I had the privilege to be given a stage two weeks ago to stand in for a friend to conduct a sharing on thoughts. They were a bunch of university students.
Noticing that the crowd was able to grasp what I was sharing on how reality actually works for each of us; similarly and differentiatedly; I took it a step further to introduce the methodology of dissecting thought systems. I invited them to give me their train of thoughts and they gave me pretty relevant ones that were revolving around their current stage of life – exams, assignments, assessments. As I led them to see the meaning that has been put onto each thought, and more – we arrived at the theme thought for that night – failure.
So we worked with ‘failure’, finally recognizing the perception on failure churned out the other superficial thoughts on the surface level. It was expected that all of them perceived failure as an unpreferred circumstance to be in and that it is unacceptable not only to society, but to themselves. It was obvious – fear. Yet to me, fear alone at this juncture was not the ultimate but the ideas of what failure is to each of them; to me too, a long time ago; hence producing fear as effect. As we dissected further on the meaning of failure, they begin to see the other side of failure or rather the potentials that failure of a situation can bring forth. Some nodded their heads in agreement, while some kept silent as if I was about to lure them into the trap of being a failure. Those whom were silent were deep in thought while the class was given a moment to take in what was being shared and conversed. And in a while, one of the participants put his hand up and asked, “If I don’t have a fear of failure, how could I have a goal to be successful? It is because of this fear of being a failure, that I would work hard towards a goal to be successful.” I smiled. It was truly an innocent question.
I did not answer him, but replied him with another question instead.
“Do you have to have a fear of hunger now to know what you would like to eat for lunch tomorrow?”
He seemed a little shocked with that question, at the same time realizing that that question led him back to his own answer, which was “No.”
I went on explaining that we can have a goal and to some extent, even plan the steps towards it. But the trick here is to let go of the plan and come what way. The fear that is seemingly driving us towards the success is actually already telling us that we know what our future is like; and in a thwarted kind of way, we are actually already creating that for ourselves.
Our job is to do or be our best now, for now, and not for some imaginary future because there is none! Of course, it sounds like a swell ‘plan’ and to actually be something like that requires quite a huge amount of courage to surrender to what is, or perhaps, what is to become. The courage has to come beyond from the timidity of being involved in the limited ideas that one has already been conditioned or rather ‘gotten used to’ or ‘resigned to’ as the way of life in the world. Yup, learned through observations of surroundings not to mention the added on elements of being convinced by the people around. And nope, there is nothing wrong with that, too.
A memory now pops up of a conversation I had with a friend who called for counseling last night. She realized that all the decisions that she makes always backfires on her. She already recognized the manifestation of her experiences, or more true, her perceiving of what seemingly happens were related to some self-sabotage and unworthiness patterns. Yet what she wasn’t really seeing is that all her apparent choices were made from the same patterns of which led her to the same thing almost 100% of the time! She wasn’t really ‘moving out’ of the box as she struggles to justify her choices. She was in a merry-go-round chase. You know, like the snake biting its own tail. Perhaps the best thing she ever did ‘out of the box’ was to pick up the phone to dial my number!
Since she was a student of A Course in Miracles; though in my egoic opinion, not a very devoted one; I invited her to invite the *Holy Spirit into her decision making. And she asked a very pertinent question, “How would I know if it was the Holy Spirit’s Guidance to make a particular decision?”
I smiled (and yes, I have been smiling a lot).
“When it is unconditional.” I answered.
“Unconditional? What do you mean?” she asked shockingly, coming from a background of needing to do something for a purpose, a reason (geez, don’t we all?).
“Simply unconditional” I repeated. “When you could not find any reason to why you feel like doing it, do it! And be open to where it takes you!”
She laughed, as if ready for the adventure. Well, I don’t know actually… that was how it sounded like to me.
Any form of goals, decision makings when made out of information and perception of past experiences could never bring you out of where you think you are stuck. As Albert Einstein said, “You can’t solve the problem at the level it was created.” It means to say that you need to ‘get out’ of the problem and when I say that I am in no way implying that you run away from it, but merely move yourself to another level to look at the so-called problem. At that level, you will see the cause and effect of it. When you finally see it, it becomes the end of everything. This is the sense of anew-ness, where clarity, trust and surrender become a prominent pattern in the so-called process of Life.
Of course, you can’t realize one without knowing another. And it is not possible to push or ignore one to pursue another. I’d say that the entire process of disengaging past conditionings moves you backwards – backwards because you have gone way forward in a dream… another word for it is ‘undoing’. Without the undoing, what we all are is simply effects, effects of rotten thought systems. For all you know, when you are ‘done’ with the undoing, perhaps you would still be moved to make the same decisions, except this time, with a fresher perspective which is nearer to what it truly is! Good luck!
*Note: Holy Spirit is merely a terminology used in A Course of Miracle and does not denote any religions connotations. Holy Spirit in this context can be any word so chose by one – for all I care, it can be Wisdom, God, Life, Universe, or perhaps even D-O-G.