I was having a conversation with a friend who was expressing concern about some of the things he’d done, earlier in life. Things he regretted deeply. These actions were causing him to suffer, mentally and emotionally – in the present moment, many years later.
Another friend expressed her intense rage and sorrow about the state of our planet. While it’s not something she can control, she wonders how she can pursue her personal happiness when so many beings are starving, dying, and even burning.
This got me thinking about the journey I’ve been on, one of cultivating happiness and following my bliss. As a lifelong empath, I’m certainly aware of the suffering in the world. How am I able to nurture my joy when others are in pain?
My faith has been a big factor in this. I would describe myself as a practical mystic. When I talk about faith, it’s not some abstract, outdated concept from an ancient book (as much as I adore books).
In order to be useful, faith has to involve practice and be woven into the fabric of daily life.
One of the things that helps me when I lose hope is stepping back and seeing the big picture.
Not a planet-wide view, although that can be beautiful. I’m talking about a soul-level, cosmic big picture.
In the vast scheme of things, where everything exists as energy and is part of the greater whole, we are okay. Everything, and everyone, is okay. Better than okay, actually.
Death is not a final ending, but a transformation. Science and spirituality both tell us this, although science has yet to catch up with some of the truths of the Universe.
On the biggest-picture level, we live in a safe Universe. This bird’s eye view can help to anchor us when personal or global suffering (or anything in between) runs rampant.
Try it. When the pain gets to be too much for you – whether it’s physical or emotional pain – take a look around. Resolve to see the blessings that are abundant in your life.
Listen inward, to the voice of wisdom in your heart. Ask your questions. Get quiet and hear the answers.
Go outside on a clear night and look up at the stars.
Think about the tiny piece of the divine that is you – not in a negative, woe-is-me-because-I’m-so-insignificant way. Rather, experience the freedom that your part in the greater whole can bring. Know that no matter what happens, to you or another, we are all part of the Divine, of All That Is.
We are each loved and cherished as an essential part of that whole. Soak it in. In the big picture, all is well.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t help others, work for change, or stand up for what you believe in. On the contrary, this practical mysticism will give you the energy to keep moving forward, and to find your bliss as you participate fully in the world you’re blessed to stand on, here and now. May it be so.