Today, I have much to do in order to get ready for our upcoming annual Independence Day celebration, so I will share with you an example of one of my shorter writings. I keep a file of interesting quotes and thoughts that I have read for the purpose of exploring and expounding upon the concepts for this blog. I felt compelled to share this wisdom from the Dalai Lama found in the book, A Flash of Lightning in the Dark of Night, which I read some five years ago.
I chose this selection because several of my friends have expressed feeling overwhelmed by the challenges which have appeared in their lives. To those friends and to anyone else experiencing upheaval in your lives, I urge you to carefully consider these wise words:
â€œThe view of interdependence makes for a great openness of mind. In general, instead of realizing that what we experience arises from a complicated network of causes, we tend to attribute happiness or sadness, for example, to single, individual sources. But if this were so, as soon as we came into contact with what we consider to be good, we would automatically be happy, and conversely, in the case of bad things, invariably sad. The causes of joy and sorrow would be easy to identify and target. It would all be very simple, and there would be good reason for our anger and attachment. When, on the other hand, we consider that everything we experience results from a complex interplay of causes and conditions, we find that there is no single thing to desire or resent, and it is more difficult for the afflictions of attachment or anger to arise. In this way, the view of
interdependence makes our mind more relaxed and open.â€
I have always found that much of what disturbs the calm peace of my soul are external events over which I have absolutely no control. Many years ago I decided that if something happened, which wasÂ beyond my ability to change, my only power was to be found in how I chose to react to that situation. Since I knew that it wasÂ insane for me to resist that which I hadÂ no power to affect, I made a conscious decision to stop fighting.
I have heard people say, â€œBut Elliott, it is not that easy.â€
To which I respond, â€œYou are right it is not that easy, but why isnâ€™t it?â€
The simplest answer is that we are conditioned to react because life begins hypnotizing us before we are cognizant of the fact that we have a choice. Consequently, we think, as the Dalai Lama pointed out, that one outer event or another creates our unhappiness or our stress, when in fact it is theÂ desire for life to be â€œother than it isâ€ that causes our dissatisfaction. This disappointment, unexplored, becomes frustration and can lead to anger and depression if we are not willing and able to let it go.
As children, when life happens, which is contrary to our wishes, we stomp our feet, cry, and get angry at our parents, care givers, or other children which we perceive as being the creators of the situation. As adults, we no longer have our parents, teachers, relatives, or other children to blame so we get mad at life or in many cases get angry with the God we believe in. Instead of stomping our feet and directing our anger outward, we tend to internalize our reactions to lifeâ€™s perceived unfairness, creating stress disorders, depression, and all types of medical issues.
I could, quite honestly, write fifty pages on this single issue, and I am sure that I already have and will continue to do so in the future, but I promised this would be a short Secret so I am going to leave you to consider these words from Gangaji, someone who has helped me immensely:
â€œAs I fell into what initially seemed like an abyss of hopeless despair, the fulfillment and peace I was searching revealed themselves to be here, to have always been here, with no possibility of ever leaving. Most shockingly, I saw that I had always known it! In that instant I realized that everything I could ever have wanted was already here as the ground of pure, eternal being. All of the suffering I had called â€œmeâ€ or â€œmineâ€ had actually taken place in shining pure beingness! Most importantly, I saw that the truth of who I am is this beingness. This same beingness is present everywhere, in everything, visible and invisible.â€
Ultimately this is the salvation we are all seeking when we resist whatever appears in life. For in this Truth lies the peace which surpasses understanding. When we truly Know who and what we ARE, lifeâ€™s power to disrupt our joyous experience vanishes. And while this is not really easy, it truly is simple. We only need to let go of everything which is not this TRUTH.