Life has cycles. We move into things and we move out of things. Some of the more challenging movements are when relationships end or when we lose someone that we love through death or another way or when something ends that is very important to us like a career. Other events which are much more positive can also be challenging, such as the formation of a relationship, getting married, buying a house or having a baby. All these types of events in life touch our inner world. They open a door inside us.
When that door gets opened, almost automatically, a certain fear is there waiting. The world that is behind the door is, generally, unknown territory. For some of us, the territory is familiar because we have spent a long time looking at it painfully within ourselves and very precisely within other people. Many, if not most, people have no idea what is behind the door. They are a baby in that territory; crawling around haphazardly, having no concept of the dangers, nor of what to do exactly when they are there. Sometimes, due to life circumstances, the door can be thrown wide open and the person can really find themselves in the dark.
Valleys and Mountains
One day at school, as a child of six or seven, I decided to be most helpful and loving like the saints the teacher had just been telling us about. I told one of my classmates that the reason no one liked her was that she was not very nice to them. To me, it seemed such good and enlightening advice. All she had to do was be nicer and then she would have friends. She, for some reason unfathomable to me, did not seem so impressed with my helpfulness. She said in a dismissive manner, “What are you talking about? Everybody likes me!” They certainly didn’t like her. She then walked off as if there was something wrong with me.
By the time I was a young teenager the desire to find the meaning of life and the answers to human suffering had become much more pressing. Another day, as a thirteen-year-old, I stood in our family kitchen having just overheard a typical family argument and I thought, so clearly that it is still in my memory, that there must be a way for people not to suffer if only I could discover the path to happiness. In that moment, at some level, a life purpose was cemented or, perhaps, it would be more correct to say it surfaced from the predawn of my life.
A decade later, my spiritual teacher, Dr. Thomas Hora, joined me in my journey through that valley of discovery. I was able to explore the terrain and ask questions which helped me make sense of a foreign and somewhat dangerous inner world. It seemed to me I was more begging for answers at the time rather than asking in any polite manner but Dr. Hora was not fazed. I found what I needed to find.
The dark valley became a much clearer and lighter landscape. I learned which way was up the mountain and I could see where the treacherous spots were. We do not have to be afraid of the fear that unavoidably comes up with such adventures. The fear is simply letting us know that something important has arrived for us to look at and work with. It means we will make progress and reap the rewards. It’s a wonderful opportunity. We don’t want to run away from it. We want to embrace it.
This article is from Love’s Longing