From Pain to Gain

It sure does seem like the Universe likes to give us a heavy slap down every now and then. Things look soooo good, then suddenly – usually the moment we open our hearts – they turn sour. We’re left disappointed and sad. Does the Universe hate us? Or is It trying to teach us something?

I heard the phrase “necessary disappointment” for the first time yesterday… and it struck a chord. Why would we need to be disappointed? What possible purpose could it serve? Well, to stop all of our “magical thinking.”

“Remember That Not Getting What You Want Is Sometimes a Wonderful Stroke of Luck” –Dalai Lama

You see, all of us believe we can change the world around us: the people, the way they think, the amount of money we have (or don’t). We constantly tell ourselves that the world is counting on us to change it. And in a way that’s correct, in another that’s totally incorrect. It’s the second one that needs to be deflated.

You see, it’s not really within our power to make other people change, to make that girl or guy call us, to make our boss promote us, to make our parents understand us. It simply isn’t. Yet we persist in thinking: “It depends on me, on my efforts.” That’s the kind of wishful thinking that’s always going to be disappointing… the one the Universe is trying to teach us not to do. Sometimes in a harsh way.

Instead, once we accept that we really cannot change the outside world… somehow we discover that we have a much greater power, one we haven’t tapped into… and the one we really want: the power to change how we feel about what happens in the world. Wouldn’t you prefer to be indifferent to how things go… or do you still need to be caught up in the illusion? Because the only way we really change the world… is by not being so dependant on how things go. We can be happy with things as they are. We can simply relax… let things go the way they want to… and discover that we never really wanted that responsibility anyway. We invented it all… Oh, little ego of mine!

So… “disappointed today, stronger tomorrow” is the way we should look at these hand slaps. We should be grateful for them. We’re learning the limits of our personal power. We’re learning that disappointment won’t kill us… but that it can in many ways be avoided by us not getting so excited about things that haven’t happened yet. Trust me, every time you’ve been disappointed, a greater power than your flimsy ego is being awakened inside you. As Eckhart Tolle writes:

“The ego says, ‘I shouldn’t have to suffer,’ and that thought makes you suffer so much more. The truth is that you need to say yes to suffering… before you can transcend it.”

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