Be at Ease (REPOST)

Struggle, for the most part, leads us to interest in spirituality, self-help, yoga, and all similar methods, techniques, and bodies of wisdom we have today.

It's a particular kind of struggle, different than trying to find a parking space on a crowded city street.

It's the struggle with making sense of and feeling at ease in our human existence.

We start reading a little, taking this and that workshop, doing a little yoga, a little pranayama, doing a little service. Some peace comes, some happiness, and some joy. The struggle becomes a little less.

Struggle, however, can't be practiced away. It can't be learned away. We can get our PhDs in self-help and spirituality and we can go a great distance toward realizing inner peace but we will, eventually, encounter the problem of the last mile.

The problem of the last mile has to do with building intricate systems (like religion) to lead us toward a particular outcome (like enlightenment), only to find when we are just about to reach the goal that those systems do not help in those last few, critical inches it takes to get there, almost rendering all of those systems useless.

We have to build complexity to realize simplicity is the answer.

At this point, if we are willing to move forward, the desire to strip away burns strong. To release desire. Release possessions. Release practice. Release learning. Release the very concept of who we are.

This is 100% the reverse of building. It's deconstruction. Where we move in the direction of becoming less and less, smaller and smaller, until the concept of "I" is completely cancelled out.

Piña Coladas

Can you really know that feeling better is what you need right now?

There are the every day aches and pains, which are almost all akin to getting too close to a hot flame. Slight warnings that you are on the verge of injury.

Then there are the lingering identity and existential struggles, physical problems, and further beyond that, total catastrophes and melt downs.

In all cases, especially the latter, we tend to want to get rid of the pain or trouble as soon as possible. We treat it as a foreign invader with hostile intent. It's an unwelcome guest. Fierce defense. Quick retribution and most of all, exclusion are our go to strategies.

All certain tactics to make the volume louder either now or in the future.

Why not see difficulty as one of several ingredients in a recipe that is serving you this current day and experience?

In this way, it becomes neutral, neither good nor bad. Those labels have more to do with our preferences for bitter or sweet, not with the actual content in question. The content is neutral, our understanding of it is biased.

What if we adjusted our preference to prefer what is happening? Is there any other choice?

What if we can learn to love, meaning accept, maybe even appreciate the moment and whatever is contained in it?

What if we can start to see the beauty of all seasons, not just the ones that make us feel the best?

Then we naturally start to become more balanced, less reactive, and more embracing.

We may even start to see that whatever it is we are experiencing, especially what we would wish away, is actually preferable to sipping piña colada on a beach in Bali.

What Do I Do?

In times of crisis and transition it might be the number one question we ask ourselves.

Doing is the go to strategy because we feel it will immediately solve the problem, and we tend to like quick fixes. The thing is: moving from one phase to the next is not like having a broken bone—an immediate and urgent repair is not what is required nor what will help.

You might try reading the question backwards. Do I do what?

Instead of reacting, we can be with. Be with all of the uncertainty and difficult questions, as well as the uncomfortable internal responses they elicit. That means welcome, open the door, and set a place at the table for your overnight guest.

Rest assured, in time and with patience — when you are ready — the way forward is made clear. And you might then start asking, do what? The way forward you now understand could be surprising, it's different than what you expected.

Do I do what?

Yes, you might just have to do that.