The Truth About Troubles
The Truth About Troubles
by Kate Nowak
The late Vernon Howard, a wonderful teacher of metaphysical truths, once told the story of a hunter traveling alone through the jungle when suddenly he fell into a deep well dug years before by natives and long abandoned. Water, no more than six inches deep covered the bottom of the well, the pool fed by an underground stream.
The hunter, immediately aware of his dangerous predicament, began at once to look for some way out. Over the years vining plants had grown along the ground at the well entrance and several branches now hung far down the walls. Jumping to grab one, the man used the branch to begin pulling himself out of his trap. He was almost to the top of the well when the branch broke and he tumbled helplessly back to the bottom.
Determined, he stood up, grabbed another vine and tried again, unfortunately with the same result. Time and time again he endeavored to use the vining branches to pull himself out, but in every effort he failed, the vines breaking in response to his weight. Eventually, all the vines had given way and all his hopes of escape were dashed.
Brought to his knees by circumstance, he sat down in utter despair to contemplate his fate. With all hope gone and no resources left him, the hunter knew death was imminent. And then a strange thing happened. With firm resolution, the hunter realized that he was not yet ready to die. Quite the contrary! He had every reason to live and besides, escaping from this well would be a wonderful story to one day tell his grandchildren.
With new determination, he began looking around him and immediately noticed the steady steam of water bubbling forth from a small crevice in the wall some two or three feet above the well bottom. With such a strong stream, he reckoned, the water in the well should have been much, much deeper.
Probing with his fingers, he soon discovered the water was leaking out almost as quickly as it was flowing in, escaping through another small crevice just beneath the surface.
Resourcefulness being a companion to desperation, the hunter realized what he must do. Plugging the exit hole with mud from the well bottom, he quickly insured his freedom. As the well filled with water, the hunter rose to the top.
From time to time we all find ourselves trapped in wells of deep despair and most of the time we tend to grab whatever false hope dangles before us. But like the brittle vines in our story, these usually offer no more than faint promise of escape.
We'll spend our last two dollars on lottery tickets hoping to escape financial woes, for instance, or rush to the pharmacy to buy those magic pills that promise an end to every ache and pain.
It is not until we've abandoned all hope, however, that we realize our salvation is always with us. We don't escape by clinging to false hopes but by allowing the flow of life within us to carry us to the top.
Our evolvement to a better life is almost always preceded by difficulty, and the greater the difficulty, the greater the opportunity to advance. And while we certainly don't want to create problems, we should be willing to embrace every problem that we do attract as an opportunity to grow. By doing so, we can actually use pain to rid our lives of pain.
Whenever we are frightened or anxious, we can't see anything but the cause of the fear that grips us. It hovers over us like a threatening storm, dark and foreboding, monstrous in appearance. We have to look away from the storm completely before we can see the light breaking on the horizon, and some times we get so caught up in the surrounding threat that we do not think to look away until all hope is lost. It is only then we realize it was never the difficulty, but our fear of it, that kept us trapped.
Any time a crisis occurs, we have a choice. We can tremble in fear and trepidation, or we can accept that we have attracted this experience to us as a way of garnering self awareness. In choosing the latter, we enter into whatever suffering the crisis causes just long enough to call its bluff. We don't run away, or stick our heads in the sand, or dart willy-nilly in every direction seeking a solution. We simply allow the crisis to be what it truly is: an opportunity for us to release both the illusion and the pain caused by it.
The next time a difficulty arises in your life, remind yourself first that there is no difficulty you cannot overcome. None. No matter how foreboding it may appear. Then accept the problem the same way you would a valuable gift. This is not as difficult as it sounds, especially when you remind yourself that trouble is never the enemy we make it out to be, but only a guide unconsciously attracted to get us back on track.
When we allow the difficulties in our lives to serve their purpose; when we relax, letting go of every fear and recognizing that the entire experience, no matter how bleak and daunting, is a blessing in disguise; when we confront our suffering with acceptance and count it all good, then a very remarkable thing begins to happen. The illusion of suffering dissolves away and in its place is left a precious gift. The gift of a trouble-free life.
kate [at] livemoreabundantly [dot] com