Joy’s physical support system had crumbled again, and the way ahead in her life remained blocked. Gino, who shared Joy’s need for a subtle balance between movement and stability, recognised her struggle. “Remember that you can find strength from spiritual sources,” he said to her compassionately in one of her moments of deep disorientation. “You yourself have told me that the physical is transitory. When your exoteric support structures have disappeared, you can access your power from the esoteric.”
Although Gino’s words revealed no new perspective to Joy, they greatly aided her to find a point of balance. Gino was aware of the subtle dimensions of life. His support was crucial to her because he was able to advise and encourage her without dragging her back under the veil of illusion.
Joy found her breakdown hard to accept because she had believed that she’d learned to hold the high ground over her emotions in any situation. Instead, she discovered that the vicissitudes of life were still able to provoke bitterness and depression in her. Maybe breakdowns are always a part of life? Perhaps what’s important is how we respond to them? Joy was aware that even in the depths of this current crisis a feeling of purpose lay just below the surface of her gloom. She recognised that her faith was growing stronger, enabling her to reorient herself more quickly after a breakdown than in her younger years. Continue reading →
For young people, it’s easy to project hopes into the future because time is on youth’s side. However, as we get older, the future has less appeal, perhaps, because it also means aging with the health concerns and psychological challenges that might entail. For this reason, it’s more important than ever to find a way of feeling hope in the present, even if we have a need that’s unmet, maybe one that’s been unmet for a long time already. So how can we feel hope and fulfilment in such circumstances?
One technique – from what I label the way of the warrior because it requires copious amounts of courage – is to walk on the fire of the emptiness of your unmet need i.e. to look your need square in the face. A pitfall to be aware of is the unconscious act of projecting your needs onto a person or thing as a way of finding relief when a need is being unmet. Projection oftentimes sooner or later brings suffering, when/if the person or thing identified as filling the need does not in fact do so, and this truth eventually becomes undeniable and has to be acknowledged. Continue reading →
Aging can also be a cause for stress. That’s been my experience anyway. It’s tempting to remain fixated on the body as it grows older, especially as our Western societies tend to give great worth to the new, the beautiful, the fresh. It’s only when the barometer swings completely over to antique that appreciation around old things seems a little more apparent! Now in my mid-40s, all the road signs are pointing to over the hill and into the abyss. It’s likely that persons I’ve known since I was a child will die soon; that I or somebody close to me will have age-related health problems; that my skin and my body will begin to sag unless I resort to artificial means, which are expensive and risky. Ok, I admit it, it’s a mid-life crisis and my views are coloured by the space I occupy between no longer being young and not yet being old. I’m having to embrace my age and learn the lesson of where my power no longer lies. It’s sometimes helpful for me to look back and see how much I’ve grow, for example, over the last decade. Between my mid-30s and mid-40s, I dredged through plenty of life crises and challenges – like we all do. My ever-present inner drive to learn the spiritual lessons from outer events has meant that I now feel more aware of life’s mechanisms as well as of my automatic responses. I feel both more detached and more engaged. Continue reading →