Sometimes I feel like I am still on step 3 of the “journey of a thousand miles”. It may better be described as anticipating step 11,726,210, and, when taking that next step, entering the time-warp continuum and arriving back at step 3. Sisyphus and I are kindred spirits in the growth department.
Yes, yes, I know – its a dance. And that metaphor isn’t working well for me today: two steps forward, one step back – all over the same patch of wood – never really leaving the dance floor.
Some spiritual writers have said that we are here, in the situations we experience, as a result of contracts having been made with other beings before we were born – situations we actively chose to experience so that we might learn something important in the company of specific others, and in turn, assist them in their experiences.
The covert message of this concept is that we make our own problems intentionally – we bring it on ourselves. I’m not sure that’s particularly comforting. Why would I do this to myself?
It is comforting, however, to conjure the wisdom of my fourth grade teacher at St. Joseph’s Elementary. When she had reached her window of tolerance with the plethora of 9-year-old questions on the mysteries of death and the afterlife, (questions like “why not just jump off a cliff and get it over with” and “why can’t Grandma go to heaven”), Sister Mary Cassius would take a deep breath, pull her giant rosary beads out from under the mysterious folds of her white habit, raise her hands and say solemnly: “once we are dead, we will know the secrets of the Universe”. At my age, I’m hoping I can remember what the questions are. Maybe I should write a list. Maybe I already did!
When I get angst-y about life and death and meaning, as I have been this week, there is one little glimmer of hope and wisdom I have learned about the spiritual journey: keep walking – more will be revealed.