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Don’t Look Down!

By Rev. Sheila Graves

Jim Morrison told us we wouldn’t get out of here alive. We also don’t get out of here without a few cuts, scrapes, bruises or down-right take-downs—physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, or any other way. There will be significant challenges for every single one of us, especially as the rubber meets the road on our collective spiritual journey.

Think of just about anyone you know, and you can call to mind significant difficulties in their lives. Sometimes more than one at a time. We shouldn’t be surprised. Momma said there’d be times like this. But Momma also might have said: nothing’s true about you if you don’t believe it. Or nothing’s true about you if you don’t give it energy. Because while there’s often a value in considering others’ opinions about us, that doesn’t mean we take our self-image from a group version.

In other words, and taken more broadly, the promise and power we have aren’t that there won’t be troubles in life, but that we can get through them—by showing up, by believing in the possibilities and continuing to fight for what is good, and by giving more energy to the solution than to the problem.

Despite what New Thought says, we aren’t the creators of everything in our personal world. There are too many players, too many influences, and too many energies in motion to give ourselves credit or blame for everything that happens.

But we do significantly affect our experience of life in many ways. We do invite situations, possibilities (and consequences) into our lives. We do create our own perceptions, then experiences, of what happens. The online blog Daily OM has said: Though our energy flow is an open system and influenced by factors outside of our control, we ultimately choose what impact these will have in our lives.

The impact of an experience comes from a lot of factors. First, the interpretation we give it. We can see any situation as victimization, challenge or opportunity. There are some situations that are just plain devastating: very poor health, financial loss, loss of a loved one—still, how we frame an event has enormous influence on how we experience it.

Then there’s our role in it, our level of participation in bringing it forth. Acknowledging our role in some situation and taking responsibility for it, taking an honest look at what might need to change, is a lot more healing than blaming others—wasting away in Margaretaville only to realize it’s our own fool fault.

The weight of an experience is also influenced by the importance we put on it. There’s a human tendency to put lots of energy into small issues to distract from larger ones. So, is something “the end of our world”…or just a difficulty that might cost us money or time, but doesn’t have to take us down? Does this experience throw the value of our lives into question, or remind us that there’s more to us than we’ve been offering?

Related to this is the advice to stop worrying about the small stuff—and more of it’s small than we think. Expectations aren’t met. Wishes aren’t fulfilled. Days don’t go as planned. Tensions rise when sitting in traffic. Work is interrupted. And we run late. These are opportunities to accept that we aren’t in control of every single thing in life, but we are in control of how we perceive and fit it into our life tapestry.

And how determined are we to use a situation for the good of all concerned? The boundaries we perceive to be between ourselves and others are only perception, and together we comprise a single complex system of Being—one human Soul. So there’s nothing that doesn’t eventually impact those around us, eventually rippling out. In general, then, do we live our lives with conscious choice and living awareness of our inter-dependence? This has always been well-advised, but it’s become critical now. Whatever issues face us won’t be resolved without commitment to the whole.

SO…If nothing is true for us unless we give it energy, what in our lives are we going to feed, and how? We can go back into old patterns, or forward to a new vision. We can look down at the past—what we’ve climbed on to get where we are, or up at the future—what inspires and sustains us. Either way, it’s our free will—the gift that a Consciousness Universe offers us.

It’s normal to have good times and bad. And during the challenges, we can’t use being “positive” as a reason to gloss over issues that need our attention. That’s a waste of precious time and energy. But neither can we live our lives in the state of company-loving misery. We were never guaranteed a care-free life. We were never guaranteed that there wouldn’t be loss. What we were guaranteed are opportunities to make our lives count for something.

Nevertheless, it isn’t easy to stay open to life in the middle of things seeming to fall apart. So, again, where do we seek support? Down at our feet like a child that’s afraid or ashamed—or around us to those that share a determination to rise?

And how do we hold our head? Down in defeat and long-term sadness—or up to the sun and stars, at least as often as we can, at the good, comforting, sacred things in our world? Things like family (of blood or choice), the seasons that bring constant renewal, and the moments of Grace that give us hope, peace,  renewed strength, and reasons to keep going.

In Essence, we find support by pausing to feel the heart-beat of Life itself, the heart of our Oneness, because without that beat we can’t work and dance together…for what is Good. Feeling the beat, expressing our passion, using our energy, and gearing up to go forward. Restoring to the world some of its wonder and wholeness. Making the wisest decisions we can in the moment as we flow to the rhythm of our shared challenges, shared lives, and shared heart. These create the beloved community that will sustain us in difficult times.

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