Tag Archives: uncertainty

How to live with certainty in uncertain times

How to Live with Certainty in Uncertain Times

Spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra reveals how to live more confidently.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/inspiration/how-to-go-from-hoping-to-knowing#ixzz6D5ixNr6a

What makes a relationship right, or an important decision? How can you tell if deep spiritual questions have an answer? As children, we all asked these questions. They came naturally. Is there a God? Do I have a soul? What happens after I die? Children are too young to understand that their parents are just as confused as they are. But the answers are given, and for a time they suffice. If Grandma went to heaven to be with Grandpa, a child will sleep better and feel less sad.

When you grow up, however, the same questions return. You can postpone the deeper ones, perhaps, but not in matters of love, relationships, and personal decisions. Everyone wants to know the answers to those kinds of dilemmas. And thus you discover that your parents, however well intentioned, never showed you the way (unless you happen to be one child in a million who had very mature parents who could truly love and understand you).

I know I seem to be painting a very large, open-ended picture. But getting into a healthy relationship, discovering whether you have a soul and even picking the right job have something in common.

In all these cases you either hope, believe or know what the answer is. “I hope he loves me enough.” “I believe my spouse is faithful.” “I know this marriage is solid.” These are very different statements, and we find ourselves awash in confusion because “I hope,” “I believe” and “I know” are never the same thing. We just wish they were.

If you will indulge me in sounding so abstract, there’s a useful lesson here. The spiritual path actually has only these three elements. You move from a state of uncertainty—”I hope?”—to a somewhat firmer state of security—”I believe”—and eventually end up with true understanding—”I know.” It doesn’t matter whether the specific issue is about relationships, God or the soul, about the higher self, heaven or the far reaches of the supernatural. Either you hope, you believe or you know.

You have already made that journey—many times, in fact. As a child, you hoped you would be a grown-up. In your 20s, you believed that it was possible. Now you know you are an adult. You hoped someone would love you; you believed in time that somebody did; and now you know that they do. If this natural progression hasn’t happened, something has gone wrong, because the unfoldment of life is designed to follow from wish to fulfillment. Of course, we all know the pitfalls. Divorce generally means you didn’t know if someone truly loved you. Children who grow up resenting their parents usually don’t know who to trust. A hundred other examples could be offered.

But the important thing is to get you back on the path.

Step 1: Realize that your life is meant to progress.

Step 2: Reflect on how good it is to truly know something rather than just hoping and believing. Don’t settle for less.

Step 3: Write down, on three separate lists, the things you hope are true, the things you believe are true and the things you know are true.

Step 4: Ask yourself why you know the things you know.

Step 5: Apply what you know to those areas where you have doubts, where only hope and belief exist today.

I believe that when you truly know something, the following things pertain:

You didn’t accept other people’s opinions. You found out on your own.

You didn’t give up too soon. You kept exploring despite blind alleys and false starts.

You trusted that you have the power, determination and curiosity to find out the real truth. Half-truths left you dissatisfied.

What you truly know grew from the inside. It made you a different person, as different as two people, one of whom has deeply loved and the other hasn’t.

You trusted the process of personal growth.

You aren’t afraid of your emotions. The truth always feels a certain way; uncertainty is queasy and gives off a bad smell.

You went beyond logic into those areas where intuition, insight and wisdom actually count. They became real for you.

I would say that these elements are universal. They apply to the Buddha but also any young person learning how to be in a relationship or finding the right purpose in life. By dividing the project into its components, the huge questions about life, love, God and the soul become manageable. You can work on each ingredient at a time. Are you prone to accepting secondhand opinions? Do you have a habit of distrusting your own decisions? Is love too painful and confusing to explore deeply? These aren’t impossible obstacles. They are part of you, and therefore nothing can be nearer or more intimate. Moving from “I hope” to “I believe” to “I know” is nothing less than the journey of life. You don’t have to buy a ticket. You were born with one in your hand.

Deepak Chopra, MD, is the author of Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/inspiration/how-to-go-from-hoping-to-knowing#ixzz6D5j4H1kr

 

The Gift That Comes From Hitting Rock Bottom

Saw this article and loved it. If you have ever hit rock bottom and somehow managed to stagger your way back up, you will “get” this piece by Glennon Doyle Melton.

