It wouldn’t make sense for me to assume the posture of a great spiritual teacher who knows the secret to finding inner peace. I don’t.
I frequently experience states of sadness, depression, anger, impatience, and the like. However, this emotional spectrum that is seemingly negative has yielded me some great gifts of wisdom. I’d like to share what I’ve learned.
When I started reading spiritual books and learned about concepts like enlightenment, I had an image of my head of it being some great event. I pictured myself giving lectures to crowds of thousands, or being interviewed about my great secret that so few had attained. I imagined myself at tables with Buddha, Jesus, and Eckhart Tolle, all of us nodding our heads in agreement.
This was no more than fantasy appearing under the guise of spirituality. I think it’s probably quite common among spiritual seekers. There is a mind structure that says “This isn’t good enough,” “I’m not good enough,” and “She really could be doing much better. She shouldn’t be acting this way.” Most of us are conditioned to perpetually find something wrong with right now. Can we change this conditioning? Can we start to see everything as right, just the way it is?
A lot of people will argue this and say that all progress is dependent on wanting things to be different than they are. That’s where the motivation to act comes from. On one hand, I suppose that’s true. Anger, desire, fear; these intense emotional states do indeed force people into action. But what is the quality of that action? Is there a better way to bring about change?
The better path is the path of contentment or surrender. I don’t accept life exactly the way it is because it’s some supposedly elevated spiritual truth, but because I recognize that this moment takes the form that it does because it could not be any other way. All of life, from time immemorial, has been in a state of constant evolution that now appears as this moment, the way that it is. You could not be different than you are or have a different way with which you navigate life. You are evolution, the evolution of consciousness of this planet. From page 117 in the book Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle,
“…the totality of life has brought this event about. It is part of the interconnectedness that is the cosmos. This means: whatever is could not be otherwise.In most cases, we can not begin to understand what role a seemingly senseless event may have within the totality of the cosmos, but recognizing its inevitability within the vastness of the whole can be the beginning of an inner acceptance of what is thus a realignment with the wholeness of life”
It is such a common notion to believe that one has complete sovereignty over an objectified sense of “my life.” But you only think, believe, and act as you do based on your level of consciousness that has been evolving and expanding since the day you were born. As spiritual teachers will often point out: You do not live your life, but life lives you.
This is very uncomfortable for most people to accept because of what it entails. It means that the little I, the ego, is not the one in control. It means surrender.
The recognition that we are all doing the best we can based on the consciousness we are simultaneously ends the constant war with reality that most people are constantly engaged in. Simply look out onto this moment and what you are doing now, and accept what life is doing with you. Say, “I am at sitting at a computer screen reading. I am in this room. Things can be no other way and so I accept them.” This is what surrender means
Let life use you as it wants. It’s going to anyways! Your acceptance of this fact brings an entirely new dimension into your life, and that dimension is peace. It’s not some great exciting loud peace. It’s the quiet peace of knowing things must be this way, and letting them be as they are. Simple contentment with what is.
You will not do nothing under this paradigm. However, the things you are drawn to doing will change. This may come as a small change, such as wanting to read a good book over watching television. Or being drawn to healthier foods. This time can be very exciting as you witness how acceptance changes the actions you take in your daily life.
If you feel like you don’t get it, or you aren’t conscious enough yet, surrender that too. Remind yourself that you are as conscious as you can be. You are as enlightened as you can be. Make peace with the present moment.