Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Spirituality: When the Rubber Meets the Road

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain.
(Vivian Green)

Life can be scary at times and it can be quite inconvenient. A spiritual traveler is likely not immune from experiencing these uncomfortable circumstances. I remember a time many years ago when I was praying that some adverse circumstances that I was facing would end, for the - um - important reason that they interfered with my spiritual peace! In retrospect, I don't even understand any longer what I was thinking then. This period was in fact even before my spiritual path opened up in earnest; it was also years before I discovered a shadow side in me. Today I am sure that all the pressure that I was facing at that time helped me to get all that stuff out in the open just at the right time.

Take the feeling of anxiety as an example. Is that feeling a hindrance along the Way, or is it a necessary part of life for everyone? What exactly is anxiety? You might as well could call this experience, "butterflies in the stomach" in anticipating of an exciting event. Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener claim in"The Upside of Your Dark Side" that you can have different approaches to the tingling sensation that you face: you can say, "I am afraid", or you also could call it, "I am excited"! Dependent on how you classify the accompanying feeling, psychological research shows that you do much better if you decide that your are exited instead of being anxious. We spiritual travelers know that butterfly feeling quite well; yet, is there ever really a true reason to be anxious along the Way?

The Tao has a plan! When a spiritual traveler gets caught in the rain it always happens for a good reason. Let's think of the many learning opportunities life brings our way come sunshine or rain. When we keep dancing, the ego is bound to be way too busy to interfere with our spiritual mission. Let life dictate when we can take a rest and when we have to run. The worst outcome would just be that we are encouraged to dance in the rain. So what!

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