Did setting intentions strike you as paradoxical this year? Don’t get me wrong, I love the intense process of setting intentions and goals for the year. After all, I’m a life coach, and it’s my passion and focus to help guide you through.change. I’m an expert in the change process and love it.
Yet the spiritual path also says that accepting things exactly as they are is the solution. Sitting in trust that all will unfold as it should.
So how can I make sense of this apparent paradox? I yearn for change, yet work towards acceptance at the same moment. Sometimes at night I wake with fear that the world will end any moment, and yet sometimes I sit in deep trust that all is well. I’m a social activist and a spiritual yoga teacher.
So when I went to do my New Year’s resolution what emerged was to sit in the paradox and listen deeply for the answers from that still place. Willing to take action from the inside out.
The great German poet Rilke says, Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves… Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
Being patient and listening deeply to the question of how to live inside apparently contradictory systems, both internally and externally. Trusting the answers will come, but maybe not today. Like being an activist and spiritual. Like seeing such deep suffering and still being happy. Having fun while helping others.
I’ve usually tended to the serious side of things in this life, and when people used to say to me, “You need to lighten up!!” I’d feel hurt and resentful. Life is a serious business. And I didn’t really get what they meant nor how to change what seemed to me like my authentic nature.
Robert Thurman, an American Buddhist writer and academic, says In this Ted Talks,“One of the ways of helping those who are suffering is by having a good time.” When I first heard that, I thought it was stupid.
But slowly, I began to understand, at least a little bit. The Dalai Lama is like that too: intensely serious as a spiritual leader, holding of the anguish of the genocide of his people, yet at the very same moment is joyous, like a laughing boy.
Thurman says that you give birth in your mind to the idea of compassion when you realize that your pains and pleasures are too small a theatre for your intelligence.
Don’t you love that? When we are stuck in our own selves, either pain or pleasure, then we can’t see or even really help others (of course you might have to travel through strong feelings like grief or sorrow). It sure helps my tendency to being so serious about life. And to let go of the seeming paradox of being still and active and having fun and helping others with compassion.
So my resolution for 2018 is to ride the paradox of life with more ease: activist/meditator; change/acceptance; having fun/helping others; and being serious/being light. My serious little head might explode, but that might be a good thing….
What do you think? Send me any of your resolutions or thoughts about the whole process…firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Young, M.Ad.Ed., IPC, RSSW, is a Life Coach, Mindfulness Facilitator and registered Yoga Teacher in private practice in Kingston.