Agonies & Ecstasies
The Pressures of Life
Then there are the pressures of life. Everyday you have to make a living (most people, anyway). Somebody must pay the rent, food bill, utilities. If you have children itís necessary to see they get a good chance to thrive now and in the future. The pressures of career and all the activities generally required of you in order that you may look at breakfast on a regular basis impact your private dreams of higher consciousness. You feel torn between your duty in the world versus fulfilling the yearning of your heart, a yearning so important and deep that life seems entirely empty and worthless without that fulfillment.
Not only do the regular pressures of life seem agonizing at times, but there are so many unforeseen variables. For example, you strive to lead a balanced, goal-centered life but suddenly your car dies and you have to spend more time working to buy a new one. Or, you were planning a quiet evening but instead you have to work late or handle an emergency. Suddenly a problem comes up, people need your help, and your plans for a weekend in the woods evaporate. Perhaps a new expense requires taking a second job for a short time and your once leisurely evening meditations have to be tightly fit in before dinner. Or, you had counted on a few days of rest and study but somebody got the flu. Perhaps it was you. Constant variables can be agonizing unless you understand your quest from the viewpoint of increasing your consciousness daily as you face lifeís problems and challenges in a creative and forthright manner.
Thereís also the problem of being greatly misunderstood. For example, in your job you may try to serve your higher values and make life better for your clients. At the same time, your co-workers may feel you are striving to steal a promotion by looking good. Insecure managers may feel youíre trying to replace them while youíre simply endeavoring to be a more loving and efficient person. Or, when you go to the movies with a close friend, you may put your elbow way back on the arm so your friend can use the front part of the arm, the more comfortable part. Your friend gets angry. He feels youíre making a territorial claim and are trying to prevent his use of the shared arm.
Big or small, numerous situations may occur in which you feel youíre striving to perform a service and truly help somebody out; but the person youíre trying to help, or another person whoís watching, may feel youíre striving to take advantage or even rip off the other person. The world lives with a conflict of motives. As you strive to grow in consciousness, your motives may often be misconstrued. These misjudgments are often a source of agony.
You may know other agonies, too. People tend to fear the unknown. You may well seek the higher consciousness but probably have no idea what you would do with it if you received it. In your ignorance you are prey to wacky ideas. You may take seriously something you would not attribute any significance whatever ó if it were in a field you were more familiar with. So you can easily become a victim of false ideas from false teachers, as well as false, unexamined experiences. You donít know what is true. You donít know whom to believe. You donít trust your experiences because they donít prove out in daily life. This confusion is agony.
Further, you assume at times you are not progressing. Based on your limited judgment, not knowing much about the situation at all, you can somehow assume youíre qualified to gauge your experience as being successful or unsuccessful. Not yet being very subtle or very aware, you usually make false assumptions.
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