I’m about to go to bed after a good but tiring first day back at school with the children, but I wanted to post briefly about something that’s been on my mind…
It has struck me recently that sometimes I actually hamper my own progress because I am frightened. I am talking about spiritual progress, or essentially about coping with a particular difficult life circumstance. I think that many of us do this. In the particular, personal situation I am thinking of (moving on from a complicated relationship) I feel sometimes that I am actually doing a lot better than I think I am… it may be hard but I am coping, moment to moment, and I am managing to laugh, managing to appreciate the ordinary joys of chatting with friends or looking at the winter sky. Of course, this is a good thing. But I realise that I sometimes feel scared of the progress I am making because it means acknowledging the end of this particular relationship–the dreams that went with it, the comfort, the ideas I had about this person and his feelings towards me, and a myriad other things I can’t explain. Whilst I feel better, remaining in the present moment and not being such a slave to my emotions and feelings about him, it is hard to acknowledge my ‘progress’ because a part of me still wants to cling on to the old dreams, the way it was, the thoughts I have had about him and what might have been.
It is tough. And sometimes it feels as though I am standing on the edge of a cliff, taking a big gulping breath of cold air. But I know that this is the right way to go, and that focusing on the present moment is the only way to truly live life and to avoid the trap of constant craving and eternal seeking.
I guess I just wanted, as well as confessing my own thoughts, to reassure you, if you are feeling this way, that I am right there with you. You are not failing because you are scared. And, in making progress and moving toward a healthier platform, it is natural to feel some fear and some resistance because it means letting go of something or someone we once cherished. It also usually means altering a long-held perspective, or losing it altogether. These are big changes and do not happen overnight.
I am reminded of Pema Chodron’s quote, that fear is “a natural response to moving closer to the truth”. Searching ourselves and taking a good, close, honest look at our tangled mind is not an easy thing to do. But I do know that it is worth it.
And I also know, in my situation, despite the pain and sorrow that still surfaces quite often, that I feel a thousand times better when I am focused on the sensations in my body and on the present moment rather than caught in a never-ending cycle of thought and longing and wondering.
At some point, enough is enough, and you realise that you and your soul are the most precious things worth nurturing. And that behaving in a way that is elegant, gracious and tender, without desperate clinging or anger, feels so much better. It is hard when people leave and hurt your pride, but resolving to embrace your feelings and be conscious whilst surrending to external circumstances is the most powerful thing you can do for your own well-being and healing.
Whatever you are going through, hang in there. We are feeling it together, and making progress, even if it scares us. We feel that fear too, and we accept it all.