Residing vs. Reacting


One of the main topics of query for spiritual masters is certain situations should be handled.  These questions come in many guises – How do you stay so calm and joyful?  What should we do with our fear?  How do I handle aggressiveness?  What do I do when I’m depressed?  Don’t you ever get upset?  How should we handle injustice?  What do you do when things don’t go your way?  How do you find happiness?  What do I do to calm my mind?  How do I handle work situations?  How do I stay calm if some incident happens?  What do I do with my family relationships?  On and on it goes…

These questions are all essentially asking, how do I change my behavior to properly handle a given situation?  From an egoic perspective, that seems like the right approach – to see something one way, and to want to fix it to some other way.  The ego will always want to alter the situation to its liking, and its security.

The subtle truth is that for a spiritual master, all of these questions totally miss the point.  To him or her, these questions are like asking a tree how it bears green leaves.  It’s simply in the nature of the tree to bear leaves, it could not do otherwise.  Similarly, a master is in a certain state of absoluteness.  From that state, there is only equanimity and inclusivity.  There is no behavioral change necessary in order to handle one situation to another.  The master simply resides in the moment, and their actions arise spontaneously.  For we who are not in that awakened state, it is often difficult to comprehend their answers, and often we come away wondering if an answer was ever given.  The master’s answers come from another dimension of being – the better teachers meet us where we are, but we must realize they are operating from a totally different paradigm.

So where do we go from here then?  We recognize that seeking behavioral reactions to one situation or another is a mere band-aid, but we are not yet realized and lack that foundation of equanimous being.  The solution lies where all solutions lie: within ourselves, and within the moment.  The solution is simple: show up to every moment with humility, love, and gratitude.  We may often fail but perfection hides in practice.  Let humility, love, and gratitude be our home, and let us always come home each time we veer off course.

Humility is the first antidote to ego.  With it, we put others first and with it, we are accepting of whatever comes.  Next is love – unconditional.  Loving ourselves and others unconditionally, because the secret is that we are loved unconditionally by existence and simply don’t know it.  Then is gratitude, all-pervading.  Humility, Love, and Gratitude unlock the full potential of each moment to be filled with Grace.

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