3.6
November 10, 2019

Why we Suffer Before we Need to & how to Stop.

Once upon a time in a land of mystical revelation, there was a boy.

He experienced something profound—a connection to a world beyond what eyes could see. In his spiritual stupor, he had a vision that cast a light into a new world—one that promised freedom, expansiveness, and love as vast as the ocean. He was elated but scared. He didn’t know why these supernatural experiences were occurring, and he didn’t have anyone to consult. Alone in his new world, the boy faced a mythic crossroads: a choice between playing it safe or facing the fear of the unknown.

Nighttime came. Uncertain and exhausted, the boy laid his head down to rest. He awoke at 3:00 am, the hour of Spirit. He received angelic guidance and no longer questioned the call toward adventure. He readied himself for the day, and with one last cleansing of doubt, entered the dark forest. A celestial sprinkling—a Divine kiss—greeted him once again. A bright light signaled Divine favor on his side and magical doors opening. Great things will happen. All one must do is continue to trust and keep stepping forward.

~

If we embark on a spiritual journey, we’ll be met with shadows of our unconscious manifested as fears and limitations.

To overcome these repressed aspects of ourselves, we must face the demons that sit at the door. The only way out is through. Fantasizing that we can progress without facing our fears stifles our path forward. How can we know our choice will be right? The paradox is, if we could, it’s the wrong choice. Our answer lies in moving toward a most uncertain future.

If you couldn’t guess, the short story I shared is mine. I leaped into a void of the unknown, and I’ve experienced the magical aid that comes to those who act before knowing. My experience in this otherworldly phenomenon has given me unwavering faith. I’ve witnessed that if one trusts in themselves and their future, great things will come.

If there’s one thing I wish I could bottle up and give to people, it’s my belief. Until that is possible, the next best thing is to write.

I see this resolute belief woven throughout my journal for the past four years. Going through some old entries reminded me of a phrase I used to write: “Expect Great Things to Happen.” It was a mantra I repeated often. I’d think about it, meditate on it, and use it as a form of prayer. I’m not sure when I stopped, but I was grateful to come across it again.

I find it interesting that this notion to “Expect Great Things to Happen” seems contradictory to a Buddhist and stoic philosophy. Buddhism talks about life as suffering, and nirvana comes from being unreactive to life’s ups and downs—“the middle way.” Stoicism is similar, even going so far as to say “expect bad things to happen”—perhaps keeping oneself prepared for unfavorable circumstances.

While I find value in these teachings, I’m more of a practicing optimist than a Buddhist. What I notice is that most of us are not “too optimistic,” but instead, we worry too much. We waste precious time fretting about having and being “enough” that we cripple ourselves from enjoying the moment. We have a desire to do something or be someone, and then stop ourselves by creating worst-case scenarios of our fears coming true. The tragedy is most of our worries are fantasy.

As Mark Twain put it, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

Yes, I’m aware we will suffer. But why suffer before we suffer? Why not choose to be optimistic, and then be resilient when tough times inevitably come?

Maybe this is my naivety. Some may say, “Wait until you’re 60 and get back to me.” I hear you, but while I may not have lived the suffering that another 30 years of life might bring, I have lived the past five years as deeply as I know how. In my short time, I’ve witnessed the miracles that come when I believe in the good things coming.

Elizabeth Gilbert calls these miracles “The Physics of the Quest”:

“If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared—most of all—to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself…then truth will not be withheld from you. Or so I’ve come to believe.”

If we feel called to pursue something, whether it be an idea, a country, a person—worry and fear will be there. That’s why we must cultivate hope. Belief has the power to create action, and action leads to results. If we fail, we course correct and find the belief once again.

It’s my sincerest hope that you push through your fears and see all the great things waiting for you.

 

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