When Will It Stop?
By Art Ramsay, PhD

 We all have faced times in our lives when a painful/stressful situation persisted and seemed like it would never go away. We look for reasons why it came about and what we did to deserve it. We feel sorry for ourselves and sometimes feel like a victim. “Whoa is me” might be your cry, and it goes on and on.

 As you know, if you have been with me for awhile, everything in your life relates to cause and effect. But, more importantly, it is about your perception. We live through each day dealing with cause and effect, perception, and our response to it all. While I have written about each of these aspects of our lives, I have not looked at them from a combined effect view.

 First, we can relate anything that causes our misery to our belief system (BS) as you have read here many times. But this is just the seed of aggravation, hidden from our conscious mind. While what is hidden in our BS is unknown to us, our response due to it seems outside of us. When this happens we begin the blame game and look for a perpetrator. Thus, we are thrown off track in trying to resolve the issue.

 While the above refers to mental or emotional pain, is it true for physical pain as well? Yes, although it might not seem that way. I could get into a long discussion about this, but it is beyond the scope of this article. Let's stick to the mental/emotional agony/anxiety for now, since it is the reason I decided to write this article.

 Distress itself, and the amount of distress, is purely your perception. What may upset you may not upset someone else, because each of us has a different BS from which it springs. But let's set aside the BS for awhile and focus on perception. Discomfort may seem like a bodily sensation, when it really comes from the mind. Your heart may beat faster, breathing get heavier, or tears may come to your eyes, but it is created by your mind.

 Remember, your mind is not physical. It merely appears to come from your head since that is where it is felt. We may say that we are using our head instead of our heart, for example, but truly your thoughts come from through your head not from your head. Again, this is beyond the scope of this article, I just wanted to point our that the pain is not physically generated, but only physically felt.

 The present situation is not causing your pain. Let me repeat that another way. What is stressing you is not caused by what is going on around you. What is causing you pain is how you perceive what is going on. Our very nature is to think that a situation in which we are involved, whether it is short or continues, is causing our pain. As I said above, the disturbing comes from within, not from outside of you.

 I won't belittle the nature of stressful situations, after all I am currently involved in one as a caregiver for my stepfather. However, we must look beyond the situation to how we are perceiving it. We can look at it as a problem that we want to go away, or an opportunity to learn something about ourselves. Being in peace no matter what has always been my desire, and for the most part I have done that, but sometimes it seems like it will take extraordinary measures to stay in a peaceful state.

 Well, not really. Let me explain. Once we awaken to the Truth of our nature, simply an aspect of God, we can move beyond our perceived limitations. What we see before us is really an illusion anyway, however hard it is to imagine. Setting the meaning of the last sentence aside, we need to look within to deal with outside circumstances. Our difficulty not so much the situation, but how we view it; our perception.

 There was a song in the 60's called “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchel that illustrates what I said above, the last part of which I've written below: 

            “I've looked at life from both sides now
            From win and lose and still somehow
            It's life's illusion I recall
            I really don't know life at all”

 This is where we all are, aren't we? But it is time to wake up, to look at both sides, to see beyond the illusion to what is really happening. You are the only one that can choose which “side” you want to look at: the outside or the inside of your world. Outside circumstances may seem daunting, but it has no power over you unless you let it. There is much written these days about how “happiness is a choice” and somehow I know this is true, however far away it may seem.

 In every moment we need to remember who we are as spiritual beings, especially when the going gets tough. Life is about this isn't it: being strong no matter what seems to block us? That is the choice I need to make in the situation I am in right now, because it is the only way out; there is no other. Oh sure, I could just give up, let someone else do the job at a huge cost and uncertainty as to whether they could be trusted, or a nursing home; not a place I would chose for someone I love.

 While the above is personal, it illustrates the difference between the “easy” choice and the “difficult” choice. We all have have and have had them in our lives. If we focus on the outside and make a choice, we lose; not from a physical standpoint, but from a spiritual standpoint. Making a choice about anything outside of us through an “outside” view, stops our spiritual growth dead in its tracks. We are doomed.

 What do you want? Do you want an easy life filled with easy choices, or do you want a fulfilled life? Turning your back on a tough situation seems like it allows you to “see the light” rather than the “darkness”, and if understood for its real meaning, it may work. What do I mean by that? Turning away from the perceived problem will not work. Turning away from the understood problem and choosing from your inner being will work.

 As you may have discovered years ago, there are no easy choices in life. You can make them appear easy, but really in the end, none are easy. Does this sound like life was meant to be hard so we have to struggle? I guess if you look closely at your own life and look around at other people's lives, it would seem so. But this is because we are always trying to make choices based on what is outside of us. 

The real easy way is to go within and make your choices. Then life unfolds into the beautiful playing ground it was always meant to be.

Peace be with you always.



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