I saw a question posed today..”Why does God always think we can handle things that we don’t know if we are strong enough to?” I suppose the most direct answer would be, to give one the opportunity to find the true strength within. Through all my years of growing up Catholic, I always found it unfair that God was blamed for so much of the misery experienced by the inhabitants of the Earth. I was always taught that God loved his children and that all I had to do was put my faith in his hands, and all things would work out. So I could not comprehend why God would send something, some experience to me that would cause pain and misery? What, is God some Jekyl and Hyde personality…maybe he’s a prankster? Of course not. Although my particular way of thought and interpretation of God has changed over the years, the basic principles have not. So why do challenges come our way? Through my life, I have experienced various medical issues, and when they were in an acute state, I would often wonder why? Why is this happening to me? I have been a good kid, I go to church, for the most part I was good to others…so on and so forth. Heck, I am sure there were times that I questioned God in a similar manner to the quote that initiated this post. Yet what I have come to understand is that, there really is no reason, only an opportunity. “Opportunity you say !!!?” Since embarking on this journey of self-realization I have come to discover, there is no rhyme or reason to the things we experience in life. Yes, I know, I understand the concept of sin and its inevitable punishment, or the concept of Karma (highly misunderstood my most in my observation). We humans are a funny animal, we are always looking elsewhere for reason, or more accurately put, blame, for the things we experience, (and the feelings they elicit) regardless of their nature. Whether it is something we like, or more often, we do not like! (and trust me I have had plenty of both!) The truth is, life is like a river that flows, that flows with things we experience with our senses. Take a moment now and become the scientist, observe what you are experiencing now. You are sitting at your computer or phone or whatever media device you have in front of you. Maybe with a drink or snack by your side. Maybe with the t.v. going in the background or some music. You remember…we did this in kindergarten…heck pre-school…go to each specific sense..sight…smell…taste…touch…hear…and if you didn’t know this, there is a sixth and that is thought, and observe. C’mon..give it a try…become third person, become the scientist and sit back and observe the senses and corresponding feelings and the thoughts coming to fruition, man what a flow…right? All kinds of stuff come up, “what’s this guy talking about?”…”I don’t have time for this”…”something smells good”..” i can’t believe that commercial”…”man I was supposed to call so and so”…and on and on. This flow of thoughts, constant, like a river. And as discussed in an earlier post, we’re just fishin with our pole of control, holding onto those thoughts.
Okay, so where am I going with this? Well, this river of experience, you know, it just flows, kinda like the Mississippi. Why did I get Crohns disease as a child? Why was I so lucky to be born to a saint of a mom? Fact is, it doesn’t really matter, for it is what was presented to me. Here is the point of this entire post! “To Be…or Not To Be….(HAPPY)….that is the CHOICE!!! You see folks, misery, as well as happiness, is a choice. Ooh, I know, very hard to grasp when the river of life seems like raging rapids instead of a gurgling brook, but the truth is, the rapids are there! Regardless of whether you respond with a frown or a smile, the rapids are there! Also, trust me, no matter how much you think someone, or something caused those rapids to appear, the fact of the matter is, they are there! and you will be going through them! So, looking for the reason or the blame, is like trying to hold onto a rock and waiting for the rapids to subside. You will be waiting for a long time. Just like the Mississippi, there are spots with rapids and they will be rapids for a very…very…very long time. As long as you hold onto that rock, well, you will most certainly be fighting those rapids. On the other hand, you can let go of the rock and accept the fact that, hey, I have to traverse some rapids, not the first time, and certainly not the last. Of course, once you let go of the rock, well, you again have the choice. Ride the rapids with a smile or a frown. Again, either way, you will be riding the rapids for a bit, you can do it with a frown, feeling miserable, feeling out of control and spending your time dwelling on your expectations. Looking for other rocks, clouding the one tool you do have, awareness, to help avoid some of the hidden dangers. Or… you can do it with smile, Happy, accepting things as they are, letting the river take you along, with a much better faculty for the use of that special tool of awareness to help avoid those same hidden dangers.
I will tell you, I was a miserable soul when I first started this journey long ago. Always looking for rocks regardless of whether I was in the rapids or not. Often plagued by my expectations for those around me and the world in general. Then there was that moment, that beautiful moment of clarity, when I realized, when I observed that, it was me, I was the one responsible for my happiness (and of course my misery). For, it was not the river, not the experience that brought me this happiness, this misery, but the way in which I chose to react to the river, to the experience. What a feeling of fulfillment, what a feeling of peace, it sounds so simple, but it can be the most difficult thing to grasp, but I promise you (from a former miserable soul)..it is not impossible!! Give yourself a little credit, hey, your making the effort, you wouldn’t be reading this in the first place if not!! So, do yourself a favor, take advantage of those rapids, and see them as an Opportunity for self observation and find the path to true happiness…to true peace. Start taking responsibility, for those smiles and those frowns. Find the opportunity to flow along the river of life, and let go of the rocks and not miss out on the beauty it has to offer! I wish much success on your experiment and an enjoyable ride down the river!