I try to see life is just a sequence of a different situations and environments that we have to work our way through, from the day we are born to the day we die. Life never stagnates, it is constantly changing from one thing to another.
Sometimes we know how to handle a situation we are presented with, but most of the time, we don’t, and there is a steep learning curve. And when we are given a situation that we don’t know how to handle, we believe we are going through a a rough patch, a crisis in our life. But isn’t that what living is; changing, learning, growth?
When we were a baby, we didn’t know how to walk, but we learned. We crawled. We held onto the couch for dear life. We took our first stumbling steps. We defied gravity. We fell. Oh boy, we fell a lot. We fell into our parents arms, but we also fell on carpet, and concrete. We grazed our knees and bumped our head. We cried when it hurt, and laughed when it stopped, when we were reminded how wonderful and surprising life is.
Life was so simple back then. We were but babes, and we hadn’t succumbed to being prisoners of our thoughts and opinions. If we had, we would have probably called this a Start-Of-Life-Crisis, just like we would call something else a Mid-Life crisis when we got older. As a baby, we lived experientially. We tried. We felt. We cried and we laughed. We learned what we needed to learn.
As we got older, we started to learn how to label things. When we didn’t know how to do something, or how to deal with something we were presented with, we learned how to label it “something bad.”
Something to be scared of.
Something to avoid.
We also learned to label ourselves.
We failed. We are a mess. We can’t get anything right. We can’t handle this. We hate that. We have lost control.
But it isn’t really a crisis. It is just life doing what it always does, consistently changing, evolving, presenting you with situations to grow you. At the very least, life is consistent when it comes to change. In fact, maybe we are the ones that are unstable. We have no idea how to handle ourselves in situations, and life becomes hard.
For some reason, the “mid-life crisis” got a lot of fame. Everyone has heard about it. But if you look closely at life, what part of life was not a crisis of some sort? Each stage of our life, we struggled with something or another – childhood was tough, high school was hellish, being dependant was a crisis, but then again, so was becoming independent. School was a crisis, then working became a problem for us. Being employed is a crisis, but then being unemployed is an even bigger crisis. Being single was a crisis, and then you get married, and that’s a crisis too. Our family relationships have a yearly or six monthly crisis. Then there’s the notorious mid-life crisis. There’s even a mid-mid-life crisis (which I am totally eligible for) Being too young to enjoy the benefits of adulthood is a crisis, but aging is also a crisis we try desperately to avoid. The thought of death too, is a crisis.
Even just writing this and thinking back on my own life is exhausting. I feel tired of living my life from one crisis to another. I am definitely tired of my own drama. How about you?
Change is natural
Change is the only constant. We will change. Our bodies will change. Our relationships will change. Our circumstances, opportunities, challenges – will change. We inhale and then we exhale – the very fabric of our existence is rooted in change. We have to accept that everything will change. It is one of the most fundamental laws of the universe, and if we reject and resist that, we suffer.
Playing the game of life
So if life is just a sequence of different situations, to play the game of life, we have to learn how to adapt and handle each one that comes our way. We can do this without identifying with each challenge or role we play, without identifying too much how we have to adapt. It’s just a game. We play a part. We learn the lesson. We do what is needed. Our inner self is untouched, only strengthened.
We have to ask ourselves “What does this situation require from me? What do I need to do here? How can I help, how can I transform this into something beautiful? What is the lesson for me? How can I grow?”
The root question of course, at the bottom of all of this is “Who am I?”
Because once you feel the answer to this, and I mean really feel it, then knowing how to play the game, how you need to be in different situations, will come to you.
The answer is not a label. Because whatever label you put at the end of “I am…” will only bind you. The answer to “Who am I?” is something you feel inside you.
The mid-life crisis
Ah, the notorious mid-life crisis. The energy of youth has settled, and we believe we are stuck. Ahead of us is aging, death – both of which terrify us. Our routines are set and we hate that too. We feel our responsibilities chain us to our day t0 day life.
It’s a funny paradox. We hate change, but we hate staying the same too.
Our life feels dull. We wake up with the same partner, in the same bed, in the same house, drive to the same job in the same car, eat the same thing for dinner, we worry about the same things before we sleep. We feel like everything is the same. We miss the energy and vibrancy of youth. Life was more exciting then, we believe.
But the thing is, things are still changing, but we have lost our ability to see it. Our life just lacks depth and dynamism and we blame aging, our marriage, our responsibilities, our bodies, for this. But that is not what is to blame. Our minds have become trapped in routine, and we think the same thoughts recycled every day. We identify so much with our thoughts, that we have trapped ourselves in routine too. We begin to hate our life, but really we hate what we believe about our life. We hate how we approach our life. We start dreading it so much that we declare it a state of emergency. A crisis. We want out.
Changing our outlook
The beauty of life is that we are always given something we don’t know how to handle. If we knew how to live perfectly, we would complain that life is too boring.
In this way we can look at all aspects of our life with enthusiasm.
Like…Ok…this is difficult, and this brings up a lot of challenges for me, and I don’t know how to adapt to this situation, but I am going to learn, and I am going to LIVE.
The same destructive cycle
We alternate between boredom and crisis. And honestly, after some time, that is exhausting. We get bored with life, we create a problem for ourselves to push us out of our routine. We have a break down. We start over.
What we are desperately searching for is growth and depth in life, but we go about it such a way that all we do is create a mess, and keep starting over and over. This gives us the impression that we are growing, but really we are just stuck in the same place with the same destructive pattern, and a false sense of freshness.
We only trsllu grow when we adapt and learn, not only by tearing everything down and starting again. Sure, this can happen from time to time, but when this is the only thing that happens in our life over and over again, we won’t really get anywhere.
So, knowing this, how can we approach the different situations of life?
1. Be flexible
If you want to learn how to play the game, at the level you are playing at, the first lesson is to adapt, and to adapt we have to be flexible. We can’t go through life with a fixed personality, a fixed set of likes and dislikes, opinions and judgements. Well…we could, but life will be tough, and we will keep getting stuck all the time.
2. Devote yourself to your inner work
Through your spiritual practice, we will start creating some space and distance between you and your thoughts. This is a good thing. It stops us from identifying so much with our own beliefs and opinions, and helps us gain clarity of vision. We can start to see things for what they really are, and not what we think they are. Through meditation and kriya, we can start to reorganize our body, mind, emotions and energy in such a way that we are in a better position to handle situations that we have not come across before.
If you feel like you are breaking down, if you are in a crisis of your life – this is a good thing! This reminds you its time to look deeper, it’s time to wake up.
3. Get really involved in life
So to break out of this, get more involved. Awaken parts of you that have been sleeping for years, and you will bring a richness, a freshness, a newness into your life that you have been waiting for.