An inner struggle

It seems the more sophisticated we get with technology, education and our daily lives, the more we lose touch with our inner self – the one that knows the truth about all that is. We watch horrific things on the news and wonder why God would do that to people. We say and think things that send out energy of fear and anger, and often, we don’t even realize we are doing it. We ignore people we pass on the street, deliberately avoiding contact. Maybe it’s just urban culture. Maybe it’s just bad habit, but it seems like too often we are pulling ourselves in the opposite direction from where we want to be, like the pushmi-pullyu from Dr. Dolittle books.

Why is it so easy to blame the world around us for the struggles we experience? Why do we dwell on the “bad” in things instead of accepting and moving on? Why do we assume that anyone outside of us (other than perhaps close family and loved ones) are even aware what goes on in our life?

We are individual people, responsible for the path we take. We are the ones who make choices every day, and have to live with the consequences of our actions. Then we look back and wonder what happened. So often, I see people reacting to a situation that they created, or at least helped to create, looking around saying, “What happened? I didn’t do anything!” More often than not, we are playing a much greater role in the things that happen around us – more than we probably realize.

When something “bad” happens, who is deciding that it’s bad? Is it our own judgement that makes this decree? Is it conditioning from the way we were raised, either by our family or by our society? We assume things are “bad” because we were told it’s bad, or it triggers emotions that lead us to feel that way. If it is a situation that we are in, what could we have done differently to reach a different result? If it is someone else’s situation, what could they have done differently?

A friend recently lost a sister to illness, which brought back memories of my own sister’s death. She had substance abuse problems that no one else knew about until it was too late to do anything about it. I tell people that she died from a drug interaction, which is true, but she actually died from the choices that she made along the way to do what she did. No one killed her. The situation was completely avoidable. As hard as it was to observe the process of deterioration, when I stepped back and looked at the situation, it was hard to feel sorry for her. I know that sounds insensitive, but it’s true. I felt frustrated, because she didn’t seem to want to seek help. Maybe she didn’t even realize how severe here condition was. She was even told that she would die if she didn’t stop. As much as she didn’t want to die, her dependency was more important to her, and she had to live, or not, with the consequences. Sadly, she chose the latter. In the end, God didn’t do this. No person did this to her. It was her choice, and honestly, as difficult as it was, we had to respect that it was her choice to make, though one we would probably not make ourselves.

Another area where people lash out at God or anything else, is natural disasters. God doesn’t make these things happen. These are forces of nature that have always existed, and always will. People know that it will happen, and they have to weigh the risk of being in a place where things like earthquakes, tornadoes, or floods happen. As our world becomes more populated, more people choose to live in places that were once unpopulated. They take a gamble, and like any gamble, sometimes we lose. It isn’t the weather’s fault. It really isn’t anyone’s fault. It’s a choice that didn’t work out.

A less severe example is the traffic here in the Washington, DC area. People complain about it constantly, but they still get up every morning and get in their car and sit in it. Sometimes they have to. Sometimes it’s just easier or cheaper than trying to take public transportation or finding a carpool. Sometimes it’s a decision that could have been made differently. There are many folks who live in the outer reaches of the suburbs in Maryland and Virginia who work on the other side of the river. They move out to a place where it is less costly to live. They know the traffic is bad, and that it will be difficult to get to their job on the other side of the river, because there are no crossings out there. Much like the tornadoes in the plains, the traffic was there long before these people relocated, but then they expect “someone” to fix it once they find themselves in the middle of it. It isn’t fair to blame the traffic for a less-than-ideal choice in residence, any more than it’s fair to blame God or the government for the bad weather that kills people.

Too often, I see people using words that indicate where they are going on their path. When they say that someone makes them sick, or that they hate something, or they look to tomorrow (or an unnamed “someone”) to find the answers to the situation they have today, they don’t realize that they have separated themselves from what they really want. When we say something makes us sick at our stomach, our subconscious mind simply follows our lead and takes us there. When we say that “someone” needs to do something about “it,” whatever “it” is, we lose track of the fact that we are someone, and we can do something, even if it is simply accepting and letting it go instead of making ourselves miserable over something that we cannot control.

So often, we invoke the Law of Attraction to draw things to us that we don’t want – through our fear, through our worry, through our doubt. Did you ever notice that people who are afraid of dogs or bees seem to attract the very thing they are afraid of? This is what I’m talking about.

We must follow natural law. Nature works a certain way, and we can’t change the way it responds to a situation. Any action results in a logical, appropriate reaction. The more we ignore this process, the more we get frustrated by it. Why not work with the law, instead of against it? As I have repeated many times, if we aren’t part of the solution, we are part of the problem. If we aren’t making ideal choices, and following a path of improvement, improvement might not ever happen.

There is no “good” or “bad.” They are simply opposite ends of the same spectrum, and what we see as “good” or “bad” often is a matter of our perspective. If one is wealthy with a high-paying job, the idea of working at a fast food restaurant or on a cleaning crew might seem pretty unsavory. For someone who is out of work, or can’t pay their bills, it might be a welcome opportunity. It is our personal and societal judgement that creates “good” or “bad,” when in reality, everything just “is.” It is a result of what we have created and how we choose to look at it.

Next time you are feeling frustrated, angry, fearful, doubtful, or any other experience we label “negative,” stop and take stock in what is happening. What are you doing to influence the outcome, one way or the other? What are the blessings or lessons you are ignoring in the situation that might help you to grow into a better, more understanding person? What are the words you have used that have drawn you to a situation, or made it seem worse than it needs to be? What can you do, through your thoughts, words or actions, to see the situation in a better light, and be thankful for the lessons and opportunities it brings? What attachments can you surrender, so that everyone involved can move ahead?

Death, natural disasters, parting of ways, and other “undesirable” situations will happen. They always do. They always will. We cannot change that. What you can change is the way you react to them. You can change the way you perceive them. You can change the way you feed them and keep them alive, or even encourage them. You can change your life for the better because of them.

We are all connected – to each other and to everything. What affects a part of the whole affects the whole. If we aren’t accepting our responsibility to help achieve a desired outcome, how can we expect anyone else to do it for us? It’s a team effort. Be a part of the team, even if it’s a team of one, and keep things moving in a good, orderly, positive direction!


(photo courtesy