For the past few weeks I’ve woken up every day with high anxiety – a 10 out of 10. Each day I’ve wondered if a figurative bomb would drop on me. Some days the bomb dropped and some days it did not, but no day proceeded as I expected. I won’t get into specifics publicly, but I’ve been challenged in ways I never have before.
Throughout this process I’ve reached out to others for support and I’ve also turned to my spiritual practices. In my spiritual tradition, as well as in many others, we have the concept of surrender. Surrender is a hard pill to swallow because at least in the culture I’m most familiar with, we’re taught to fight, to try, to never give up. We’re taught that we’re masters of our fate, the captains of our soul. Weeeelllllll, not so much, according to spirituality. In spirituality, we take the opposite approach, that rather there is a force bigger than us, directing the show. That we are merely players upon the stage.
A monk I know says we’re able to experience a divine shower of love when we surrender body, mind, and soul. When the hard shell of ego is cracked – and often it’s cracked through extremely painful experiences – that’s when we become like children and let the universe take care of us. When the shell of ego is cracked, that’s when we may feel the most connected to the divine, if we take that stance.
Everything I’m going through has certainly cracking my ego shell. It has forced me to surrender my personal will, my notions of how things will work out, and instead let go. It’s not possible for me to behave otherwise. Thinking I control what’s happening is only succeeding in making me feel crazy. My mind is spinning with all the possible scenarios and outcomes and the reality is, I have no idea. I can’t prepare for all eventualities because more often than not, things I didn’t conceive of are what manifest.
You know that joke, “How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans”? That sums up my life right now. I never, never saw any of this coming. I never anticipated I would be in this situation, yet here I am. My ego is getting beaten to a pulp right now. And even with all the fear and anxiety, all the Sturm und Drang, I’ve had moments of pure grace, of magic and mystery. I’ve witnessed my higher power taking care of me, showing up for me, demonstrating power and presence.
Do I know how things will turn out? No. Might it be terrible? Yes. But can I still feel deeply loved and held by a power greater than myself? Absolutely. And I have that wish for others too.
I dream of a world where even amidst pain and suffering, we feel loved and supported. A world where we recognize the power and the presence of something bigger than us. A world where we understand often the universe has to crack through our hard shell of ego and self-will in order to shower us with grace.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.