Mountains and valleys

Mountains and Valleys

About five years ago, I found myself in couples therapy listening to my husband confess he’d been unfaithful throughout our marriage. Boom! Life as I knew it—gone. There I was again in the valley, that place where you end up after receiving the news, whether it involves a betrayal, a diagnosis, an accident or some other kind of loss. You are suddenly no one because you’ve been evicted from your identity. You fall to the ground and try to remember: Who was I five minutes ago? What did I care about, what did I laugh at, what did I live for? And when will I be able to climb out of here?

A few days after the bomb dropped, I was in the supermarket checkout line wearing my rock-bottom uniform: stained sweatshirt and pajama pants, dilapidated Uggs. It had been at least six days since my last shower, and I was at my greasy-haired worst. But in a way, I was also at my best. What I’d come to learn is that most women do crisis all wrong. They hit rock bottom, and still they clean themselves up and brush themselves off, maybe even put on a little mascara.

Armoring up before facing the world is a rookie mistake. It turns out there’s no prize for being she who suffers secretly and in silence, unless you consider loneliness a reward. If you’re not okay, you might as well not pretend you are, especially since life has a way of holding us down until we utter that magic word: help!That’s when angels rush to your side.

So there I was at the grocery store, emitting SOS from every pore. And that’s when I spotted my angel. As I took my cereal, milk and bread out of the cart, I stole a look at the cashier. Something about her face froze time for me. Her hair was downy and white. Her skin was brown, leathery—the face of a native Florida girl. But it was her eyes that stopped me. They were cornflower blue, with deep wrinkles like rivers around them. I wondered: How has she made it this long? What has she seen? What does she know? I need her to tell me. She smiled and her eyes crinkled. I smiled back. She asked my name. “Glennon,” I said. “My name is Glennon.”

She paused and said, “Glennon. That’s a pretty name. I’ve never heard it before.”

I said: “Oh, It’s Irish. It means ‘girl from the valley.'” And then I looked down at my grubby self and laughed. I said, “Wow. Girl from the valley. I’m facedown in the valley right now. Come to think of it, that’s where I’ve spent the majority of my life.”

There was a pause. I feared I’d said too much, but she didn’t look uncomfortable. She looked curious.

She said, “Wait a minute, honey.”

God, I love it when an older woman calls me “honey.”

“Don’t knock the valleys,” she said. “Everybody wants to be on the mountaintop, but up there the air is so thin, you can hardly breathe—and all you can do is stand still and try not to fall. But in the valley, that’s where the river runs, sweetheart. That’s where all the power is.

I stared at my angel and thought: That’s why you don’t shower at rock bottom. So the angels know to do their thing. Sit. Breathe.

I’ve lived a life of extreme lows and highs. I became bulimic at 10 and spent time in a psychiatric hospital at 17. I became a drunk at 18 and got arrested a few times. I’ve written two best-sellers and founded a nonprofit that’s raised more than $7 million for people in pain. I’ve seen my name on marquees and bowed to standing ovations. I’ve also been called a fraud, a mental case, a heretic. People all over the country wait in line to hug me or curse me. I’ve come close to killing myself. I’ve watched my marriage crumble and then fought like hell to save it, only to walk away from it five years later. I’ve built up, then broken down, then helped revive the hearts of my three children.

My journey has consisted of yawning valleys and soaring mountaintops. And I’ll tell you: These days I’m a valley girl.

As my cornflower angel told me, we’ve got it all backward down here.

We want to be on the mountaintops, but we’re not called to be victorious. We’re called to be wise, strong and kind. We are admired on the mountaintops, but we are beloved in the valleys. All the magic is in the space between mountains, where we have to unbecome everything we thought we were and start from scratch. This is hard to do, because when pain comes in the form of uncertainty, our instinct is to scramble out of it, to grab blindly for the familiar. But when we rush out of the valley, we miss gathering all the wisdom, strength and kindness we need for the next climb. We have to learn how to sit by the river and be still enough to claim its gifts. 

Glennon Doyle Melton is the author of Love Warrior, a 2016 Oprah’s Book Club pick; the founder of the online community Momastery and the creator of the nonprofit Together Rising

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/inspiration/glennon-doyle-melton-how-to-overcome-rock-bottom#ixzz4ycyXYpQo