I recently had a very painful “friend breakup” that left me feeling really off balance and completely off center. I didn’t feel like myself for a few days, and I just couldn’t make sense of why she treated me the way she did. I felt like I’d just fallen into a pit of despair and grief.
Most of my spiritual life is spent in the strange suspension between hanging onto pain for dear life, and the ephemeral bliss of true letting go.
The zen-like, guru enlightened state is like a wisp kissing my cheek, gracing me with its presence for all of a few moments. I am delighted by it, and in my sweet innocent naivety, I feel like it will last forever!
Then, the density sets in.
The 999,999 other things that are still there, niggling in the back of my mind.
- Oh the injustice of that bitch!
- Oh the pain of my childhood.
- Oh the war in the middle east.
- Oh global suffering.
The suffering seems inescapable, daunting, and weighty.
And… this is the reality of a mystic. A spiritualist. A seeker of ease, bliss, and peace.
The pain around you isn’t going to go away.
The waves of grief alternating with bliss are a reality. Bliss isn’t a constant when your requirement of it is that everything needs to be forgiven and everything needs to be settled.
Enlightenment is not like tidying up your house – enlightenment can happen in the middle of the equivalent of a hoarder’s episode… There is nothing glamorous about it.
I’ve learned there can be bliss even though the grief of letting go seems unbearable.
Bliss… even though there are still people you want to forgive.
Bliss… even through the aching nights of your soul feeling lost at sea.
Bliss… even when you wake up with a neck pain and want to crawl back under the covers.
Bliss… even when you’re embarrassed from a deep sobbing “ugly” cry.
Bliss… when you feel so utterly disconnected and alone from everyone you’ve ever known.
Bliss… when your whole world changes in the blink of an eye.
Bliss… when your heart aches with the grieving pain it takes to let go of someone you love, but isn’t good for you.
If you know what I’m talking about – congratulations. You’re doing some of the toughest, most intense work there is to do on this planet. You’re allowing the growth of being stretched by discomfort and painful experience. That is something to celebrate. That is something to feel triumphant about.
Bliss abounds when you see the value of the shit you’re experiencing. When you are okay with the fact that you aren’t perfect and you never will be. That you will never “get it all right”. That you won’t ever be “finished” or “there”. That you will never “arrive”.
That is peace.
There is freedom there! Hallelujah!
What marvelous, messy humans we are. Grief and bliss can co-exist. Who would’ve thought?