Keep on Going
In my last entry, “Wisdom”, we went over how to discern the difference between your inner wisdom and the fearful voice of the ego. We talked about the ego’s responsibility to keep you safe which it does by keeping you small, keeping you from doing anything that takes you out of your comfort zone, keeping you stuck in negative patterns that are safely familiar.
Choosing to allow your ego to drive your show is letting fear lead your life. And when you break this down to its most basic form, this choice doesn’t make sense. I hope you agree. Seriously, we need love more than ever and if fear is leading the show in your head, just think of the ripple effect.
This is why I am committed to this work, both for my own benefit and sharing it with you. When you choose to think with love instead of fear you are making an energetic shift that sends a ripple out into the world. You are changing the planet when you stop, take a breath and ask “what would love do here”.
When something negative happens to you and you choose to take a deep breath instead of acting on an urge to lash out, attack or defend, you are not just changing the course of your own day … you are also changing the course of the day of everyone else that you will interact with, the person you were just about to lash out on and everyone they will interact with. “Be the change you want to see in the world” starts right here in this moment by choosing to not let your ego lead. Reacting suddenly to an unexpected event is ego 100% of the time. Love doesn’t react, love responds. Instead of going with that initial come back, take a deep breath instead and ask yourself, “what would love do?”
When you become aware of the ego’s tricks like this one, you will find it easier to notice them, avoid being tricked and continue on your path.
This is similar to what happens when you sit in meditation. Often, your mind will throw up all sorts of distractions to keep you from connecting to your deepest self. This is the root of the ancient story of the Buddha sitting for days under the Bodhi tree when Mara came to him over and over offering every possible hook to lure the young man away from his awakening. He would consider each with a deep sense of curiosity. He offered it all up for wisdom to decide. He didn’t run away or resist the many distractions. He looked each head on to see what it was really made of and he came to find they all fell away into the nothingness from which they came. He was not tricked away from his path.
Here’s another trick the ego uses, and this is a big one. Let’s call it “stuck in hell”. You’ll encounter this when you find yourself so caught up in a problem that you can’t see any possible solutions, you are so focused on what is not right, that you can’t see anything that might be right. A difficult problem can be powerfully alluring and it’s easy to get trapped and stuck. Einstein is credited with saying “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” So true! Allowing yourself to stay centered in the thinking from which the problem was generated is not a creative decision, it’s a destructive decision. It leads you to nowhere land. Solution-based thinking is totally creative, with curiosity at the wheel expanding your mind to new ways of looking at things. You are exploring. Who knows what you’ll find out about yourself? About the world? (See why the ego would want to shut that down asap?)
“Stuck in hell” comes in many forms. You may be stuck in a negative thought pattern about not being good enough, which has the potential to keep you from doing anything at all. Or it could be a co-dependent pattern that you have with your partner that keeps you caught in an emotional loop. You might be stuck in re-living negative events of the past that keep you distracted from moving forward.
For some it’s getting caught up in the negative state of the world and the planet. Watching the news and dwelling on what is wrong instead of imagining and being a part of a solution. And some would say, yeah, but what could I do at this point anyway? Well, let’s talk about that. When you spend time complaining about what’s wrong, how are you adding value to this life experience we are all co-creating? I know you know the answer. Complaining doesn’t improve the quality of your life or the lives of the people around you. In fact, dwelling on the negative brings the whole thing down, it’s actually destructive.
So what can you do that might be better than that? Well, it doesn’t take much to start a ripple. Small acts of kindness. Instead of criticizing how something is being done, step up and do something about it. Write a letter. Join a group that is being proactive. Smile at a stranger. Buy someone’s groceries who is struggling to feed their kids. Tell someone how much you appreciate them for their work. Adopt a kid that needs a home or spend time with a kid who needs more positive adults and give that kid all your love. Listen to a friend who is hurting. Reuse or recycle. There are a ton of things you could do that would contribute to a positive change. Hold the door open for someone or stop and say thank you to someone holding the door for you. These small acts create ripples, they make a positive difference, they offer proof of hope rather than hopelessness.
So, when find yourself stuck in a negative spin cycle or you are facing a difficult or uncomfortable situation, observe if you are avoiding looking for a solution or focusing on how bad life is or how that person is lame or bad or wrong, or how you are bad or lame or wrong.
Realize there is light on the other side, you just have to make your way to it. Have you heard the saying, “if you find yourself in hell, keep on going”. This is great advice! Hell isn’t the end game. There is light on the other side. Get curious! Keep on going. DO NOT linger. Get curious. Pull up your big person pants and ask yourself what would love do in this moment.
Conflicts and challenges and negative moments are actually doorways to self-discovery. And so is pain, and so is intense emotion. All of these moments are a teacher, but you will miss the lessons if you run and hide or succumb to the tricks of the ego. Don’t avoid a challenging situation or call it names or try to wish it away.
There are things to be learned in this life that will free you. Your ego would tell you to avoid the new ideas, the new thinking, the new solutions, the new actions at all costs. Love says, “bring it on, honey, let’s get into it”. Is it going to be uncomfortable sometimes YES! Terribly uncomfortable. But you are going to feel so much better if you choose not be stuck and keep going on your path to the other side.