Many people profess to have a spiritual awareness and yet act as if there is no Higher Power and that they themselves are God. I too have been guilty of this on occasion. If we believe that we are ultimately being looked after, then rather than complaining it would be meet to try to observe or aim to understand what is happening.
Several months ago a bus smashed into the back of my car outside the airport. Rather than rush to place a judgement on it – “that’s terrible, it’s awful, how could this happen?” – I tried to hold a space of ‘let us see what will unfold’. Needless to say, as the months passed by, it led to a series of events which were most certainly favourable. Similarly I had a couple of physical injuries that scuppered my yoga practice for three years and crushed my ego as I was limited to more sedentary postures. When I stopped complaining and started listening, a whole world of meditation opened up. In both scenarios, the potential blessings may have been blocked had I placed a negative judgement on reality.
Ancient priests were told to bring ‘olive oil that is pure and crushed for illumination’ (Exodus 27:20). How often do you feel crushed? How have the tides of life swept you in an unexpected direction that has seemed painful? Thwarted relationships, failed business ventures, or disrupted social events which have not turned out as you had hoped, planned or even prayed for?
From a mystical perspective, the ‘crushing’ that we feel, just like the olive oil, is a process of spiritual refinement. The Kabbalists talked of klipot, negative energies like nutshells that need to be cracked before the goodness can come out. We see this everywhere in nature – if we eat certain fruits without peeling them then we may get ill, but if we take the time to cut and remove its skin then the rewards are sweet and satisfying.
How are you trying to shine right now? What is the highest form of service that you are offering the planet through your work? More specifically, how have you felt crushed?
There is some solace to be had in the Serenity Prayer, written by American Theologian Reinhold Niebhur; “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”
Many people sit back and take the punches, imagining that they cannot change things, but we have immense power at our fingertips when we take action. Olives need to be squeezed before the pure oil can be created, which can fuel brightly-burning lights to guide the way in the darkness. Grapes must be crushed before they can be transformed into the finest vintage wines. How could you change perspective on your current challenges, such that they might be a process of refining you?
Today may be the darkness before the dawn when you will shine like the morning sun. Pick a current breakdown and transform it into a breakthrough.
HOW TO APPLY THIS…
…IN YOUR BUSINESS
– Consider an area of your work where you have been feeling powerless (e.g. around building clients, or a conflict). If you refrain from the story you are telling – “it’s too hard, I can’t do this, it’s awful” – what new possibilities might open up for you? How can you approach the problem from new angles that might not otherwise have been apparent?
Where have you been telling a story that an event or situation in your life is bad or negative, when there are the possibilities of something new and positive opening up?
Where have you experienced a major setback in your practice that opens up new potential elsewhere?
*Irrelevancies with no disrespect to them. This does not include more socially globally-aware posts along the lines of “there was a humanitarian tragedy in the Sudan”.