For the past few weeks, maybe longer, resentment has burned in my belly as I’ve seethed at the circumstances of my life. Where are all the things I was promised? The riches, the partner, the good health? The refrain in my head is, “I’m 33! I’m not supposed to feel this way! I’m supposed to have more energy than this!” And then I ask myself, “Says who?”
It’s a good question. Who told me life is supposed to be one way or another? Who said we’re all promised wealth, health, and partnership if we desire partnership? When I think about it, I likely picked up that story from the media, which praises a life of luxury, or from someone trying to sell me something. Someone who promised me all my dreams would come true if I purchased their course or their book.
When I look at my spiritual philosophy, my teacher never said life would be easy, filled with sunshine and roses. In fact, he praised difficulties as they become the fodder for spiritual development. He said, “Human beings have been drifting along through constant clash and cohesion amidst endless waves of physical and psychic diversities.” That means at times we’ll encounter strife and at others we’ll encounter harmony. It’s unrealistic to think life will be easy all the time, because it won’t. That’s the nature of being alive.
I also think about what was actually promised to me, which is that I’ll move closer to the divine. That’s it. My teacher said, “Knowingly or unknowingly everyone is moving around [the Supreme entity]. Everyone is bound to move … This movement is a natural propensity born out of love for [the Cosmic Consciousness].” We keep moving closer and closer until eventually we unify with that Cosmic entity, according to my spiritual tradition. But nowhere is it written I’ll be thin, rich, pretty, and happily married.
When I take that perspective, I feel more at ease. It also makes all of my positive experiences even more precious. Nothing is promised to me, which gives me reason to cherish laughing with a friend or enjoying good food. Nothing is owed to me so it’s a privilege I’m able breathe freely or walk unaided. I can’t even count on the earth beneath my feet remaining solid, as a 3.5-magnitude earthquake reminded me the other day. Any thing can happen at any time, both good and bad. There are no guarantees in life other than once born we will die. For the time in between I’d like to see the good things in my life as gifts, to not take them for granted because they are not foregone conclusions.
I dream of a world where we realize there is no contract that stipulates we’ll all have health and wealth. A world where we realize there aren’t “supposed to’s” or how we “should” be as people or what we “should” experience. A world where we remember life didn’t promise us anything and that means what we go through is all the more precious.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.