What can one learn about suffering? Two stories from the life
We all love to talk about high — to speculate about God, karma, the soul and its problems, about the higher justice of Divine Providence... exactly to the moment when we won't (pardon the bluntness) some ass. As soon as something doesn't go according to our plan, we internally protest, we do not agree, it is unfair we do not deserve this, so should not be...
At that moment, we forget about all the high matters, but my head's a question — "Why?! For what?! Who is to blame?! How to change it?!" And where is our humility, where understanding, acceptance and wisdom? Will tell You two stories from my life that have taught me wisdom. These stories are very personal, intimate, not to say intimate, so it was hard for me to decide to write about it. However, I see that in them lies the whole essence and salt spiritual practice, in whatever form You do it. And this is exactly what I want to share with You, so I decided to get out of the comfort zone, to trust the inspiration and open your soul.
Story 1 it was four years ago. In the American law firm where I worked, there was an unspoken rule — after a couple years of work, young professionals should go to get the second higher legal education in one of the top universities of USA type NYC, Colombia, Harvard, or Standford. The event is not cheap, besides the admission to these institutions requires time and careful preparation. To apply in advance — almost a year before the start of the school year, it is necessary to meet the window filing last just a couple of months. Did not have time to go in on time — I'm sorry and until next year.
Interestingly, when I was starting my career as a lawyer and someone asked me if I would go to study in States if I answered "Yes, of course", but in the mind flashed a strange idea "I'd prefer you instead of the States this year and saved the money spent on the study of yoga in India". It's time to do me. Did I want this? Don't know, I'm confused, couldn't hear myself and could not understand what I wanted then. Inspired by the books of Paramahansa Yogananda, every day I prayed to God: "Lord, you have given me talents and abilities, every day you care about me, give me shelter and food in abundance. Guide me in the right direction, teach me, how can I serve you, pleasing to you point where I can direct my energy where I can realize themselves and be useful." When we ask God for something, we can't even imagine in what form we will get an answer. Or do You think that the heavens open and a thundering voice will tell You: "you should become a dentist!"?
Answer from above. So I began sluggishly to assemble a set of documents and prepare for tests in English. I admit, this is a lesson I was not like, not like, boring, uninteresting, but NECESSARY. By the way, since I started using in my life this criterion is to only do what inspires, pleases and fills and not to do, that joy and excitement, but it is NECESSARY. Of course, there's a fine line in order not to confuse "need" with the banal "I'm lazy", but more about that some other time, we digress. So. The yard was a Golden autumn, and I sat in Sunday house "do not want" solved English tests, as suddenly some invisible force told me to shut the tutorial — "can't, got, better I go to yoga".
Practicing yoga will be with me for life. For me, it ended even before it began. Five minutes before class I awkwardly sat in Virasana (buttocks between the heels), crunch-crunch, and... to get up I could not. Opened old unhealed knee injury received on the football. As it turned out later in the hospital, torn cruciate ligament and meniscus that required surgery. Then as in a dream... Hospitalization, surgery, three weeks in hospital and then another month on crutches... the Universe has a terrific sense of humor — I was discharged from the hospital just in time for the end of the "window" of filing.
Now I see that this was sent to me as a blessing, as an answer to my prayers. Indeed, this unfortunate (or happy?) the case has predetermined my destiny. I was so deaf to your inner voice, that higher power it took to break my leg to get a little to calm me and give me the opportunity to think about important things — "what am I doing in this life?" where am I going?", "what I really want?" "why all this?"... Who knows if this was the case, then maybe I would still have applied, studied in the States and would still be plied field office, kasiraja prestigious diploma and hiding his gaze in the mirror. How much I saw these extinct poisoned eyes in expensive suits...
In the end, I didn't apply that year. Moreover, I realized I really didn't want to study in the States, just because "as necessary". And to build a career super-duper lawyer, as it turned out, also has not been my sincere desire, and it was an unconscious desire to be "successful" in the eyes of others. Me in vain. Phew, what a relief to stop rowing against the current!
And what I wanted? I didn't know yet, but he began dimly to guess what that weird idea about yoga, may have been prophetic...
Story 2 it was this summer. To tune in selfless service, Natasha made it a rule before the beginning of each workshop to arrange a mini retreat to calm the mind and clear the consciousness. For example, to pass a short Vipassana, to live in solitude or to make a pilgrimage to the Holy places. So a couple of weeks prior to the start of our summer Reboot in the Poconos, I decided to go on a pilgrimage to the monasteries of the Leningrad region. Have long dreamed about such a trip and here it all came together. What's the point of pilgrimage? For me, visiting Holy places is to turn away from worldly Affairs, to postpone for some time all cases, anxiety and trouble to listen to your intuition, to give time to your soul and seek God in prayer. For several days I traveled to the Holy places of the North of Russia. Spent the night in a tent on the Bank of any river or lake, get up early in the morning, practiced and continued on his way. It was a magical day.
