Friday, May 6, 2011

Always Being Positive and the Rose-Colored Glasses

I like tackling topics around the illusions people have about what spirituality is. One illusion is that you'll always be positive and happy. There's this kind of expectation that has been built out of many smiling gurus on postcards and Internet pages, and so people try to always be positive and happy about everything.

Now certainly, there's an important practice in learning to choose happiness and to see the good in things, but learning to see the good in things doesn't mean that you're putting up blinders towards the bad things in life. The higher good embraces both, and on the spiritual path, that's where this road leads towards. So you can't simply put on the rose-colored glasses and see the world in only one light. All lights and darknesses are equal and need to be seen for what they are.

The Pain of Always Doing the Right Thing
Before someone gets the impression that it's okay to intentionally hurt others or make mistakes, I'd like to offer 1 of the 4 agreements from Toltec wisdom that Don Miguel Ruiz speaks of: "Always do your best." It's a wonderful little statement. It holds you accountable, and in my own life, I've found that it leaves me with few to no regrets. I do what I can as best as I can do it. The results tend to themselves. The more deeply in the spiritual teaching space I am, the less I even have an evaluation process around results. I am simply doing and saying what feels true to me. It's not about doing the right thing. The right thing--if it's any thing--is simply trusting and saying what feels true to me. Trying to say the right thing or whatever I think that is gets me into a world of trouble.

And so too, many people get frustrated as they try to do the right thing and it isn't necessarily well-received. Somewhere in there, there's an issue for outside approval. That in doing the right thing and being always positive for everyone, you somehow think that you're going to be better accepted. You may be the type of person who is always trying to be positive when you're miserable inside. This serves you in no way. Most people can sense how you're really feeling (even if they don't know that they can). And in essence, you come across as fake. So you come into a whole lot of pain because people aren't accepting you well and you already feel awful inside.

Taking the Glasses Off: The Spiritual Perspective Sees All
Well, we see as much as we can. We all, after all, have limitations. We're human. It's part of the walk of life that we take. But in taking off the glasses--the need to color the environment the way we want to see it--we begin to see the truth of our realities. We'll see where friendships aren't serving us. We'll see where we aren't serving ourselves. You'll probably have to make changes, and this will likely ruffle a lot of feathers. Change tends to do that. So many people are trying to control their worlds that any little ripple can be upsetting. You'll have to learn how to do this as best you can, but in so doing, you will begin to take ownership of your life and live in the real world.

Because the more we project onto life a certain expectation, the more miserable we end up being when it doesn't turn out the way we want. It doesn't have to just be always trying to be positive. This most certainly includes all the cynics who are constantly looking for life to disappoint them. Maybe these should be called black-colored glasses because to the cynic everything is morose and disappointing. And that's no more true about the world than the eternal optimist who doesn't want to talk about upsetting subjects like murder, rape, war, and other atrocities.

Spiritual Awakening and Opening Your Eyes
If anything, spiritual awakening is one of the biggest eye-opening events any of us can have. It becomes exceedingly clear what is right and what is wrong. This is much less subjective than it sounds. You feel this truth in the marrow of your soul, and you move from this space to make changes in your life to better align to the deeper truths that you now feel and truly know. This isn't a new ego game; this is so fundamental it aches in your teeth to not live in alignment with spirit.

The pessimist loses the pessimism. The optimist loses the optimism. You know that things happen--enjoyable things and painful things. You can see much more clearly, although in my initial experiences you really just see a lot of beauty for a time. It's hard to see much else. The initial blast is kind of an energetic bomb that goes off inside, but as it subsides, your eyes are quite clear. It's part of the reason that many people will have trouble being around you. You won't play the old ego games. Where there's suffering, you'll see it and respond to it. Where there's beauty, you'll know it and embrace it. None of this is about making the world appear to you as you want it to. It's simply about seeing with clarity.

And ultimately, that's one of the greatest gifts that the spiritual path can bring us. We begin to truly see the world as it is, and from that place of clarity, we move into a whole new way of being with our reality.
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