Things are often changing in our personal world and in the larger world of societal and political arenas. Changes occur in the natural earth environment on a regular basis, some are evolutionary and some, due to human ignorance, are regressive or destructive. Humans live with constant change, while striving to create security and permanence. Hence, our relationship to everything over which we have no control determines how we live our lives. Viewing difficulty and suffering as isolating, a sign of weakness and failure, or as an obstacle that has to be overcome results in one world view. Viewing difficulty and suffering as an initiatory experience that calls one to be more present and open to transcendence results in a different world view. Changes are going to happen. We have little or no control over our outer circumstances. So, how are changes going to bring healing to us personally, let alone to the greater world?
Once again, we come to the truth that attitude is everything. If we examine the attitude that suffering and difficulties are an indication there is something wrong with us, with our job, with our family, with our communities, with the government, and with Spirit itself, we may conclude that “God is dead!” and “I have to look out for number one.” At worst, this attitude becomes a cause of war, violence, domination, and the greedy, relentless destruction of the earth in order to satisfy a need for safety and comfort. If we examine the attitude that suffering and difficulties are a normal part of life and a call for us to be open, engaged, and cooperative in discovering how to move through the vicissitudes with compassion, kindness, and generosity to all involved we might find ourselves following in the footsteps of the Great Beings of Spirit. This attitude of initiation or innovative beginnings can become the incentive to find a cure for life-threatening diseases, discover how to feed the hungry of the world, clean up the oceans, or negotiate a lasting peace for war torn countries. In all challenges and changes the choice is clear- will it be Me or We
Before western civilization decided to regard happiness as an inalienable right and therefore deemed pain and sadness as a diagnosis that needed treatment- woundedness and aliveness were thought of as natural and dependent on each other in order to find something deeper than momentary satisfaction- Joy. Think of a time when you were really ill for days or even weeks and then one day you awoke and knew you were on the mend. That feeling was more than fleeting happiness it was a deep seated joy. Or, consider a time of loss when a loved individual, human or animal, had left you brokenhearted. For a time, everything reminded you of the pain until one day all those same things reminded you of the love. This is the meaning of joy. Someday, when we are awake, at last, we still have to decide how to come to peace with the very real life experience of suffering.
Changes can bring healing into our lives and into the world. However, change doesn’t always bring healing or evolution. Sometimes, change is just a different form of injustice, suffering, and rhetoric. So, how can a person develop evolutionary change? One way is called cognitive behavioral therapy. This is a form of self-questioning that examines motivations and unconscious habit patterns to discover if there is a true willingness to change or only an imagined desire to change. Some of these questions are: What change do I wish to make? Why do I want to make this change? What are the advantages of staying the same? What are the perceived advantages of changing? What changes have I succeeded in making in the past? What qualities were required to make that change?
Transformation is a process and takes more than simply making up one’s mind in order to engage the desired evolution. Just like in the political or societal world where the majority of people have to be convinced that the restructuring process is actually worthwhile, our internal committee voices have to be convinced to cooperative or failure is inevitable and permanent. All evolution is an experiment to see what works and what doesn’t. Amma Ilowan often says– failure is inevitable, success requires repeated effort. One of my favorite sayings from t-shirt ads is- What would you create if you knew you could not fail? It takes more courage to live in the world as it is, than going open-eyed toward certain death.
A spiritual life doesn’t necessarily lead to tranquility, peace, or a beautiful feeling about ourselves or how nice it is to be together with others. An ordinary life, with or without spirit, doesn’t lead to these feelings either. If we want our changes to heal our heart, and bring about the possibility of a better world we need courage, determination, a positive attitude, and the remembrance of who we truly are. The negative voices in our heads and the negative voices surrounding us are so loud and persistent that it is easy to believe them. It’s the trap of being a fugitive hiding from life in entertainment, drugs, alcohol, or sexual addiction. The transformational journey of healing change requires constant remembrance that we are the avatars of Divine Spirit and Divine Spirit is within us, around us, and expressing as us. We are not taking our life journey alone. Divine Mother, Father, and Weaver are walking with us. Our job is to accept Presence and listen to our authentic, true self. In this way, changes shall bring healing for ourselves and maybe the whole world.