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How do you make hard decisions?

3 Ott

Yesterday morning the above question was dropped from a dear friend, and the answer that came seemed valuable, so here it is, just slightly edited.

There are two answers to that, yet they share the core, which is you go deep inside of yourself. Deep inside of you, you have two advantages: one is equanimity (the balance needed to take hard decisions), the second is that you have the space to accept the pain or sorrow that might come with it. From that deep space you also are sure that you have to do what comes to you, and you are ok with it.
By going deep inside of you I mean: you put all of your attention inside the body and start noticing every single little activity, energy movement, sensation, that goes on inside. Special attention among all those activities is deserved by breathing. By that, you make your mind reasonably silent and you notice the space inside of you, and breathe into it.
Initially I mentioned that there are two answers, so let me now explain them: the first is the classic and real life one. As soon as you reach the depth of you, you allow for whatever needs to come to you, to arrive. If the time is right, it will arrive, or you might actually already find it, down there. If the time is not yet right, you should simply wait. Normally you know. If you are deep enough you are immune to the frustration or urgency, you can see them but you shouldn’t be bothered too much.
The second answer actually implies that there is no you taking that decision. That decision is taken by itself. It just comes and it has a power of its own, that cannot be ignored.
At the end the difference between the two answers is how well you know yourself. It always boils down to the depth that you are….. Whether you know it or not, you are a little bit (or a lot) like the Sun, therefore deep down you don’t care if a plant lives or dies because of your light, your love, and it is not because you lack compassion. It’s just that you have to share it ceaselessly.

You mean meditate on it, pretty much?
Well, very close, yes: it only depends on how you see meditation. The difference would be just that often meditation is seen as an effort to keep thoughts out, while this is just sinking in and watch what comes.

You don’t push away “causeless” joy, do you?

14 Set

I don’t know why last night brought me this question nor why she made me answer it. Maybe because I felt that in older and less cheerful times I happened to enjoy random bursts of happiness too, but I must have been pushing them away, by wondering what reasons I had to be happy.

Perhaps there is no need to say it, yet: joy is perfectly justified, always. She is, for millions of reasons. I could list some of them, starting with the fact that you are alive, you can read these words, you can probably tell your loved ones how much you do love them, you can walk (ever tried to do without, for a few days or months?), or you can take something with your own hands… I could go on forever, probably.

“What? How about all the misery that surrounds us?” Dear, you can neither tell how much such “misery” is, nor why it is there. On the first matter, if you ask someone who lives in the slums of Calcutta or Rio if he or she is happy or not, you will probably get very similar answers to the one you could get in Manhattan or Milan. Actually, they could be even better. If you ask a 10 year old boy… the first enjoy themselves more for sure. To address the second statement, let me confess one of my feelings about life: this experience has a purpose, and it is to grow up. I shall use Catholic language to make my point, but I could use another one: “misery”, if and when you experience it, is the gift that God is sending you so that you can grow up a lot. I know that sometimes it is not easy to see, let alone to accept, it, but if you could it would make it so much easier.
Mother Teresa, during an interview with the BBC, was once told, “You know, Mother, it’s easy for you to be more dedicated to service than us, mere mortals. You do not own a house. You have no possessions. You do not have a car. You do not have insurance. You do not even have a husband.” Mother Teresa replied: “Forgive me. I do have a husband -showing the ring that her monastic order wears to symbolize the marriage with Christ- I have a husband, and I want you to know that He can be really rough, at times.”

“But I feel awful!” I am sorry to hear that. May I ask you a question? Why are you feeling bad? I do not care about your answer -no, I did not just go nuts- but you should. I advise not to respond just now, though. I highly recommend sitting on the question, maybe even sleeping on it, and let it dig inside until it can. In the spiritual world I might say meditate on it. The insights that might come could be a significant surprise, and they might even change something inside.

A small additional “caveat” (a Latin word meaning a meaningful detail).
Let’s pretend for a moment that Life is a mother. A deeply loving mother -like most mums- who can not read minds. How does she know what you want?
If I were talking, now I would switch to whispering: “You need to let her know.” How? By saying thank you. Being grateful for everything that she sends our own way, which is very much, puts her in the mood to be even more generous –how human of Her!– and even more importantly lets her know what we really like, what moves us, what excites us and what makes us really, deeply happy.
The famous book “The Secret” contains quite a bit of nonsense, but also a few important truths. We do have the power to create our own reality, but it pertains to the depth, or heights, of ourselves, not to our silly minds. What attracts our energy now is what creates our reality. That’s why you see many people who are very rich and yet might not exactly be deemed to deserve much (how judgemental, lol). They are honest and clear, perhaps only towards life but that’s more than enough: life loves them just like she loves us, and she hears them.

Spiritual agriculture

23 Mar

That’s it …. It’s not exactly a job, not a very cool thing, I can’t deny I am doing it and yet it is obvious that it is not me who does it, as a farmer would be ridiculous if he affirmed “I make my plants grow.” No he doesn’t, yet he does something.

I felt that the metaphor I received this morning is very accurate: spirituality has many similarities with agriculture. Some might hope with gardening, but unfortunately no, agriculture. When effort is involved in spirituality, it is considerable, and you have to get your hands dirty. No protective gloves, at least sometimes you just have to take them off. You put yourself into the game, in a way it is a matter of survival. If your plants die you risk personally, a tad more than just your mood. Rarely you can start by buying something ready made. If it seems to happen, it just means that the price and the preparation were addressed earlier, perhaps in a non formal yet substantial way. You do not get to true spirituality without having paid a significant price, without having understood – for one reason or the other – that this aspect of your life is absolutely central. It is not, and can’t be, a hobby. Must it be a job? If you ask me: I’m afraid so, although nothing prevents you from having a second one. At least the intensity of the commitment should be of that kind, and as far as I know also the centrality of the theme. Mind you, you can live very well taking care of it (quite a?) bit. After all, who says that the work we came to do has to be completed in this life? One must feel what is right for him or herself. Yet if at some point you came to the conclusion that you should “finally resolve” this life, in the sense of getting to the bottom of it, I’m afraid there is no other chance: the effort that will be required will be total.

It is also important to know, though, that the real part, just like a farmer, won’t be done by you. The miracle will be performed by the sun, the rain, the earth, the wind, some unknown animal or insect, and at the innermost core. In a word: Life. You just have to show up on your fields. Day after day. Do what is necessary, which sometimes might require an investment, or quite some effort, or perhaps a specific and deep preparation. You see it, you feel it, usually you know, like a farmer: if you just bought the field you know you will have to plow. You have just planted? You will have to irrigate. If you do not know what to do, you go seek advice from a friend or a professional. “Do I need a guide, a Teacher?” This is an important question, which would require a separate treatment. If I were pointed a gun to my head, for an immediate and definitive answer, I’d say yes. Yet this answer is subject to what you just read, too: you see it, you feel it, you usually know. And when you’re ready, he or she will find you.

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