Blessings come in many forms. Some are obvious: new relationships, financial gains, a healthy newborn child, a moment of clarity in our personal or spiritual growth. These are easy to accept. In my experience, the most valuable blessings come by way of difficult challenges, temporary setbacks, friction in relationships and the awareness of my own impatient and fear-based reactions.
We attract what we are (or have been); with few exceptions. In the vast majority of cases where I have found myself upset, blaming and pointing the finger at others, I have played a part in creating and/or attracting the person or situation, directly or indirectly. I find this especially true with my sweet twins, who are a perfect mirror of myself and my emotional state. It's not always easy to see and can be quite unsettling to admit, but I am constantly faced with situations that provide me with opportunities to deepen my self-awareness and grow, for which I am truly grateful. Sometimes our agitation is a result of a differing opinion but in my experience, the vast majority of cases are a pure reflection of self.
If we allow our reaction to steal our joy for the next hour or days, it's worth an honest look to identify the origin of those emotions. A deeper dive often reveals a degree of our own insecurity and fear.
It is so easy to focus attention on others when we are angry and afraid. We all have an ego and for those of us committed to dissolving the false self, confronting is necessary along with acknowledgment and surrender. The quicker I’m willing to get real and honest about my part, the more quickly I return to a state of peace.
One of my teachers offered the following questions which I regularly ask myself when experiencing resentment, frustration, anger and other forms of fear.
- What is the cause?
- What do I want?
- How is my ego attempting to appear?
- What am I afraid of?
- What am I unwilling to admit?
- Where am I at fault? or Where did I put myself in a position to be hurt?
- What can I do instead (of creating suffering)?
Becoming genuinely honest with ourselves takes time. It takes practice to peel enough of the ego away to see the depths of ourselves. When we think we have it licked, situations arise that make apparent how cunning the ego can be and the layers yet removed before our authentic self reveals. This process is frightening at first, like walking into the darkness with a flashlight. The exploration of these questions is best practiced through writing and sharing them in communion with a companion who is both willing and capable of brutal honesty. A good friend will often take our side in an effort not to hurt us. We need the truth, not someone to co-sign our bullshit.
The freedom we seek in these uncomfortable moments will only come from the clarity of our role in any given situation. We are creating the world with every thought and action; we are responsible for the outcomes. My children, my friends, my adversaries and all situations, especially those that incite agitation and discomfort, are my best teachers and often lead to blessings in many forms.
Our egos have developed as our conscious minds have evolved. They attempt to protect us or as I have found, distract us from acknowledging the depth of our emotions and knowing ourselves. Rewards abound from breathing into discomfort and creating space to ask the difficult questions which lead to the peace and joy that we are.