I also performed ablution in different fonts and Holy springs, which I met on the way. Before washing, I turned to God in prayer. I asked him to cleanse me on all levels — to clear my physical body from all ills and impurities, cleanse my heart from malice, intolerance, and unbelief, to clear my mind from the contamination of material attachment, selfishness and greed. In this spirit, I dived into the icy water of the Holy water. And what do You think? Immediately after the pilgrimage, when prior to the workshop was only ten days, I have a very sore right eye. It's a bummer, but it happens to everyone... Usually such things are for a couple of days. But it was not there!
A week passed, and the eye was getting worse — half face swollen, inflamed lymph nodes, his head pounding and the way I look, quite frankly, was irrelevant. Drops did not help, had to go to a good ophthalmologist in St. Petersburg. The doctor put a disappointing diagnosis, saying that it is the most rare and nasty form of conjunctivitis, which runs himself, but for 20 days, not before. Drops will not help, the best treatment is bed rest at home, or maybe even worse. Knowing that in a few days is coming to us 70 people to the seminar, she smiled — "to cancel it, darling. There is no options."
Imagine a dirty trick on the eve of the important event be it a wedding, prom or graduation. What would You do? How would You feel? "Why is that?! What did I do? Why is this happening to me?"
Time passed, but the situation has not improved, the drops did not help. Before the start of the seminar is... four, three, two, one... Before the seminar had a lot of experiences — and what if the weather is not lucky? and if all we provided? and the food? and you didn't forget something important? but what if..? etc. etc. and then there's this attack with the eye is not the topic! With a squad of brave volunteers who thank you for your help, we were thrown to the Poconos the day before the start of the seminar. Late in the evening drove to the pier and with all the things and products on a barge headed to our Parking lot. Summer in the Poconos this year was unusually cold, rainy and windy. As we walked on the barge, and there was a fierce biting wind, so we had to put on all that was at hand. The captain of the ship caustic humor, they say, "if you in this weather seminar will be spending next year, probably at the North pole is going, right?"
And what do You think? From the first day of the seminar on the Ladoga nice weather — the whole seminar was Sunny and warm.
When did the seminar, I felt that we were safe. Everything was so easy and successful, I have no doubt someone unknown, but very close care about everything — about us, about weather, about food... and about a billion different things that we can't even imagine to make this work.
Driven by this force, the seminar went on as usual, and at sunset I wandered alone on the granite rocks of Ladoga and was crying... those were tears of happiness and gratitude. Tears of purification.
Eye fully passed on the third day of the workshop, as rapidly as it came this attack. He went as soon as I saw that this patient's eyes — part of a divine play, a manifestation of concern for me.
This is the cleansing, I prayed.
What we need is not always what we want.
How could I have imagined then that such a purification will be good for me?
But really, like I asked, this illness has tested me on all levels — mind and heart, and body. Super effective remedy — in just two weeks I have become softer, more tolerant to others and humble to his fate and God's Will.
I told You only two stories, but of course, such stories in my life was much more. I'm sure everyone can recall similar stories in your life.
When what we think trouble is good.
When what we think suffering is purification.
When what seems to us a betrayal, turns out to be a concern.
When what seems to us a disaster, turns out to be a door to new opportunities that have opened for us.
Rarely we can see from this depth. Generally, understanding comes later — sometimes years later. I noticed that in this life there is no injustice and no suffering in vain. All situations, even the most painful, sent for our good. They purify us. They help us see who we are and what we are not. They eliminate the illusion, awaken wisdom and love, learn to accept, trust and let go.How else would we learn if everything always went according to our plan?
In life each of us periodically come suffering. Perhaps this is what is happening in Your life right now. Try to perceive the situation from the perspective of purification and to see the benefit in it and care about yourself.
One of my favorite books of RAM dass called "the Grain to the mill". The idea for the title just this — everything, absolutely everything in our lives — all the problems, difficulties, troubles, sorrows, death, etc. — it's a grain to the mill of our enlightenment, the fuel in the locomotive that pulls us towards evolution and development.
What else can I do here on this planet, if not to clean? Whether we like it or not, know about it or don't even guess, but we are all in the same public spiritual bath. We bathe in it, you know?
Dirty among us there. If we are already in the bath, it means that the process is cleansing. The only difference is that someone has already managed to go on a few visits to the steam room and happy rubs a washcloth in the shower, and someone just shakes off boots on the doorstep.
When we pray, cleanse us, we essentially say to the attendant "Hey, buddy, put the Park under a whisk". And he throws, it's not difficult, it is still the same Amateur couple.
Well, and steamed to health, cleaned, wash off all caked over many lives.