One common and understandable conclusion we draw in this work is that ‘If I work hard enough I will rid myself of the issues I have. One day, I will no longer feel anxious or angry, and I will stop wishing the world were different.’ I used to look forward to a time when all my problems would be solved. I used think I would wake up one day and be different because the painful parts would be gone and the struggle would be over. And I used to think that working on myself was the way to do that.
It is, to a large extent, but it helps to keep in mind that we’ll never reach that place of perfect harmony with no more suffering. It’s the nature of our existence that we are tested and challenged, because that is where wisdom lies. But we should also know that we are already who we desire to be.
We are infinity in a box (yet we pay more attention to the packaging than we do to the contents). We are already capable of peace, purity and love beyond our wildest imagination, but we are bound by a human existence in a world of opposites. This means we are simultaneously expansive and restricted.
As soon as we realise the restricted nature of our incarnation, we can relax into it so that we can enjoy more of the expansive part. If, however, we cannot see or accept the restrictions then frustration becomes a permanent resident.
For the restricted part – the things which bother us – we can do two things. We can create procedures which allow us to deal with them in order to lessen their effect; and we can practise new habits which offer us a different way of being and a different way of seeing ourselves and the world.
Both require a level of awareness which can be uncomfortable at times. But we eventually reach a place of equanimity irrespective of what happens to us on the surface. And while all is calm on the surface, we can dive deeper into the infinity of it all.