We all have our lives until we don’t. And while we have our lives we suffer. Some a little. Some a lot. And even when we don’t suffer, it is temporary. Eventually the suffering returns.
To live is to have pain. Physical pain. Emotional pain. Mental pain. We either have things we don’t want and can’t get rid of or we long for something that we can never quite obtain. Our minds create a need we can’t satisfy. And the gap between what we want and what we have offers sorrow.
Many of us battle our reality with shoulds. This moment should be like this but it’s like that. People we know should think, say or do such and such but they are not cooperating. We get angry when our world does not meet our expectations and like a small hammer against a great wall, we bang and bang and bang out our futile rage. The wall doesn’t care. It barely notices us. We eventually wear down and collapse. But we never give up our shoulds.
Our shoulds and expectations are the enemy but we seldom see this subtle truth. We are too busy imposing our will on a world that too often has other plans. It wins. We grow old, get sick and die. This is how it’s always been.
There is another way, of course. When we give up our shoulds, we end the war. We open our hearts to creation and see it as it is, not as we would have it. We let other drivers drive and simply see what our brain does with that notion. We let other people live their lives. We see our judgmental, evaluative mind and its relentless effort to control the uncontrollable. We are willing to have what we have and willing to not have what we don’t have. We see the goodness or the rightness in all things. Some wrong, bad things are on their way to becoming good and right. Sometimes they need a little nudging, not a hammer to turn toward the light. The other side of false is true. We can see it if we choose.
Sometimes silence is our best friend. Accepting. Opening. Trusting. Being. We can think, “I can be happy here.” Or, “This is a good place to be.” There is a reason for all this. And we matter. Who we are and what we say and do. Sometimes we need to relax and stop pushing the river. It knows how to flow.
The people around us are struggling to be and need our help, not our judgments. It is good to ask them what they need from us. How can we be of help? Mostly they want us to listen. Just listen and not judge or give them answers or solutions. They need a witnessing presence to their confusion and fear. They feel alone and sad. It’s been a long road and they feel so weary. They just want a friend.
Sometimes we just want to spread our arms and state, “All are welcome here.” Resistance and avoidance brings us pain. We control by giving up control. Peace comes when we let go of war. When we are willing to lose, we win. The more we surrender, the more we win. The more we settle into our own skin and honor who we are.
We are not perfect. No one is and that’s okay. You are you. I am me. Only our minds and egos want to make that a problem. What if we are exactly who we are supposed to be at this moment? What if everyone is doing exactly the right thing for them at this moment? Even our mistakes are leading us somewhere. Can we honor them? Can we learn the lessons they teach us?
There is a great light in the universe trying to break through our window-selves. Look into someone’s eyes. Do you see? Truth is seeking truth. Love is seeking love. Kindness, compassion, forgiveness is seeing itself through you and those you know and love. You are extraordinary. Please remember that. You are a king or queen and yet you are here to serve. We are all here to serve. And the more we give up, the more we receive. The more we love, the more we are loved. I wish you well always always.
Doug Craig graduated from college in Ohio with a journalism degree and got married during the Carter administration. He graduated from graduate school with a doctorate in Psychology, got divorced, moved to Redding, re-married and started his private practice during the Reagan administration. He had his kids during the first Bush administration. Since then he has done nothing noteworthy besides write a little poetry, survive a motorcycle crash, buy and sell an electric car, raise his kids, manage to stay married and maintain his practice for almost 25 years. He believes in magic and is a Sacramento Kings fan.