The Dalai Lama was asked, “What will happen after you die?” He responded, “I don’t know, but I hope and pray, I am reborn wherever there is most suffering”.
The Dalai Lama’s answer made me reflect on 2020. Many in society live with a constant routine of sameness called certainty, the easy way of living. This way of living has led that same society to become unhappier over the past four decades. As a result, unhappy people isolate themselves from the outside world; they entertain thoughts of anger, envy, meaninglessness, fear and sadness. These thoughts start in the mind, the same place where disease takes form.
Joseph Campbell once said, “Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging. ”Opportunities to be better reside in the unknown. But, since humans like to control things, in fact it is in our nature to do so, we completely lose sight in embracing every opportunity that lies before us.
Think about your 5-year-old for a moment, did he/she want to have every part of their day mapped out and planned down to the minute details? No way!
So often though, as adults, we disconnect ourselves from the heart and the spirit, so that those child-like qualities and inner calls for freedom and expression go unanswered. We ignore the signals that tell us we may be in the wrong relationship or the wrong job, simply because we value comfort and certainty over living truthfully and expressing ourselves fully. And then we wonder why we are sick, depressed and unfulfilled. In the courage of embracing uncertainty, we discover the truth.
So how do we avoid this fate? The answer is simple, yet difficult.
In order to live the life that is our destiny, we must release fear, step into our personal power and trust that we are supported and guided at all times, in every way. We must understand that the quiet, inner voice that has been begging for our attention is not that of an immature child, but that of our spirit, our truth – and it deserves our attention.
Although none of us knows what is around the corner, having a plan can seem like the best way to avoid pain, discomfort and disappointment. The reality is that we will experience those things no matter what: It is a part of being human. Isn’t it better then, to have the pleasure of experiencing life while walking the path of our destiny, rather than avoiding it?
I know which one I choose.
Uncertainty is always an opportunity and when embraced, helps us to understand our fears. When we learn how to build a relationship with uncertainty, we build a relationship with the essence of ourselves. Within every decision we make lies the opportunity for growth. It brings us one step closer to the person we want to become as the person we want to become is already inside us. Learning to thrive in the unknown doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process where you begin to learn how to avoid judging yourself and others and how to make better decisions and let go of the victim mentality. And so, you begin to reignite the creative person inside and embark on what is known as the Hero’s Journey. The best experiences in life don’t come knocking on your door, you have to go after them.
We live in Uncertainty every day!
When life is busy or all your energy is focused on a special project, it's easy to find yourself off balance, ignoring the important areas of your life. While you need drive and focus to get things done, taking this too far can lead to frustration and intense stress.
That's when it's time to take a "helicopter view" of your life to bring things back into balance. Consider each area of your life in turn and assess what's off balance.
Rate the following on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being best: Finances, Health, Relationships, Family, Fun, Career, Spirituality, Living Space and Romance. Think of these areas as energy wheels that can only move forward when you are at the helm. For anything below a 7, think about: What breakthrough do I want to see in this area?
The most powerful reflection I’ve had this year, is the concept of IMPERMANENCE. This understanding helps us in our transformation, healing and emancipation. Nothing remains the same in any consecutive moment. Everything changes all the time!
Three ways to cope with change are:
- Meditation – the practice of focused concentration, resting the mind and reaching higher levels of consciousness. Scientifically, it can reduce chronic pain, heart disease and high blood pressure.
- Journaling – having a conversation with yourself on paper. It helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It also helps to improve our immune system as we reduce the cloudiness of our thoughts.
- Mindfulness – taking the meditation “off the cushion” and into everyday life. It is also the energy that helps us to recognize the conditions of happiness that are already present in our life, in the here and now, not in the past and not in the future. Nature is the greater teacher of mindfulness. Walk, breathe and use your senses every day as if it was the first time.
“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you do not blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change”
― Thich Nhat Hanh