Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Fiona’s recent incident in China where her life was threatened by a lunatic driver (comment 11 August 2012 to Douglas Harding Continued), and her response to the threat, has resonated deeply with me.

Less dramatically, I regularly meet situations which show the shallowness of my understanding. I can wax eloquent about ‘oneness’ and ‘living in the moment’, and even feel superior to those who don’t share my interest in spiritual development.

But all it takes is some worry about my health, or a member of my family’s health; or some financial stress, or a fight with somebody, or the pull of some addiction, and I am undone. All the lofty ideals go out the window, and I realise that what I think I believe, and what I actually believe are two different things.

In such situations my beliefs are exposed in all their hollow superficiality. I remember one time a few years ago going to the GP for a routine medical for an insurance policy, and him detecting a cardiac murmur. I went into an immediate tailspin, which resulted in my wife organising an assessment by a cardiologist. Investigations were normal and I reverted to a normal level of arousal.  I remember trying to meditate my way out of the crisis while I waited for the appointment. I tried to ‘stay in the moment’, ‘let everything go’, ’be there with the feelings’, ‘accept  life as it is’, and all the rest of that nonsense.

These situations are often followed by a (usually temporary) resurgence of my resolve to be mindful, to meditate more, to trust in God, to blah, blah, blah.

If you are waiting for the punch-line now, for some pithy nugget of wisdom which will bring this all together, and make you feel better about your own suffering, I am going to disappoint you. Because I don’t know the answer.

I don’t intend this post to be negative, but merely to register and acknowledge my lack of faith, and my ignorance about how to deepen it.

That’s it.

I would value others’ thoughts on this, but please spare me a lecture, or a patronising pat on the head, and above all don’t tell me to look on the bright side.