See the Gift

When summer changes to fall, would you say that summer has ended?

On one level, yes. It is no longer as sunny, or warm, and the kids come home from camp ready for a new school year. It feels different.

On another level, no. It is just a matter of time before summer “begins” anew again.

Things change form and cycles come to relative completion, even as new ones take their place. That’s what we typically call an “ending.”

There can be pain associated with things changing form and cycles coming to relative completion. We tend to reach for the static and concrete, or what is known and has become familiar.

Ultimately, it is pain of our own making, as we are always — always — being given what we are asking for in every moment. If only we knew that with crystal clarity. However, what fun are movies for which you knew the full story in advance?

We must summon the courage to bear every trial that so called endings bring with them. It is not easy to bury a loved one, retire a career, accept injury, or adjust with a new reality taking shape.

What good is it to cling to summer? What good is it to wish it were warmer in fall’s cool breezes?

Suffering, i.e., chronic pain is wishing for things to be different than they are.

What we do then is love everything. The coming and the going. The ending and the beginning. The triumph and the trial.

We start to perceive them as one energy wearing a different costume, depending on the need of our evolution. How much kinder does the world become when we see it constantly providing for us, meeting each and every one of our needs with a type of precision bordering on the level of genius?

We no longer have a reason to complain. All sense of lack and limitation begins to dissolve. Like any great movie or tale, we look forward to what comes next.

We now know whatever it is, is a gift.

The Pain You Don't Feel

The pain you don’t feel, you can’t heal.

For some, this comes as a relief and becomes a deep-rooted strategy and orientation towards life.

Inside they say, “Let me do what I can to bury my pain, so I don’t have to feel it, so I don’t have to do the work of healing it.”

Alcohol. Substances. Fitness regiments. Relationships. Money pursuits. Fame. Political conquest. Domination. Some forms of religion and spirituality even.

All of these things and those like them have the effect of pulling us outside of ourselves and trap us in the win-lose game. We get busy trying to win (or achieve) and avoid loss. So busy that there is no time, until around the time of death, to look within.

The win-lose or happy-sad game, after awhile, becomes intolerable. You sense there is more to life. You sense there is an inner world in need of attention. You tire of all the work for what amounts to a temporary high that comes, stays for awhile, and then goes… leaving you in need of more, perhaps compromising your dignity in the process.

The pain you don’t feel, you can’t heal.

For others, this becomes a mission.

First, to eliminate all the avoidance strategies pulling us outside of ourselves. We understand we must open the inner floodgates to let all that we’ve been bottling up find the light of day and path to exit.

This, similarly, can be an intolerable experience but, like the healthy purging of a toxin doing damage to the system, you know you will be better off on the other side.

We can take comfort in knowing that we are never given more than we can handle on the healing journey, which is the journey of becoming whole, undivided, and pure.

Sometimes we worry, “When is this going to end?” Understandable though this question may be — as nobody wants to live indefinitely in a compromised and vulnerable state — to the sincerest adepts among us, the question is righted by the higher understanding, “This ends, when it ends. In this moment, I am perfect, whole, and complete. Every need brings what is needed. I will not be forsaken.”

We find the resilience to soldier on.

The greater the trial of healing, the greater the reward of self-realization, whose fruits include abiding peace and bliss.

We might wonder, why prefer lesser trials?

Why not go all the way?

You Are That

In the Ramacharitmanas, an ancient Hindu text, we have the telling of a deeply poignant interaction between Ram and his humble servant, Hanuman.

“Lord Ram gave Hanuman a quizzical look and said, ‘What are you, a monkey or a man?’ Hanuman bowed his head reverently, folded his hands and said, ‘When I do not know who I am, I serve You. When I do know who I am, You and I are One.’”

We were born with a case of amnesia. We do not know who we are. Where we come from. Why we are here. What to do.

Our job is to re-member, which means to join again.

In our forgetfulness, we look to others — experts, authorities, gurus, saints, sages, Gods, inspirational characters of all sorts — to re-mind us.

In spirituality (and in many other domains) this external seeking to join again is best represented by the guru-disciple relationship. Or, the relationship between the one in ignorance and the one in knowledge.

However, we are not in ignorance. We are in amnesia. We are in a temporary state of forgetfulness of the who, what, where, why, when of our existence. Therefore, any true teacher or guru or expert will help you to remember who you are by skillfully pointing you back to yourself. That’s the job they are uniquely suited for, hard-earned through years of dedicated practice and forbearance.

Believing another has the answer we are looking for, we naturally feel inclined to serve and get close to them. We are enamored, humbled, in reverence, and feel moved to do what we can to ensure this person can enlighten the world.

This voluntary service is an essential part of the journey and will happen, in one form or another, to every one of us. Through service to the teacher — i.e., the one we feel has something we do not — the disciple or devotee slowly, over time begins to merge with the object of their service—as what you connect with with sincere devotion, you become (to a startling degree).

It reaches a point where the devotee finally wakes up from their state of amnesia. She begins to understand that, “I am also that. My guru and I are not separate. We are one and the same.”

Of course, this has always been true from the start but such remembrance takes time and unthinkable amounts of patience to realize.

Guru and disciple can now release one another and detach with love. Each has performed the job required, as determined by nature’s law. The servant becomes the master, which is really just a slightly higher and more self-realized form of servant.

You are That.

Always have been and always will be.