Question: I’m unsure about which way to go… what to do… to get out of “wrong” life that I’ve been in for years. Along with a troubled marriage, I am paying for making the totally wrong choices for myself, being so messed up that I somehow got lost on the wrong road to nowhere but misery… absolutely not liking even a minute of my present job, crying inside, wanting to do and be New, wondering how to make the leap without getting stuck with even greater problems!
Answer: This may sound like a strange idea to you at first, but the truth behind it holds a great hope for those of us who feel that we are held down or back by past painful choices. Just as good fruit must ripen before we can know its sweet nourishment, so is it true when it comes to “bad” fruit… those mistaken choices made in our past that hold us prisoner in the present moment, whatever their nature. The conditions that we live in — the nature of our experience in those conditions (moment to moment) — are an expression of a consciousness that made — or that continues to make — the interior choices responsible for creating that reality; of this there can be no doubt.
The key here is to understand the following: when this bitter fruit ripens, and reveals to us where we had unknowingly compromised our own best interests along the way, we must not hate the fruit! The resistance to, or resentment of our situation is misdirection on the part of the very same mind that placed us where we now feel ourselves being punished. Instead of seeing this projected “badness,” what we must learn to see is the authentic goodness of having been awakened to that actual level of self. For now, by the light of a new awareness, we are not only aware of an aspect of ourselves that made the choices it did, but what wants to protect them by causing us to feel fear should we choose to make a new start.
Welcome and continue to welcome the awareness you have of your growing dissatisfaction with what you are inwardly… never forgetting that what we experience, as well as attract to ourselves, is the direct expression of our present interior nature. The key to remember here is that the authentic new life we long for is not something we create by imagining something better, or by hating what and where we are; rather it comes to us as we see, with absolute clarity, that we can no longer continue being who and what we have been. The arrival of a new life is preceded by our departure from the old one. And though it seems to take a lot to get us moving, as we see the truth of ourselves… freedom’s shore grows closer and closer.
Before we can choose not to compromise ourselves, we must first become acutely aware of those thoughts of ours that may be holding some secret seed of self-defeat. If we don’t know we’re doing this kind of compromised thinking — or acting out their emotional counterparts — what else can follow but to receive the defeat that they embody?
For example, these harmful inner voices and emotional forces may tell us to resent someone or to hate our life; or to give up, and accept fear as a way of life. Our own thoughts may instruct us, without our ever knowing it, to cling to doubts or to jump headlong into pools of self-pity. And because we don’t know there’s any alternative, we do as we’re instructed.
We can wake up right in the middle of these mental ordeals. Working with self-observation, we can actually see, for ourselves, that these self-compromising thoughts are just that: thoughts. They have no real authority, which means their unconscious direction does not have to be our destiny.
To begin with, always take a conscious step back from anything that howls at you from within. Now see that any shriek of discomfort, worry, anxiety, or shame, can never be a part of who you really are. Become an observer of yourself, watchful of both the content — and the intent — of everything arising from your own mind and heart.
Allow the following three higher facts to help you develop your practice of self-observation.
1. Casually, but definitely, consciously defy any feeling that tells you you’re stuck with it.
2. Stepping back from your own thoughts and learning to watch them is the same as stepping up to a free mind.
3. Being receptive to a higher fact about yourself lifts you to the level of that insight where the fact you once feared no longer frightens you, just as eagles don’t fear sharks.
The only reason we ever feel stuck between the proverbial “rock and a hard place” — unable to see a way to get out — is because we’ve forgotten this simple spiritual truth: There’s always another direction waiting to reveal itself to us whenever we’ll work to remember (it)… one that leads us above the illusion that we’re stuck between painful opposites: This new direction (for us) to look… is Up!