Tomorrow, I’ll be leaving for my trip down south. Over the past few weeks, my brother and I have been going over plans: travel route, motels, hotels, B and B’s, weather considerations, etc. Everything felt like it was flowing along almost effortlessly. Even a book that I really wanted to take along for some in-depth study (Collected Works of Thomas Troward) came within 2 days of ordering it. My thoughts were along the lines of, “This is perfect. Everything I need is provided, even before I ask. Life is so good.”
Then something happened that didn’t seem so good. A reservation I had hoped to get, looked like it wasn’t going to be available. Just a little thing but I could feel myself start to worry….but I caught it. Then another “not so good” thing happened. A fairly large sum of money, that I felt sure would arrive last week, didn’t arrive.
Sunday morning, I found myself fretting. I wasn’t feeling relaxed or in the flow or trusting of the larger part of me anymore.
It was as if I was drained of life; I felt tired, and a little discouraged both in the circumstance and in myself. I could hear that old, critical voice begin, “If you were further along the spiritual path, you wouldn’t be thrown off by such small things. You haven’t really grown that much at all”. I noticed also that when Jack got up and said “Good morning” I felt irritated, so I knew that I needed to do some serious work on myself.
I really needed to use my will-power to direct and focus my mind where I wanted it to go and not let it lead me down the path of worried, unhappy, and discouraged thought. I began to say to myself, “This is going to be an adventure. I am looking forward to seeing how things unfold. Everything is happening for me. My life is perfect, right now.”
One thing that I want to stress here is that I didn’t feel this way when I started saying/thinking these things. I used my thoughts/words to pull me up into the state that I wanted to be in. It wasn’t the outside circumatances that were making me feel down, it was my mind telling me a story of how wrong things were (and how wrong I was) that was making me feel that way, so I needed to change my mind to achieve inner peace (not change the circumstances so I could feel better, because in the moment, I couldn’t change anything on the outside). All I had to work with was my mind, and that was enough. It is always enough.
I started writing this post at 7 a.m. It is 9:18 a.m. I have never had such a difficult time putting a post together. Usually, if I work at it for a couple of hours, and nothing comes together, I assume I am being guided not to write that day. But for some reason, I kept at it, even though it didn’t seem like it would amount to much. Book after book revealed nothing appropriate for a quote. I almost decided to abandon my writing when I picked up, Man’s Search for Meaning, and read these words that brought me to tears,
“Let me recall that which was perhaps the deepest experience I had in the concentration camp. The odds of surviving the camp were no more than one in twenty-eight, as can easily be verified by exact statistics. It did not even seem possible, let alone probable, that the manuscript of my first book, which I had hidden in my coat when I arrived at Auschwitz, would ever be rescued. Thus, I had to undergo and to overcome the loss of my mental child. And now it seemed as if nothing and no one would survive me: neither a physical nor a mental child of my own! So I found myself confronted with the question whether under such circumstances my life was ultimately void of any meaning.
Not yet did I notice that an answer to this question with which I was wrestling so passionately was already in store for me, and that soon thereafter this answer would be given to me. This was the case when I had to surrender my clothes and in turn inherited the worn out rags of an inmate who had already been sent to the gas chamber immediately after his arrival at the Auschwitz railway station. Instead of the many pages of my manuscript, I found in a pocket of the newly acquired coat one single page torn out of a Hebrew prayer book, containing the most important Jewish prayer, Shema Yisrael. How should I have interpreted such a ‘coincidence’ other than as a challenge to live my thoughts instead of merely putting them on paper. ” Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, pages 137-138
As I read these words, I felt a direct prompting from this great spiritual man, to live my highest and best self, and to think my highest and best thoughts……now.