting and lose that promotion you were about to be handed?

How many of us mutter, “Wait a minute, how did I end up here? Who booted me out of the ‘be-here-now-all-is-one camp’ and where’s my re-entry ticket?”

As many insights and realizations as we may have had that all is one, that all is divine, we’re still usually looking for this divine oneness to manifest like a sense of bliss and of complete expansiveness.

If it starts to manifest as something heavy and serious, the typical reaction is to feel that something’s gone wrong. Surely this can’t be very spiritual.

Buy why not?

Is it fair or true to deem something unspiritual just because it doesn’t feel good?

It’s this mental segregating of what’s happening into “good” and “bad,” “acceptable” and “unacceptable,” “spiritual” and “unspiritual,” that causes our angst when life falls into what we deem as the negative category.

There’s a lot of talk in spirituality about “surrender.”

In the common vernacular, the word “surrender” is associated with defeat. As in war, for example, where the losing party surrenders to the victor. Or as in a high-speed chase in which the villain is finally cornered and forced to surrender to police.

The above scenarios are examples of forced surrender.

When it comes to life in general, though, there’s this thing I’ll call “voluntary surrender.” By that, I don’t imply a giving up on life, or a refusal to take needed and natural action as situations arise.

Rather, not excluding any natural action called for, voluntary surrender is a letting go into life and flowing with whatever it brings.

Since we humans have no problem letting go into the parts of life we like and approve of, voluntary surrender is actually a letting go in the face of the trials, challenges and upsets of life that we don’t approve of —be they minor and trivial or huge and devastating.

Why would anyone want to surrender to life’s hardships and difficulties? No one in their right mind would want to, actually.

We humans like our creature comforts and we crave a smooth, painless, hassle-free ride through life wherein life showers us continually with blessings and benediction.

And so when we hit upon one of life’s “bumps,” the knee-jerk reaction is to retract and immediately push it away.

We’ve each developed our own ways of attempting to change, control or manipulate the unwanted things out of our lives. It becomes our own personal little war with life. We fight and struggle hard to come out on top.

The question is, do we ever “win?” Does all our struggle and resistance actually ever end up scoring us the end result we’re after?

Obviously, we believe it does at least something because we keep doing it.

The only thing that struggling against life actually does is to tie us into knots and drain our energy. What happens when we stop fighting life? 

I bet most of us would be surprised to find out how little difference all this fighting on our parts actually makes in terms of the outcomes of life.

If we can allow ourselves to surrender to whatever life brings our way, life will probably turn out much the same as it would have anyway. The only difference is that absent of the fighting, we’ll be at ease with life.

Just because a moment is negative or unpleasant does not make it less spiritual. Beyond “good” or “bad,” it’s simply what’s needed at the time.


It Doesn’t Have to Feel Good

Trust. Every moment,
every experience,
has been set into motion by Self.
There is no wrong moment,
no wrong experience.
Only the mind divides into
“good” and “bad.”
Trust that whatever comes is
what is needed.
Trust that this moment is
always perfectly divine.
It doesn’t have to feel good
to be divine.


Author: Christy Waltz
Poem: from Notes to Self: Meditations on Being
Image: Kalhh on Pixabay

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