The Good Struggle

The Good Struggle sounds funny I know, but we all experience it at some point in our lives. It is when something hard that we go through turns out to be worth the struggle. Can you think of something that has already happened to you that proves this point?

In the context of awakening, our struggle turns out to be good when we begin to recognize our conditioned self. That means we start to see in ourselves certain behaviors and thoughts that we can no longer tolerate. They make us feel uncomfortable in some way, and we now realize that they have been with us for some time, but we did not see them, or we have ignored them.

This process can begin in different ways. However, for many, it happens once we start to question our lives. We may feel a calling or that there has to be something more to life.  However, often something traumatic or difficult happens in our lives and these events shake us up, and begin to wake us up.

Once this happens, we start to see these behaviors and thoughts that were before out of our conscious awareness. Sometimes you can even see this playing out in the actions of friends or family members; however, it is much harder to see in our own lives without awareness.

Things that you might notice are that you feel uneasy, out of balance, or more emotional. Fear, anger, anxiety and other uncomfortable feelings come up more often and stay longer. Your thoughts may urge you to believe these feeling have just started and were caused by someone or something else in your life. Yet somehow, you know this is not true, and that they were there all along.

Once the light of awareness starts flowing in, the mind fights back to stay in control. Therefore, dealing with everything that is coming out makes things more difficult for a time, this should not bring concern but instead optimism. It can even feel better or easier if we just go along with our thoughts and ignore what is happening, but I can assure you this is not true. When the real self is calling us, there is no turning back, and if we ignore this calling, then our struggle can evolve into great suffering because of our resistance.

We often think that we are supposed to have a mystical or spiritual experience to awaken or we want the quick fix. Then we spend years going from one thing to the next, one teacher or workshop waiting for this to happen or chasing a similar experience that happened before, not realizing we are going nowhere.

For the majority, having this kind of dramatic moment never happens, and we end up in more distress over the years. Once we experience our true nature and the light of awareness begins to flow, things will happen naturally and without much effort. However, we must remain watchful so that we do not fall prey to the tricks of the mind because it will easily betray us through our conditioned thoughts. So yes, you may feel at times this is a struggle, but I assure you once again that it is The Good Struggle.

 

Falling Apart

“The ego’s root feeling is that if I do not hold myself together there will be a falling apart into something chaotic and difficult. So there is anxiety, an energetic anxiety which is located in the body, in the whole energetic system of the body and interpersonal turbulence reminds us again and again C’.” ~ Dalai Lama

Falling apart to me means letting go of that which no longer serves us, which means letting go of your conditioning. Conditioning contributes to the person you have become and how you interact with life, it is not the real you that is under all that conditioning.

I explained it this way to one of my clients. When NASA sends a rocket up into space at some point, the rocket drops its booster because it is no longer needed and they keep the main rocket from soaring to its destination. Our conditioning is like the booster; at some point, it begins to weigh us downs and prevents us from soaring in life.

The thought that, “If I do not hold myself together there will be a falling apart,” keeps us from living in the present moment. We must admit the truth to ourselves and stop believing our thoughts, which have no basis in reality. Listening and believing only in our thoughts lead us in a needless never-ending cycle of despair, worry, anxiety, and suffering.

Self-inquiry can expose this kind of wrong thinking every time and remember that we can feel that we are right without being right, but that we cannot be right without feeling right. Therefore, if you are not feeling centered and peaceful pay attention to how you are thinking and be open to a little self-insight.

Feeding the Mind

Most of us think about what food we put into our bodies. Of course, we do not always do a great job, but at least we try. However, many of us never think about what we are putting into our minds, and we are feeding it all day long with negative information and repetitive thoughts that keep us from being in the moment and present with those we love.
 
You know what I am talking about; we even start forming our response in the middle of someone else’s thought, without really listening and giving them a chance to finish. Pay more attention, and you will see that what I am saying is true.