“There can be no hope without fear, and no fear without hope.” ~ Baruch Spinoza
Hope, a universally treasured feeling, has to my mind an element of victim. “I hope things will work out ….” A statement implying a sense of powerlessness and of being at the whim of circumstances. Naturally the feeling of ‘hope’ would be accompanied by ‘fear’ as I have absolutely no way of ensuring that ‘things will work out’. Now when I develop ‘Trust’, a sense of Knowing that all is at all times FOR me, then ‘hope’ becomes meaningless as does ‘fear’. I wonder what Spinoza would say to this. Anyone channeling Spinoza these days? Let me know?
“I would warn you that I do not attribute to nature either beauty or deformity, order or confusion. Only in relation to our imagination can things be called beautiful or ugly, well-ordered or confused.” ~ Baruch Spinoza
Nature is neither beautiful nor not beautiful. Spinoza addresses the freedom in recognizing absolute neutrality in all things. In that absolute neutrality lies absolute Peace.
“The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of a trick learned while mastering the art of living.” ~ Viktor Frankl
It is actually natural to develop a sense of humor about virtually any situation once I recognize (Know again, literally) that everything is always for me, is always a gift. Now, having a sense of humor does not mean that I laugh at every situation but it does mean that I look for the light no matter what is being offered.
“For the only therapy is life. The patient must learn to live, to live with his split, his conflict, his ambivalence, which no therapy can take away, for if it could, it would take with it the actual spring of life.” ~ Otto Rank
I would rephrase this to say “Therapy is a means of embracing life--triggers and all”. One very common trapping surrounding inner-work is placing the goal as the abolition of judgments and upsets. The notion is akin to planting a flag on a mountain and telling it not to move. What therapy does provide is a strong foundation to support me during times of ‘conflict’, and an adventurous attitude that adapts and adopts resistance as a means of flight.
“Self-esteem is the greatest sickness known to man or woman because it’s conditional.” ~ Albert Ellis
It’s conditional because it is based on an opinion rather than fact, held up and maintained by the constant comparison of others. Conversely, by focusing on self-acceptance, I no longer need to be ‘known’ or recognized, and, as a result, my emotional health dramatically improves.
“I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.” ~ Einstein
Someone this morning at breakfast drew the following card (paraphrased): You have taught what you are but you have not let who you are teach you. I must be willing to relinquish my self-made identity, my character, my personality, in order to clear space for Who I Am.
“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.” ~ Alan Watts
Trust my self to the water? Trust God? Trust Love? Trust that when I relinquish my hard fought and brilliantly defended identity I will not only be safe but Loved? May be these questions can be reversed? Maybe the real question is whether I trust that the Love I seek is actually in me? Do I trust that? And if I do not, no amount of ‘outside’ trusting will ever be truly, deeply reliable. As I gradually grow to Love the Self, trusting others becomes inevitable, perhaps even irrelevant?
“Love is misunderstood to be an emotion; actually, it is a state of awareness, a way of being in the world, a way of seeing oneself and others.” David R. Hawkins
Hawkins makes a valuable distinction between Love and feelings. Feelings are chosen by the 's' self, Love is the state I experience when I am in communion with the 'S' Self. I may 'feel love' when someone keeps a promise or behaves in a way my ego approves of; I may 'feel love' when someone agrees with me or supports my point of view. That is what so often passes for love: a bargain kept. True Love has no idea about the other, it Knows the other as the Self.
“Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
That Love is within. That Love is who I am, who You are. That Love is unchangeable and infinitely patient. I can waste 75 years and yet there it is. It waits with a little smile, the knowing smile of a patient mother.
“Whatever happens, happens to you by you, through you; you are the creator, enjoyer and destroyer of all you perceive.” ~ Nisargaddata
I find that all within my seeming experience becomes so much easier when I take radical ownership. As soon as I make exceptions the door opens to a veritable flood of exceptions each exquisitely designed to feed the insatiable addiction to my victim position. To make that faith based position even remotely possible I also have to accept without question that nothing has ever gone wrong.
Diederik Wolsak is program director at Choose Again