There may be a few people, a very small percentage of the world’s population, that are untouched by the present climate of anxiety and stress. These individuals, if they exist, are probably living ‘off the grid’ of what we call ‘normal’; having little or no contact with social media and news outlets.
The rest of us are trying to find our way, trying to create calm in the midst of chaos, peace in the midst of stress, serenity in the midst of anxiety, joy in the midst of loss, faith in the midst of doubt, trust in the midst of lies, confidence in the midst of fear, love in the midst of contempt. With hidden addictions, shame, guilt and remorse the rest of us are searching for any morsel of reality or a modicum of truth that will keep us from becoming a statistic. The search for answers in spirituality is at an all time high. Spiritual seekers and teachers are everywhere and any course, workshop, practice or meditation that promises some kind of peace at the end of the day, is in demand.
Today I listened to a popular teacher of secular spirituality. I respect him and his work, send him prayer and blessing. He was encouraging individuals how they can change their lives by becoming more mindful. That if they just used mindfulness practices and techniques, in a short period of time, their lives would greatly change for the better. As I continued listening I heard something else. Not from the teacher on the video, but from the Teacher within.
That inner voiceless Voice spoke, ‘Cease striving and know that I Am God.’ In a moment Reality made this abundantly clear, it’s impossible for me to heal my own life. I’ve tried endlessly to escape all my fears, shame and guilt. Only to arrive at the fact that I can not completely forgive myself and others for how our combined poor choices have wreaked havoc on my life. Bottom line is no matter how adept I get at any of these mindfulness practices I can not transform the inner workings and deepest motivations of my life. The old thinking is always there. I might ‘feel’ a little better in the moment but I can not create a stress-free, peace-filled existence. As I continued watching this very convincing, beautifully filmed video I recognized with great clarity, the only way to true transformation is not from me but through me. The One and Only, who dwells in me, the Source of Love, Sustainer of Life, Creator God, Living Christ, Holiest Spirit who breathes through me, the Great Healer whose Presence I can not escape is the One who does the transforming. The teachings that say it’s up to me to heal my life, can actually create more pressure and stress. “How so?”, you might ask. After all there are so many studies that prove how the brain responds to mindfulness meditation, etc. I don’t deny that at all. However, I believe that whether we acknowledge it or not, all healing comes from God, the Great Healer. Surrendering to that Reality connects us to our God in a deep, profound way, clearing out the interference and foggy thinking that clouds our understanding and pulls us off course. Striving and struggling with no intention toward surrender only creates more of the same.
Yes, we must willingly show up to silence, prayer, scripture and service, willingly show up to be transformed. That is our part. However, the work really happens when we wholeheartedly consent and are present to the Presence, when we surrender to God’s Greater Work within. For it’s not when we muster up more effort but when we relinquish our weakness. Not when we acquire more knowledge but when we can admit to knowing nothing and fall into Divine Wisdom. Not when we live perfectly, but when we acknowledge our flaws, embrace our failures, weep with our vulnerabilities, receive forgiveness and keep showing up.
Any discipline, practice or level of understanding that supports our surrender is what will serve our transformation. For as God has God’s way of love and healing in our lives, so too will the world be healed. We do not have to be about changing the world, rather allowing change to happen in each each one of us. Yes, one person matters. Each of us has a part to play that begins with surrender. Remember, through one, Jesus the Christ, we’ve been shown the way of true life. The way of surrender that leads to resurrection and eternal life. Let it be so. Let it be now. Let it be.