I recently experienced a several day period full of intense fears, self-judgments, hopeless thoughts, and painful emotions. After going through this, I felt inspired to write this as a reminder to myself. I hope it may contribute to your journey.
The path to enlightenment can be a painful journey.
There will be times you curse the things you love. You will experience moments of such desperation that you come to loathe that which has given you life. The unnameable divine, the Universe, God, Buddha, Allah, the Tao, the big bang, cosmic energy, Mother Nature, your Ancestors, your parents, your friends, yourself – you may reach a point of despair that you steep into such vehement hatred toward these forces, and everything else that exists, that you will be shocked speechless.
You won’t know what to say anymore. You will give up trying to fight. You will breathe a long sigh.
And then there will be silence.
And after some days have past, after the dust has settled from the stampede of your inner anguish, after the enraged protestors of your thoughts have left the streets of your mind and nothing remains but litter and the distant echo of the days march, you will notice a new sense of inner stillness.
You will find a certain quality of spaciousness, an openness. You will find a new level of acceptance. You will notice that you can sit beside whatever it was you were experiencing and feel a sense of compassion for it, as if offering a comforting gaze to a teary-eyed child who just bruised their leg. You will find a new quality of detachment and be able to be with what is.
You may happen to read a passage in a book that will give you a sudden new understanding of your situation. Or perhaps someone will remind you that they love you and that you have an incredible gift to contribute to the world. You may encounter something beautiful that you hadn’t noticed before. Whatever it may be, you will find a renewed sense of ease and flow.
And though a part of you will never want to experience that inner intensity ever again, there will be a new part of you, one that is growing ever stronger, that will be open to it. “It will be okay,” you will say to yourself, “I’m ready to keep going. I know the beauty that lies shrouded behind the darkness of those clouds. For the sprouting seed of my being to reach the fertile fields of life’s joy, it may require the painful journey through the crust of the earth.”
And you will come to find that the more you open your heart and compassionately accept whatever is happening and love yourself for being willing to accept it, you will come to realize you have nothing to struggle against. And the shadow of your struggles will slowly fade away with the new light of your ever-accepting love. Every experience will become an opportunity to experience a more immense sense of wonder.
And you will remember to smile.