A teacher of mine once asked in a light-hearted way: what in your experience lends you to believe that it’s all good? Up to this point, I was outwardly happy with my new age, “it’s all good; human nature is all love; it all happens for a reason,” philosophy. Deeper though, I felt something was off about this concept. It wasn’t until the delivery of this query that I could no longer bullsh*t with myself about what was really going on.
Time to investigate a bit…
Where did this idea come from anyway? Who said it? Why was I, and so many others, believing, defending and living by it? Aren’t the yogic, spiritual, positive, personal growth and development ones of us supposed to be compassionate, kind, loving and happy all the time? At least on the outside, right? I mean, it’s what we talk about, strive for, teach others — and I can certainly justify it.
I wonder how often we shape the world around us to fit the narrative that is rolling around in our head. I wonder how long I’ve been sunny-ing things that are grey and dim, just to try to convince myself that they aren’t the way they actually are.
Why is it that I want them another way anyway?
Why is it that they can’t just be the way they are?
What’s really at stake here… my control issues, my personal philosophy, my world view, my reputation…?
My it’s all good belief structure was rattled because many things in my experience appeared — truthfully — otherwise. Now, must I change my limping philosophies of rosy-ing things up to come to a deeper acceptance of what I am actually experiencing. Was this “oh… it’s all good,” somehow a quiet attempt to make myself feel ok with what actually doesn’t feel ok?
Seems as though I could explain away anything with this model and willingly ignore the troubles of the world or deeper still, my troubles within. I’m not sure how many times I’ve tried to tell myself:
I’m happy, when I’m not —
I’m peaceful, when I’m not —
I’m good, when I’m not —
Was I trying to save face? Was I trying to manage the woes of my journey by plastering on a smile, just because I read somewhere that smiling improves mood? What’s underneath when I peel off the mask?
I find the seed of the all love mindset rather important actually. Swinging the scale from a rather in your face world that is competitive, commercial, unfriendly, fierce, difficult and/or scary can be a useful reprieve even if it’s momentary or imaginary. Lightening the load with “love and light” can pacify and placate, but, again, is it actually true? If not, what’s really going on? Or, wait I minute, must I change?
If it is all good, would I lock my door, set an alarm, look over my shoulder or hang up on a telemarketer? If it is all love wouldn’t we see it on the news, on the highway, in a political debate or at a sporting event? If it is all gravy, would war exist, people starve, or…?
This new age aphorism, now seems a bit like a handsome beast.
What I realized during this personal inquiry was that I was living in a dualistic paradigm of sorts. Good/bad, right/wrong, black/white, light/dark. Based on what I’ve experienced, it’s an “and” world. It’s both good and bad, right and wrong… The slow and steady release from this mindset allowed me to accept all of my edges. I became empowered to accept all of the parts of myself that I had caste out because they were “bad.” To a certain extent, I didn’t even know I was doing it. Why live in internal fragmentation, when I could have it all? Isn’t that what the human experience is about anyway, feeling the spectrum, being inclusive and connected?
To judge, based on our brain biases, lands us in a world of separation.
The teaching a sage once offered me was that the yogi, artist, essence of self… stands behind, beyond, apart from (but connected to) thoughts, feelings and experiences. It’s the witness that knows neither sadness nor joy, fear nor courage, love nor hate, black nor white... it, simply, observes. They are things “it” experiences.
This poses an interesting concept because the universe is no longer moral or immoral, good or bad, black or white — its is both and neither. A paradox. It is amoral. It is situational and subjective. It is infinite shades of gray.
Where to go from here now that I’ve cracked my rose glasses? There’s gotta be peace in here somewhere. Perhaps being at peace means being fluid, accepting and content with what is, without grafting our belief systems onto its is-ness to make it better.
Radical self-acceptance means having the willingness to accept things as they are. Loving them because of their ugliness and crunchiness and discomfort.
So, all good, all love, all gravy, all happens for a reason, all light — is it really? Perhaps maybe, hopefully… now wouldn’t that be nice.
Sometimes it's not all rosy.
Sometimes it's not all good.
Sometimes things just don't turn out
The way we think they should.
And give it our best.
Without much rest.
Life deals blows,
Bruises and bangs.
It’s gnarly with claws, fists
And great big fangs.
We march forward.
We travel further.
Are we there yet?
How much farther?
Sometimes lemonade is not an option
When god is hurling lemons at our head.
Perhaps it's best to duck and cover
And simply hide instead.
Sometimes the rainbows are brown
And the unicorns are stabled.
Ends a story so fabled.
The suffering, the pain…
Sometimes it's a disaster.
Do this and do that
And you'll become a master.
Confused and twisted,
Losing our breath
Like it never existed.
The strife in our world
Can make us upset
And oh, so sad —
War, conspiracy and disaster —
I want to be happy,
But I feel just mad.
Can't we just have peace?
Can't we just have fun?
Despite our greatest efforts
It never seems to get done.
The sun isn’t always shining,
Especially when the clouds roll in.
It certainly dampens the light
Grey and grim, cold and dim.
Whomever is happy all the time
Has something I want to know.
Is it something innate
Or can it be learned?
I want to be great!
I want to grow.
The pulse of life
Is ups and downs.
Laughter and tears.
Smiles and frowns.
Perhaps, I’m blessed to feel such highs and lows.
I guess this means that I’m fully alive,
If emotional journeying is part of the show,
Time to awaken and learn to thrive.
Perhaps one day I’ll find it’s all good
All rosy and nice and fun and sweet
In the mean time, I’ll ride the waves
To experience it all
And revel in the company I meet.