I joined a new meditation group this week and tomorrow is the first session. The opportunity to meet new people is exciting and as always with it comes a touch of anxiety. Who are these people? Will they like me? Will I like them? What will the session be like and, of course, the big one: I hope I don’t embarrass myself. The group leader, bless his heart, threw out a question to the group in advance so at least I have a glimmer of an idea of what to expect. What would an ideal world look like, not a perfect world, but ideal?
Hmmm, no war, no hunger, unconditional love, all the easy answers came to my mind. I am grateful the leader put this out in advance for my brain does not work at warp speed. Instead of thinking on my feet I tend to think on my belly like an alligator latching on to what comes my way then rolling it over and over before tucking it into the mud of my mind to let it get soft and juicy before nosing into it. Poking at the question the word reincarnation popped up as well as my belief that every soul is here in this life to learn a lesson that will allow the soul to move up the ladder towards enlightenment. There are no free passes. If you don’t learn your lesson it will be repeated in a new form the next time around.
Now for me this is very liberating as it neutralizes everything. There is no good or bad in any situation, incident, or emotion if one can accept that it is nothing more than a lesson. Knowing that, truly knowing that, brings peace to any moment no matter how challenging. Personally it gives me the strength to get through whatever life throws at me, to find the purpose in all my experiences. Every soul is at its own stage of development and therefore faced with its own set of obstacles to conquer. The soul faces challenges that are appropriate and specific to the soul’s lesson at hand so, no matter how horrific, each challenge is ideal for the soul’s work.
Standing back, at first glance, the world is a mess. Young soldiers are maimed and killed in questionable wars. Substance abuse and disease run rampant. Children are ripped out of innocent lives and placed in the hands of evil. My heart breaks when I hear the stories of young women like Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard and yet, when I see them on TV they are luminous! Despite the atrocities they endured both are filled with purpose, grace and spirit. I cannot begin to understand why their lives took such twisting paths, but they did, they lived through it and I am humbled by their resulting light. Yet there are others who crumble, the majority of us do, when faced with adversity. My heart breaks even more for those who are crushed by the inhumanity of the world. It doesn’t seem fair but deep in my soul I have to believe that there is a purpose in that too.
Which brings me back to the question of an ideal world: what would it be like? I am grateful to the group leader who threw this question my way. Pondering it gave me some clarity. Messy as the world is my answer is it would be exactly like our world right now, today, at this moment. Reality is ideal. It’s all we have and if we spend time focusing on the “what ifs” or wishing for anything other than what we have, we miss the now. We miss the opportunity to live presently, to be open and to fully embrace life. Even if I don’t completely grasp the why and what of it, this world is ideal for all our purposes and I accept that all is as it should be and someday, when I have learned my lesson, I will understand it more fully.