In a previous blog post, I elaborated on the idea that the main purpose of your life is to always learn something new and constantly grow to your next best version.
Something which I probably did not make so explicit in said post is that both the key motivation and the object of a truly transformational learning process relates to overcoming obstacles.
These obstacles are found both in your (occasional) external environment and within you.
But you cannot effectively tackle any obstacles on the outside before you first address the ones on the inside.
The obstacles inside of you take many forms. But, essentially, they are always related to the fact that…
Who You Think You Are Is Not Who You Are
However, in the present post I would like to specifically touch upon the three obstacles which we, ourselves, tend to place in the way of, well, ourselves; thus, interrupting or disturbing our life’s spontaneous and natural flow, as it’s unfolding through us.
For each one of these three inner obstacles hindering the optimal course of our life, I will propose specific ways to overcome them.
Now, the three obstacles correspond to the three dimensions of time (as we have conventionally been taught to perceive it):
Past, present and future.
And, yes, it wouldn’t be unfair to draw a parallelism here with the three respective ghosts or spirits of Charles Dickens’ famous novella, “A Christmas Carol”.
The spirits of Past, Present and Yet To Come (Future).
So, without further ado, let’s have a go at it, shall we?
Obstacle Number One: “So And So Happened Before, So And So Will Happen Again“
However there is a stark difference in the respective ways the former and the latter approach it.
For traditional societies predictability basically means alignment of human behavior with the observable patterns of Mother Nature. Nature is in the driver’s seat and human beings follow its lead.
Moreover, the latter understand and accept that every situation is similar to another, but no two situations in life can be identical.
On the other hand, for a modern human society, the notion of predictability is inextricably woven with the desire to have Nature conform to the former’s, by definition, artificial needs and objectives.
Here, as opposed to what the case typically is in traditional societies, human beings set the tone and Nature must follow their lead.
In other words, what the modern human being says is that:
When reality doesn’t agree with our ideas of how it should be, too bad for reality!
(By the way, the fact that traditional societies perceive and deal with Nature as if it were a living organism, in remarkable juxtaposition with the modern societies which typically regard it as a soulless machine of utter indifference and neutrality, is quite revelatory).
Naturally (ha!), modern societies condition and indoctrinate their members (like you) to not only expect, but also cultivate predictability. On all fronts and, usually, at all costs.
(Not to mention: against all odds).
Eventually, you become trained in becoming a hyper-sensitive reactor to anything that you believe may pose a threat to the, so much cherished by everyone, “perfect” predictability.
Along this process, you forgo your spontaneity. Each time that the occasional situation you deal with evolves in a way that is not consistent with the past scenario you were quick to ascribe it to, all your alarms go off. And you enter the “fixing things” mode.
That is: in the “the treatment is the real cause of the disease it tries to cure” mode.
(To refer to a very pertinent example: it is an indisputable fact that nowadays health-care associated infections are one of the leading causes of death worldwide).
How To Deal With Obstacle Number One: Learn From The Past, But Don’t Replicate It!
Of course, you ought to learn from your past experiences and accordingly adjust your behavior, whenever you need to.
Moreover, there’s nothing inherently wrong with automating processes and responses to given situations, if it’s clearly beneficial to do so.
But you should realize that no amount of learning from past experiences can render you bulletproof to the ever-changing challenges you will face in your life.
Reflect on your personal experiences. Do so honestly. You will then reach the same truth based on which traditional societies have operated for millennia:
The next situation you’ll face will definitely be similar to a situation you, or somebody else, has faced in the past.
But it will never be exactly the same with anything else. It will be always be unique and unrepeatable.
Cheer up, though!
If it weren’t so, you wouldn’t be able to learn something new out of it and consequently grow to your next best version.
OK. Moving on to…
Obstacle Number Two: “I Cannot Accept What Is, Because It’s Not What (I Think) It Should Be“
The inability to accept the present moment in its self-evident completeness is the main source of human suffering.
Additionally, and as if this fundamental absurdity weren’t enough, the problem becomes worse due to a common misunderstanding. This is the following:
The acceptance of the present moment (which many a great spiritual teacher advocate) does not mean you have to always remain a mere, passive spectator of whatever’s happening.
No, you often must (re)act, and quite decisively so.
How will you know if you have to act or not?
Truly accept what is happening, right now, and then you will know. In most cases (especially if you need to act fast) rest assured that your intuition will guide you.
To be in full acceptance of the present moment, though, you must first remove all expectations of how it should be.
How do I do that?
The best way is to observe yourself.
Study her or him.
All the fricking time. Persistently. Painstakingly.
Eventually, you are bound to start noticing that you – the true you – aren’t the creator of all these expectations of how things should be. These are all stories fabricated by your mind.
Yet, don’t fight against these stories or suppress them.
Just realize that you don’t have to (and you shouldn’t) identify with whatever they’re saying.
See also how they change all the time. Like the weather. Like your mood (which, by the way, they tend to manipulate).
Acknowledge these fictional stories for what they are.
Then, let them go.
Do so again.
And again; and again.
Finally, we have:
Obstacle Number Three: “My Life Is But A Constant Preparation For A Moment That Never Comes“
Isn’t it funny?
I mean, to constantly postpone living, in anticipation for a future (supposedly ideal) moment that we could never grasp.
What’s the point of such a way of living? Especially considering that we are always in the present moment!
We can’t be anywhere else!
Here, we must understand and accept that the concept of “future” is something that is destined (ha!) to remain only on paper.
Again: only the present moment exists. It’s always “here and now o’clock”.
Yet, we refuse to live in it. Which also results in our denial to embrace ourselves as we currently are.
Which we must do, as we – right here, right now – is all we have to “work” with!
Instead, we buy into a conditional existence. “Until this happens or until I succeed in this or that, I cannot be myself; I, and my happiness, have to remain on hold”.
But, look at you! Look at us! We’re already complete, for Pete’s sake!
Complete and perfect to meet the challenges of THIS present moment!
We were born impatient, to allow ourselves to believe that this is how we can delay death.Evgenios Aranitsis
But death is not the opposite of life. It’s only the opposite of birth.
Life has no opposites.
See, life includes everything.
Allow me to conclude this post here.
It’s perhaps a bit abrupt of an ending, but I don’t choose to do so just out of spite.
See, everything in the world of form – what we observe with our senses or think with our minds – is relative and temporary.
And it always depends on its relationship with something else, which is also relative and temporary.
However, there’s one thing that is absolute, and therefore its realization (the most liberating shock one could ever experience) can only be abrupt:
Your Awareness Of Your True Nature: A Permanently Conscious, Eternally Alive Being.
Until next time…
Be safe and remain alert.