What Are You Learning?

How you feel is important. In fact, most of us spend most of our days applying energy and effort to feel good.

What’s even more important than how you feel, is what you learn.

We know this because we often learn the most when things are not going our way. When we are sick. Injured. Morning the loss of something known and familiar, or while in various states of in between and transition.

This suggests that learning, maybe is not more important—but more fundamental than managing the vagaries of our inner world of feelings.

What are you learning?

What message is trying to get through to you?

Often, the most important messages can’t get through in the midst of the more sublime experiences. Your focus is pointed outside and there is no visible reason to question anything.

No, they get through when we have been brought to our knees. When we are weak, and when we are vulnerable.

Only then, do we start to question why and how things got the way they did. And only then, do we realise the things needed to make the decisions we know we need to make.

In truth, there is a strong connection between learning and feeling.

The more you learn, the more you understand.

The more you understand, the more you can stay steady.

The more you can stay steady, the less you need, and the less there is to wash away by unforeseen storms and crashing waves.

You find peace and a smile that abides.

You are coming to the end of one chapter and the beginning of something new. Such a time is never easy, and is not meant to taste like a sweet dessert.

But more like a bitter medicine that though it may make you wince and squirm, you find eventually brings a lasting relief and takes you a few steps closer to the thing you are looking for—that maybe you didn’t even know you were looking for.

What are you learning?

What message is trying to get through to you?

Pain and Healing

Understanding the play of opposites is the only way to adjust with the never-ending dance of creation.

You cannot have light without dark. Happy without sad. Up without down. And so on. Each requires the other to exist.

For better or worse, we learn that good is good and bad is bad, and develop preferences for one over the other.

What we eventually realise, however, is that you can’t fully control the outcomes of your life. Any number of things can and will come along to lay waste to your best laid plans.

Sickness. Injury. Death. Job loss. Earthquake. Forest fire. Typhoon. Accidents of various shapes and sizes.

Sure as day becomes night, happy inevitably becomes sad. It is just a matter of time—and, for that matter, just a matter time for the pendulum to swing the other way again. It just doesn’t stop.

After awhile, the swing becomes unbearably frustrating. Our attachment to our good and bad preferences becomes unbearable because we work so hard to get what we want, only to watch it be taken from us in some way (over and over again).

This frustration is important. It creates the opportunity to investigate a wholly different approach to the way we operate in the world.

We start to wonder if there is an alternative to the happy-sad-happy or good-bad-good cycle, ie, a way to get out of the trap.

There is. And it starts by understanding good is bad and bad is good. They are the same energy in different form, with different tastes.

This way, we can develop an embrace of both poles and not fear — welcome, even — the arrival or loss of either.

We can see the beauty of gain and we can see the beauty of loss.

(Think to your own life. When you have experienced the most transformation, or the most insight? Was it not when the clouds were so dark, you couldn’t see more than five feet down the road?)

Taken far enough, we only see beauty—even while in pain.

In fact, we see the pain as our healing.

In the end, we let go of all our attachments and desire only what is happening right now—because it’s the only thing we ever have that can’t be taken away from us.

Win, Lose, Surrender

Winning feels great…

Until it doesn’t.

We live with the Law of Gravity here—what goes up, must and will come down.

Similarly, there is the Law of Inverse Gravity—what comes down, must and will go up.

We have day and we have night.

We have winter and we have summer.

Sometimes we win. Sometimes we lose.

The two, seemingly opposed poles are in an endless dance with one another. It is impossible to stay fixed in either or (which should come as good news to some).

The ego, in innocence, not wanting to understand the grander Way of Things, uses effort to both stay high in winning or stay low in so called losing.

Yes—some people want to be depressed, just as some people want to be the champion of forever.

While the ego will enjoy some short-term success relative to the achievement of its wishes, the energy supply of personal willpower and effort is combustible and does not regenerate on its own. More becomes needed.

More work, more hiding, more substances, more playing it safe, more risk, more reward.

If the push of the ego continues, accident will befall us. Injury. Disease. Various breakdowns and slip ups.

At this point, an opening is created. Ideally, the sting of the accident is such that it prompts us to turn the search light within and investigate the inner causes of our problematic behaviour.

We will either see, in lighthearted fashion, the folly of our ways and make the appropriate adjustment, or we will push even harder to “get over it” and resume the status quo.

Pushing even hard to get back into the winning-losing — i.e., happy-sad — flow will, at some point down the line, create an even greater accident. And another, and another after that.

Until, we finally get the joke that many are starting to get.

The choice between winning and losing is not an actual choice. Both roads lead to misery, eventually. Who really wants that?

We are left, then, with the one and only choiceless choice—to surrender, or not.

That is—to give in, or to push. To be ourselves, or to be our egos.

It is a choiceless choice because nobody wants to suffer indefinitely. At some point, every one of us will turn.

To turn means to let go of our effort, willpower, and thinking of what is best for us.

It means to give into the moment and align with what is true for us—right here and now.

It means to stop considering consequences and act without expectation. Just because.

This path of simplicity brings the greatest reward or “win” of them all.

Causeless and abiding peace, love, and joy.

Who doesn’t want that?