“Time passes in moments. Moments, which rushing past, define the path of a life, just as surely as they lead towards its end. How rarely do we stop to examine that path, to see the reasons why all things happen. To consider whether the path we take in life is our own making, or simply one into which we drift with eyes closed? But what if we could stop, pause to take stock of each precious moment before it passes? Might we see the endless forks in the road that have shaped a life? And seeing those choices…choose another path.” – Dana Scully… (All Things, X-Files, Season 7)
I’ll admit it, I’m an X-Files fan. Not strictly because it’s kind of an entertaining monologue about aliens, and government conspiracies (honestly, the gov’t is too inept to be that clever, individual people on the other hand…) and monsters and paranormal stuff.
Once in a while though, the show got kind of introspective and philosophical. This particular episode is near the end of the 7th season, and one of the main characters (Dana Scully, an FBI agent) is having a moment of frustration with her relentlessly curious partner. One thing leads to another, and she finds herself confronted with an episode from her past that she’d long ago buried. A rather painful episode, a mistake, if you will. Or was it? She begins a rather introspective look at the events that led up to that episode in her life, the consequences of it, and the choices she’s made since then, and where they have led her. It culminates in a rather intense spiritual experience (all the more remarkable since she is a very ‘skeptical about such things’ scientist) that leads to a reconciliation, redemption, and letting go of pain that was, unbeknownst to her until that moment, weighing her down.
This particular episode has become a favorite of mine, the writing was quite good, and some great imagery and background music sort of just flowed with the story and made it all come together, at least in my fevered brain.
I think the writers must have been reading some of the teachings of Buddha, where he discusses the nature of Suffering, and how we must act and think to divest ourselves of it. Or they were smoking some really good weed.
Seriously though, I can’t overemphasize the value in letting go of ‘things’, or our attachment to things. Whether that thing is an actual thing, a concept, a person, a location, a job, paradigms, or a favorite pair of jeans that lets in more daylight than is legally allowed.
So many friends and acquaintances of mine are going through some really difficult challenges lately, it seems. We all do from time to time. A point brought out in the show, was that when an event comes to us, of major proportions, it may be a sign to slow down and think things through. Why is this happening? What is the lesson here for me, or even for all parties involved?
You see, I believe with all my heart and mind, as the title of this blog suggests, that everything happens for a reason. We may not always see that reason, and maybe can’t see it until much later. If ever.
We all, each of us, so easily get stuck in ruts of behavior from doing the same thing all the time and expecting different results. Or perhaps we don’t perceive that what we are doing is repetitive and not moving us forward?
I spent many years living in a denial of my self, or shall I say, of my true nature. Those of you who know me may think you know what I am referring to, but no, it goes beyond that too. Living that particular lie about myself was merely the cover of the pressure cooker that was my life. We all know what happens (or we imagine we do!) if we suddenly remove the lid from a pressure cooker. Well, I did that, and although it was a relief, a lot of things boiled over as well. A lot of things best let go of. It happened eventually. But when one is faced with having to rebuild and reinvent oneself, it’s a bit daunting.
Circumstances often either lead us…or force us, into changing something about ourselves. Personally, I prefer the former over the latter. Having a sublime Dana Scully moment is much preferable to having our pretenses stripped away by force. It’s somewhat akin to those dreams we have where we are walking around naked. But maybe that’s what those dreams are actually about? You know the ones, where no one seems to notice that we are buck ass naked but us, but maybe it’s really because we’re afraid that people will see that which we are trying to hide in our waking lives? I can tell you that once you embrace (or perhaps better said…to accept those things), and learn to not be ashamed of them, it’s very liberating.
Some of you who know me, may also remember a period of time where, shall we say, I was not at my best. That pressure cooker analogy again. The heat was building and the pressure was rising. My inner conflicts became my outer jackass. Yes, at one time I lived in a state of shame and embarrassment over these things. My volatility was no fun to be around. Ask me I know, because I also had to live with it.
Well, this wasn’t meant to be a confessional, or an apology even. But for those of you I was a jackass to, I really do sincerely apologize.
You see, the process of letting go, of forgiveness, including yourself, is just that, a process. One that is definitely worth undertaking. I never said it was going to be easy either.
Which leads me really, to where I think I was going with all of this. Gratitude. A friend was telling me about this many years ago, and though I wasn’t really prepared then to accept what she was saying, I never forgot it. Gratitude: a feeling of appreciation or thanks. (Merriam-Webster).
Whether you are a spiritual person, or not, being grateful, expressing gratitude, seems to leave a void in our lives which then seems to get filled with…for lack of a better word, good stuff. Through no effort of my own, one day I found myself in this state of feeling…grateful, to no one in particular or to a beneficent Universe, for so many cool things in my life. For a long time, I’d cut myself off from this, awareness shall we say? Constantly struggling to do better, seemingly getting nowhere. For whatever reason, things changed when I found myself in this state of mind.
The ‘good stuff’ just sort of keeps happening. For which I am of course, even more grateful. I encourage you to try this. I personally feel that too many of us are incredibly spoiled individuals. We complain about a myriad of things that have no real importance. We live in a miraculous age! We carry internet devices in our pockets, we fly through the air in modern machines with no more thought than putting on a jacket. We have an abundance of basic needs filled FOR US by people we think of as invisible every day. We should be grateful to them as well!
Thanks for reading. I’m actually grateful if you do that. Try to practice this in your life. After all, what could it hurt?