Without dark you would not recognize light. Without sorrow you would not celebrate joy. Without hatred you would not cherish love and without struggle you would not appreciate peace.
I remember as a young girl crying to my mother that I would never fall in love. I would meet a guy and within a very short period of time I would discover the ‘fatal flaw.’ That is the term I use for the thing that drives you crazy and you can’t see past the behaviour, or trait, and the relationship ends. It could be something as simple as the way they say the word ‘can’t,’ to the way they chew their food, or it could be more complicated like how they treat your friend’s children, or the way they act when they get stressed. Whatever the flaw is ... it is fatal and you can’t get away from them fast enough.
I like to think of this as a selective process of elimination. You are weeding out the guys you don’t want to discover the guy you do want. Think of the power of attraction, the secret, manifesting your dreams ... uncovering what you don’t want in life allows you to discern what exactly it is that you do want so you can focus and draw it toward you. Say you want a guy who is great with kids, chews with his mouth closed, has a soft Australian accent, and practices yoga when he gets stressed. How would you determine this is the ideal guy for you if you hadn’t put the image through a thorough process of elimination?
This works the same for all aspects of our lives. When I was growing up, there were a few people who knew what they wanted. They knew with each fibre of their being that they wanted to be lawyers or veterinarians, or global peace makers. I believe they went through the same process of elimination, but came to their conclusions faster than others. For me, that process took decades. I finally reached the epiphany that I wanted to be a yoga teacher and writer by trying everything else. I took university courses, college courses; I jumped from job to job, all in an effort to discover what I was meant to do. I ended up with a very long list of what I didn’t want to do with the rest of my life, but that list helped me focus and recognize what my true desires were.
The next logical step of course is accepting what you want to do and doing it. This is a hard one for most people. I speak a lot about the word ‘but.’ This little word gets in the way of so many of our dreams and desires. Essentially we talk ourselves out of it. “I know you want to be a writer, but you need to get paid; we have to eat after all.” “Being a writer sounds great, but who’s going to read your work?” “I know you want to, but seriously, what if your writing sucks?”
I love the ego. It will tell us exactly what we need to hear to stop us dead in our tracks toward fulfilling our inner most desires for happiness. Why does it do that? Because it is the ego! It doesn’t want you running around following your whims. It has a real job, and social status, and operates on the expectations of others ... and it has spent years, in fact all of your life, developing itself. It doesn’t need some desire or dream to throw all its hard work into confusion and chaos. So it distracts you, pulls you away from your ‘misguided thinking,’ and helps you get back to what you were doing before. It pulls you back into pain, unhappiness, and struggle.
The ego can be used for good, if we recognize that whenever we are unhappy or in pain, or struggling, it is providing us with a vision of what we don’t want. And that little bit of awareness can help us perceive what it is we do want. Without unhappiness we would not treasure fulfillment. When you are struggling, or unfulfilled, search your heart for what you really want, and then take any and all steps, even baby steps toward that desire. Being happy is our birthright. Find what you want out of life, and embrace it!
Now, anyone know where I can find an Australian Yogi who chews with his mouth closed? :)