Life's Challenges as a conduit for spiritual growth
"When the ego weeps for what it has lost, the spirit rejoices for what it has found."
- Eckhart Tolle's view on Ancient Sufi saying-
Challenges are a significant, unavoidable part of human existence.
It's like there is always something that sabotages the things that are going well in life.
These obstacles may come at a personal level, expressing the end of something that had become part of our sense of self, e.g. loss of possessions, a relationship, a loved one, a healthy body, or status.
Or at a collective level, representing violent and sudden changes in a feature of society or the earth, e.g. a financial collapse, an earthquake, a hurricane, or even a pandemic.
Although a natural and important part of life, in the absence of awareness, challenges are experienced by the human ego as obstacles that bring suffering and unhappiness.
If left unattended our mind creates this illusion where we believe in the names and labels we give things, including ourselves. We forget that these are just thoughts. They are not real.
And when a challenge comes, we temporarily attribute this ongoing mind-made delusion of fear and unhappiness to the difficult events we are facing and fight it.
When in fact life's challenges are the ultimate blessing of the soul, as they push us to expand our consciousness through physical, psychological, and spiritual growth.
They bring us the opportunity to disentangle ourselves from any unobserved mental delusions.
How do you take this opportunity?
The practice here is to stay alert, watchful, and face each challenge without giving it a label and becoming trapped in that label.
Ask yourself, is there something here that is causing me to be unhappy, or is it just my interpretation of the events?
Is my unhappiness coming from the direct experience of the circumstances?
Am I limiting or disempowering myself through the use of words, such as "loss", "less", "poor", "alone", "divorcee", "old", "unworthy", "failure"?
Be attentive and embrace all that is arising.
Your mind's power comes from unawareness and resistance.
Resist nothing and let all the misconceptions subside before you address the situation.
Then, when your mind is clear you will recognize it for what it is, a blessing in disguise.
Challenges and misfortunes are one of life's ways to carry away something that we were mistakenly identified with so we can dive deeper into the essence of who we truly are.
Even if you can't be grateful for it right away, know it to be an opening for disillusion and expansion.
Meanwhile, Be mindful of the sensations that arise in your body from this experience of diminishment.
Witness any pain, aching, tingling, contraction, or inner resistance.
Pay attention to any movements or internal urges to fill the void that appears as a result of this loss/ absence.
Instead of trying to fill this emptiness right away, be aware of it, pay attention to it, feel it.
Eventually, this silence will make you still.
And inner stillness will help you realize the infinite value that you, not possess, but are.
Because that stillness, that consciousness, that spaciousness that underlies the entire universe, that's who you are.
Let life guide you back home.