From acceptance to inward reflection and beyond

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I across a work by the author T.S. Eliot recently that resonated deeply with me.

It’s from his larger work, Four Quartets, and the passage reads: “I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: so the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”

So often, we will find the gifts of what we’re seeking inside a situation that seems to be the opposite of what we want.

We resist.

We fight a situation because we perceive it as not beneficial, or even harmful, to us.

Observing the Meaning of Situations and Gaining Wisdom From Them

This passage from Eliot reminds us of what we’re told in spiritual teaching: It is the meek that will inherit the earth—not the vigilant, aggressive, or assertive, but the meek.

In many ancient faiths, earth is often used as a metaphor for the body. Consider “thy will be done on earth (the body) as it is in heaven (the mind).”

If we can give up the attachment to what we thought we wanted and become meek, we can enter a state of allowing and the will of our higher self to be done.

It’s usually our painful experiences that shift our consciousness and bring about the most growth. When we are meek, we can allow for this growth to take place and receive understanding or wisdom.

This idea is similar to the first noble truth of Buddhism, dukkha, which states that there is no evolution of consciousness without suffering.

Dukkha however, has been misinterpreted over the centuries. It doesn’t specifically refer to physical pain, but the pain that comes from being unsatisfied with our lives.

It could be a dead end job, poor relationship, health condition, or any other circumstance that is unsatisfactory to us. This truth tells us that when we can grasp the impermanence of our life conditions and know that they are forever changing, then we can rise above dukkha and embrace our imperfections in the overall perfection that is life.

This too shall pass.

True pain isn’t really going through a negative experience as much as not knowing why you’re going through it.

“I like to say that our material problems are never the real issue. We just think they are. It’s how we relate to the issue that’s the real issue.”

The only thing worse than suffering is meaningless suffering.

Every situation has meaning. Whether we choose to stand down, remain meek and stay open to receive the message is our real work. Carl Jung tells us that we cannot change anything unless we accept it first. That is a quality of the meek. If we maintain an aggressive, resistant, or obstinate mental posture in any situation, we’re keeping ourselves locked in meaningless suffering.

We’re refusing the gift that will reveal why we’re going through our difficulty and contains the answer to the way out of it. Every time we take an aggressive mental posture, it’s an attempt to avoid what’s present in our lives: the real issue.

I like to say that our material problems are never the real issue. We just think they are.

It’s how we relate to the issue that’s the real issue.

For example, you may find your partner’s personality controlling. It may be so, but that’s his problem. Your real issue may be why you’re allowing yourself to be controlled in the first place, but if you react with belligerence by trying to “change” him, you may never know and remain stuck for much longer.

When we act meekly and allow a situation to just be, we can make an effort to go inward. It is within this waiting space, free of our expectation and judgment, that grace will bring meaning to our suffering and the solution to our struggle.

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