If you’ve ever attended Sunday school as a kid, or if you are familiar at all with the Bible, surely you’ve heard the story of Moses and the burning bush. God talks to Moses literally through a burning bush on the side of a mountain and tells Moses the next steps that he needs to take. I have often prayed for God to be so clear and dramatic when sometimes desperately seeking answers.
As I continue to seek God’s direction in my life, he is guiding me. In many cases, the answers are subtle, yet also in many cases, the answers and outcome are truly amazing. While there have been no burning bushes, there have certainly been many doors slammed and others opened. Many, who I call “angels”, came to my aid when I needed help.
In our society there has been an increasingly popular “spirituality” movement. Psychic readings, spiritual teachers and channeling abound. I believe the reason for this popularity is that we all want answers. We want the burning bush Tabula Rasa Online Retreat . We want to know what the future holds. Living a guided life, a life of faith, means living without being able to see our future – yet trusting that God has our future in his hands. Our faith comes ultimately from what is not seen.
Even throughout the darkest periods of our life, we still have choices. Whilst it may not seem this way, it is because we become trapped in our pain and suffering and don’t realise the way out. Knowing this, I’d like you to reflect on a recent difficulty in your life. Perhaps it was last year? Think back to the lessons gained from the experience. Yes, it may be challenging to find a lesson, but I assure you it is there. For example, a young family friend whom I’ve known for decades passed away from a lifelong illness late last year. Although the loss was difficult, I’ve come to reflect on the good times rather than focus on the loss. I endured other setbacks around the same time which left me deflated and uninspired, yet I kept looking for the greater lessons contained within those difficulties.
Can you relate to this? Sometimes the forces of life conspire against us, yet it is precisely what we need for our personal growth. Pain is a part of life and to run away from it intensifies our suffering. Pain forces us to grow and helps us decide what it important to us. We ought to devote energy to what brings us joy and happiness whilst finding meaning and value in those pursuits. It is said not everything is meant to be in our life and knowing what to let go of and hold on to is the challenge we face. In the same way, we spend the first half of our life accumulating thoughts and ideas and spend the second half of life letting go of these things. In view of this, are you devoting time and energy to things that make you happy or clutching to familiarity hoping it will give you what you need? It requires examining ourselves to see where we are squandering our energy. It may not be easy picking apart our life but it will be worthwhile.
Similarly, growth takes place through experience. We grow through difficult moments not when we’re in our comfort zone. We may experience a strong gust of wind that rattles our sails in order to experience resiliency. However, we always have a choice. We can stay mired in our difficulties or endure what is taking place knowing respite lies around the corner. This is when we mustn’t lose faith when seized in battle. I know it’s difficult particularly when hardship is knocking on our door. I’ve endured many challenges throughout my life and yelled out to the universe to throw me a lifeline. Sometimes I feel ignored and alone. Yet, underneath the silence the universe invites me to go within to find the wisdom I need. I am being guided that the answers are contained within me. Through your challenges you will be shown the way once you stop resisting and look for the lessons within the experience.
How do you feel about this? Can you see when answers don’t arise you are called to go to the source within you? It requires mining for answers in moments of silence. Often, there’s nothing to do other than endure the darkness and allow it to move through us. This is when we must embrace the present moment and be open to where life is leading us. We mustn’t fear the future but bring our attention back to the present moment where everything we need is contained right now. Difficult moments anchor us to the present moment. We needn’t fix or mend anything because the future will take care of itself when we attend to the pockets of moments interwoven throughout our life. It is what author Mary O’Malley refers to when she writes in What’s In The Way Is The Way: A Practical Guide For Waking Up To Life: “Imagine a life where you trust Life implicitly. Every morning you wake up with a sense of adventure. Your belly is soft, your mind is curious, and your heart is open. Rather than struggling with Life, you open to it, even when you are facing deep challenges. If you find yourself caught in reaction, you give your reaction the attention it needs to let go.”
Being grounded in our now experience offers us the gift of serving our needs as they arise. When difficulties occur, there’s a tendency to focus on what is missing or what is going wrong. Can you see this is one way of looking at your life? Are you realising this is not what you signed up for? I liken it to a train passing through a railway station, stopping momentarily to pick up passengers before moving on? Difficulties come and go from our life and if we embrace the lessons, we gain the universal understanding for our highest good. Considering this, reflect on the difficulties I asked you about earlier. As a practice, write three lessons you gained from the experiences. You may also want to write what you didn’t like about the experiences and compare whether the lessons outweighed the challenges. I mentioned earlier how there’s always something to be grateful for. It’s difficult to see when we’re mired in our suffering. Yet, hindsight allows us to look back on our challenges with an open mind and a compassionate heart, knowing whatever we experienced endowed us with choices we never thought we had.