Proper Attitude Towards Adversity
The past year has been fraught with changes and challenges. My wife retired due to health issues and I decided to close my office in order to help with her needs. In addition, I have been dealing with nerve damage resulting from a serious bout of shingles two years ago. Seems like we entered a season of life where such things happen, but, c’est la vie.
There is nothing on the spiritual path that can be separated from learning and lessons. Regardless of how much we may prefer alternate circumstances, the appropriate attitude is understanding how we can change in the face of adversity, not how life can be made more accommodating. It is said that yogis learn to be even-minded in the midst of life’s ups and downs. That has always seemed like cookie-cutter commentary to me but the reality is, it’s true.
When we identify with the body and life around us, we subject ourselves to the consciousness of being the body, the mind, and so forth. We identify with the world. This is not the correct spiritual perspective. The reality is we are souls inhabiting bodies. When we identify as children of the Divine we allow ourselves to engage with Spirit as heirs to the Kingdom, not mortal beggars subject to the will o’the wisp of fate.
The only way to accomplish this is to change our ‘center of gravity’ from dependency on outer gratification to realization of the soul’s qualities within. When able to touch and grasp a joy or peace that is independent of external causation, we realize more clearly our soul nature. Life continues to hammer these lessons home until we finally get them. The lesson plan may differ for everyone but it’s there. And even then the process may not cease. Why? Because this is a world of duality; wherever there is an up, there must be a corresponding down. Learning to be anchored within through meditation is a must; a grace and necessity cultivated through spiritual practice.
This doesn’t mean – as in my case – that we’ve perfected the art of living, but, we have a better handle on meaning, purpose, and method. Talk is cheap but life does not brook nonsense. Unless and until we take spiritual practices seriously, we remain at the mercy of whatever comes next. Yogananda counseled disciples to not take this life too seriously. He was right. It can be a torment to those who do, an entertaining drama – with ups and downs – to those who recognize it as a spiritual play. This doesn’t disqualify one from being human and feeling, rather, it helps one learn that both can be spiritualized to a higher standard. Looking at life through the lens of wisdom allows one to seek and see God in everything; to surrender to what’s trying to happen while simultaneously doing your best to remedy untoward circumstances. In short, learning to be even-minded and cheerful amidst upheaval by virtue of being anchored in and associated with the fruits of the soul.
As Spring is a season of rebirth and renewal, I invite you to delve more deeply into who and what you are, the essence of Spirit. There is no down-side to this exploration. Rather, it is an investment that pays great dividends when the winds of outer life shift from balmy to blustery. Seek the Kingdom within; realize the truth of your eternal Self, and you shall be increasingly comforted then, finally, free.
Blessings to you all.