by Gina Lake –
But good and bad are concepts, not realities. In reality, everything that happens is a mixture of what we would consider good and bad. Everything has its advantages and disadvantages, its hidden blessings and hidden costs. Even in every day, both what we like and don’t like show up. Every moment has this same mixture of what we would consider good and bad. If we stay in the moment in the midst of something that is changing that we don’t like (e.g., a divorce, a move, unemployment, a health problem), we see that the actual experience of life in each moment is constantly shifting. Even in the worst of times, our bad feelings come and go and we are capable of laughter, happiness, and certainly love.
The story we bring into this moment about our “problem” makes the moment seem more difficult and stressful than it actually is. How challenging life is, is largely a matter of how much we are just in life without the story of our problem and how much we are not in real life but in our story. We carry our problems around with us mentally and bring them into the moment, spoiling it. Our problems have no objective existence, but exist only as an idea of a problem. We define something as a problem, and that creates the experience of having a problem.
No situation or circumstance is unmanageable, but we make it so by thinking about our problem, complaining about it, trying to figure out what can’t be figured out, feeling bad, being angry or afraid, worrying, rehashing the past, and wishing things were different. These thoughts make whatever we’re experiencing more challenging, much more than any particular situation actually is. When a challenging time or situation is stripped of these thoughts, all that’s left is what to do or not do in this moment about it or anything else. Often what’s required of us in a particular moment has nothing to do with our “problem.” And yet, we may carry the idea of this problem into such ordinary and potentially pleasant moments.
I challenge you to stay depressed or unhappy constantly. It’s impossible! Like a fist that is clenched too long, the contracted state must let go at a certain point. Eventually, we experience relief from it. That relief usually comes as a result of putting our mind and attention on something other than our problem—getting lost in some experience we are having. Getting lost in what is real rather than what is unreal—our problem.
The trouble is our ego actually loves the idea of a problem and all the worries and plans that go with that problem. The ego is also what hates the problem, while at the same time it enjoys hating it! You can sense this when you notice the complete experience of your suffering. Within that suffering is enjoyment of suffering! That’s the ego. Suffering keeps the ego alive and gives it an identity: I am someone who is suffering. And I have a problem that needs a solution. A problem gives us not only an identity, but also something to do.
The ego defines something as a problem, generates unpleasant feelings around it, and seeks solutions. This problem-creation and seeking of solutions is how the ego is maintained. Without a “problem” and the suffering caused by that, there wouldn’t be anything to think about. Without thought, you would drop into Essence and be happy, and the ego would be out of a job. The ego has a racket going that keeps in power, and it doesn’t want you to catch on to it.
The beauty is that change isn’t like a coin that is tossed in the air; it just feels like that to the ego. Change isn’t like a coin because a coin has only two sides—one considered good and one considered bad. From the standpoint of Essence, any change that is happening is just as it is meant to be. In other words, the flip of the coin always ends up in your favor. That is actually the truth about life. It isn’t like a coin for two reasons: It doesn’t have two sides: It is neither good nor bad, but just what it is. And it is always a mixture of what the ego would consider good and bad. Life is often like a coin tossed, however, in its unpredictability. We just don’t have to be afraid of how it will land.
Something very wise is behind every experience that feels like a coin toss. We may not be aware of it, but we can trust that it will bring us the experience we need. And if we don’t bring worries, fears, judgments, resistance, victimization, anger, confusion, or other negativity to that experience, we will discover that it serves our growth and evolution toward becoming a more loving and wiser human being. Life is wise, and it is bringing us Home. Change and challenges are a natural and necessary part of life. When we trust and listen to the wisdom that we are instead of to the false self that we are not, we find that any change or challenge can be navigated gracefully and without too much suffering.