Friday, June 3, 2016

Life, Fear, and Imagined Reality

Immersed in the wonder of the Tao, 
you can deal with whatever life brings you;
and when death comes, you are ready.
(Tao Te Ching)

Sometimes we are really afraid of something. Knowing this, we want to avoid whatever may trigger this fear. With the help of careful planning and missing out on life's opportunities  we somehow manage to keep this calamity at bay, but that strategy is just burying the monster in the deep. Subconsciously we know that sooner or later the ghosts will come out of the closet to haunt us.

With all the dancing around the issue that we would like to avoid we only build up our mental image of how we would experience this crisis when it finally knocks on our door. Reality may turn out quite differently, but our mental masturbation creates a reality for itself. With this escape we never have a chance to experience how the "dreadful" event in fact feels like. We may waste our whole life trying to escape this feeling only to find that we experience it very differently when it finally comes our way.

Death is one of the many deep-rooted fears that we worry about. We may die a thousand deaths in anticipation, but when the final day finally comes we may exit life so differently than we ever imagined. It is said that Steve Jobs final words were "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow!" It is unlikely that he imagined this departure when he first learned about his devastating disease.

Experience it!  Experience whatever life brings your way and realize it is really not what you anticipate at all. Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities starts with, "It was the best of times, it was the the worst of times". How accurate! That's how anticipated calamities often go. Unexpected kindness and amazing insights go hand in hand with pain and disappointment. Experience everything first hand.  Bravely interact with life and see how the story line develops over time.

War survivors sometimes report spiritual experiences on the battle-field. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna revealed Himself to Arjun in a war he didn't want to fight. Manic depressed often find meaning in the highest peak experiences just as much as in the darkest depths of depression. Sure, they would rather be somewhere else when the pain hits, but afterwards they also wouldn't have traded in their experience either.

Just open your eyes, open your heart, and experience it!  Life stands ready to lead you through whatever has to happen. Be ready to experience the grace and miracles life has to offer. Thank you Lord for walking with us every step of the WAY

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