Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What We Fear, We Draw Near

It appears to be a law of the universe that whatever we direct our attention toward will flourish and grow. Moreover, this "law of attraction" can be applied to both the wanted, as well as the unwanted experiences in our lives.

For example, many years ago, I believe I attracted a negative financial event into my life. I can remember clearly when I first began to dwell upon this subject, even though there was no real evidence at that moment that it would ever come to pass. Over time, I became more and more fixated and fearful. Gradually, over many months of rumination, the financial calamity actually happened, by which point it had become something of a fait accompli.

Recently, I have been struggling with another situation that I believe I may have somehow attracted. For some time now, there has been someone who resides in the shadows of my life who has been what you might call a "difficult person" for me. The reasons are complicated and involve a personal relationship with this person that did not go well. The result is that I have dreaded having any contact with them. Even the mention of their name brings up strong feelings of aversion in me.

Now, because of some drastic upheavals in the business we are connected to, this person shows up in my life on a fairly regular basis. One of my strongest aversions has become a reality.

Even if there isn't some law of attraction at work in the universe that sends us the things we place our attention upon, this person is here, and they must be dealt with. It is a choice point in my life that can mean the difference between living in freedom, or living in the prison of my own design. 

I have to confess that, for the most part, I have not been handling this situation very well. Borne of my fear, I have been living with a lot of anger, resentment, jealousy, and suspicion. Each day is a struggle within me to remember that my thoughts are not facts, and that whatever this person has done in the past, or will do in the present or future, has nothing to do with me personally. Yet I still find myself clinging to my fear, and so what I fear draws ever near. In other words, I am suffering.

I hope that in future postings I can report that my suffering has come to an end, or at least diminished. In the mean time, however, let my example help you to release your own clinging to outworn ways of looking at people. We do not need to condone harmful behavior, but we do need to let the past rest in peace - we cannot change it. We need to always remember to return to the reality of the present moment instead of staying stuck in our stories about ourselves and others. We need to be constantly vigilant about where we are placing our attention so as not to attract these kinds of unwanted experiences into our lives. 

Let me know how it goes for you, and I will do the same.
In spiritual life there is no room for compromise. Awakening is not negotiable; we cannot bargain to hold on to things that please us while relinquishing things that do not matter to us. A lukewarm yearning for awakening is not enough to sustain us through the difficulties involved in letting go. It is important to understand that anything that can be lost was never truly ours, anything that we deeply cling to only imprisons us. ~ Jack Kornfield
First we conceive the "I" and grasp onto it.
Then we conceive the "mine" and cling to the material world.
Like water trapped on the water wheel, we spin in circles, powerless.
I praise the compassion that embraces all beings. ~ Chandrakirti 

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