Where A is the clowns have not only pitched their tent in my soul, they’ve made me the stooge in their drama, and B is the pristine lawn of my soul, which I can enjoy from the vantage point of a deck chair in the sunshine, a glass of champers in hand, and from where I can see the clowns in the distance, laugh at their antics and find them lovable in their own way.
Getting from A to B is not going to be plain sailing. On any journey where your course is liable to be influenced by outside forces; strong winds or currents for example if you’re in a sailing boat, then there is a need to monitor your alignment with the course and course correct as needed. When you’ve been blown off course on your journey to inner peace and joy by life events and interactions with others, how do you spot that you’re off course, and how do you course correct?
I think the most immediate way of identifying that we may be off course is our emotional state. This isn’t completely reliable, as it’s normal and appropriate to feel grief, fear and anger at times. Life isn’t all about feeling the good emotions and not the bad. If you’re painting a scene, it’s when you add the shadows that the painting suddenly ‘pops’ into life and without the shadows in our lives the richness and depth is missing. But if you’re feeling chronic anxiety, or are in any negative emotional state continuously, then you can be sure you’re off course for hitting your destination and finding the eye in the storm.
Course correction is achieved by changing our thinking patterns to ones that are in alignment with that peace and love that is accessible deep inside ourselves. If the waters of your life are relatively calm and you’re only slightly off course then the course correction might be achieved simply be sitting quietly and meditating for a few minutes and ruminating on things you know to be true, for me that could be the love of God, for you, go with whatever good thing you know to be true, not what anyone else says is true if you yourself do not know it to be true. If you are facing a storm and can’t control your emotions then this might have to be done in increments. I faced just such a situation recently. I cried for days after receiving a letter bringing more stress and worry into my life. I couldn’t get into that place of peace at all, the anxiety was crippling. Rather than deal with the situation right then, I spent days dealing with the emotions that had erupted as a result of this situational ‘hand grenade’ being lobbed into my life. Little by little, with repeated meditation and talking it over with God and a human friend I was able to find the peace in the storm; it took about a week. The storm is ongoing at this point, and although still deeply concerning to me I have a peace and confidence on the inside about it that wasn’t there before.
Coming next: Spiritual fathers