The view through my lens is that we human beings, regardless of race or religion, hold a deep longing that is fundamentally one and the same. The differences we see with our body’s eyes are the great humor of Life. Our deepest desire is to have a true, intimate experience of living.
And we are often led to that deepest experience by some inexplicable pain. Indeed, our moments of loss and despair smooth the rough edges of ego and create an opening in the heart for growth and self-discovery, forging inner faith. In the words of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh, “No mud, no lotus.” Thus, our awakening comes through the pain.
Miracles do emerge from human beings in the darkest hours. If we can be patient while sitting with the dark, the dawn will surely come. Ironically, it is the pain of the terrifying journeys that forces us inward where new treasures of heart are discovered each and every time.
Every one of us faces some inexplicable pain in our lifetime. And most of us face the remnants of our dragons many times over the course of a day. Seeing the journey and the dragon as the impetus for self-discovery, we can have a new and empowering experience of what haunts us. We can engage the battle, face the pain, sit with it and receive its gift. Then, difficulty and suffering aren’t to be avoided, they are vehicles for a richer experience of living. The very experience we have all longed for.
I will never lead you into territory I am not willing to travel myself. The dragons I have slayed were wrapped in a shameful past riddled with childhood abuse, poverty, teenage pregnancy and eating disorders. In those times, amidst the ache, were remarkable glimpses of a spirit within that has never been altered or wounded by any of the circumstances I’ve lived.
Today, it is the living intelligence I choose to call God or Spirit. As I’ve accompanied some during their final days, they may use different language to describe what I call God, but most agree that this feeling was always there, an ever-present visitor throughout their lives. Wherever we may be in the journey, Spirit is experienced in the moments of relief or peace that flutter through the pain like a butterfly in the field of our days.
We are all having very personal and individual experiences of what I’ve referred to as Spirit. When we can nurture the awareness of the flutter of peace, or the butterfly if you will, that is when we are transformed by the pain. Hence, the lotus blooms from the mud.
So, even the most difficult journeys, like dying and grieving, offer a profound message for you and I. When we listen, we are urged to nurture that fluttering, to follow the butterfly. And the flutter is saying, “This is it. This moment now is your life. There is never a time when your life is not happening now.”
Here and now is the moment you’ve been waiting for, to sing that song, release your artistry, perform a jubilant dance or write warm prose. Whether the lotus blooms today or on our last day, we will inevitably take that sacred journey.
Unflinchingly then, let the pain open you today and take the journey inward now. Take the journey into your own gifts and dance in the field of your life present to the magnificent butterfly within. It will only, always lead you home.