Recently, I was tasked by a close personal friend to explain and defend my personal philosophy. Though it was a gentle probe and by no means hostile or combative, this honestly surprised me. But seeing as it came in the midst of a great deal of personal chaos and familial turmoil, I guess it shouldn’t have, which I’ll explain in a bit.
Firstly, while I responded to this request quickly and deeply from my heart, I’m not sure that I did so with the eloquence it deserves, nor am I certain that I made my point clearly. I fear that I may have been perceived as just cutting off the discussion, which was never my intent, especially considering how important this person’s friendship is to me. The particular assertion I found myself defending was my decision to approach life with one phrase always on my lips: “Everything happens for my best benefit”. Now, while I can understand a surface reaction which would interpret this as a very ego-based “I am the center of the world” philosophy, I can also empathize with the view that this can be seen as a painfully naive concept. However, it is neither (at least to me), and here is why:
When I silently repeat to myself that “Everything happens for my best benefit”, what I’m actually doing is reminding myself that every event in life, no matter how negative it may feel, can lead to a positive. This simple catch phrase/philosophy centers me and helps to prevent any negative reaction on my part; I find peace and calm in the midst of the storm, a peace which has quite literally saved my mind from itself in recent weeks.
With this little sentence, I maintain my status as a creator in my life, and never sink to the role of victim. I make NO claim that life will never throw me complications, only that the choice to label and perceive them as 100% negative truly is a choice, and one I do not make. We create our experience of life through our perceptions, and choosing to perceive ourselves as tossed about on the tides of chaotic, negative chance can make it all but impossible to see ourselves as capable of rising above that negativity.
I believe that this friend may also have seen my views as discounting God, and assuming all godlike power as my own. While our views of God may differ, this is certainly as far from accurate as I can imagine. On the contrary, rather than discounting God’s impact on my life, I see this as magnifying it. I believe that God has a very real impact on my daily life. God takes a direct interest and investment in my life, and I have a real and very intimate relationship with God.
To me, however, God isn’t a separate, cloud-borne entity before whom I kneel to beg forgiveness and entreat for boon. God is everything and everywhere. God is the air we breathe and the ground we walk upon. God is the slobber in a puppy’s kiss, the light in a child’s eyes, and yes, God is in every person we encounter, without exception. God IS creation, and divine power is part and parcel to each and every one of us. The idea that someone or something could be “God-forsaken” is anathema to me: I do not believe God is even capable of forsaking or abandonment of even the merest microbe. To do so would be God forsaking God, as every cell of creation is part of and therefore wholly God.
I pray. Every time I hear a siren or see an ambulance drive by in full code-mode. With every shooting, train wreck, and tornado on the news, I pour my heart into prayer for those affected. I also meditate. I turn inside to find the love when hatred seems to be the only logical reaction. I strive to see the divine equally in every raindrop and every blessing and every challenge before me. I refuse to see true negativity in anything life presents me, regardless of the level of challenge it represents, because, simply put, I do not believe in the truly negative. It is ALL perception, and I elect, I CHOOSE, to believe in the blessing inside the curse, even when I can’t see it for myself.
Also addressed in this conversation was my fondness for the “I AM”. Now let me make it clear; the “I AM” isn’t some funky, new-agey pseudotechnology. It is, per the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament, the literal name of God, as told BY God to Moses at the Burning Bush. “I am that I am”, said God to Moses, “will be my name for all generations.” These words, used together, have power. They define us in our own eyes and in the eyes of those around us. Each of us, daily, even hourly, use these two words. “I am…” “mad”, “overweight”, “unhappy”, etc. I personally don’t see how identifying ourselves in this way can be anything other than counterproductive. So I choose to use those two words only in a positive manner. “I AM” does not escape my lips unless it’s followed by something uplifting. “Lucky”, “Happy”, and I always, always respond to “how are you?” with “I AM WONDERFUL”. This creates a wonderful me, as each uttering of it buoys my spirit and elevates my mood. It also makes those I encounter smile and react to my “constant wonderfulness” with wonder of their own. If I can elevate myself and those around me, then this cannot be anything but a holy response.
I stated earlier that I shouldn’t have been surprised at the timing of this particular challenge. It came at me hot on the heels of my mother’s hospitalization and just ahead of my Jacquelynn’s own trip to the ER and subsequent emergency surgery. I was at the time spinning crazily and being pulled in many directions all at once, pinballing from one emotional extreme to the other, and my world felt chaotic and uncontrolled. But being presented with this question and having to collect myself to respond to it was of great service to me, as it forced me to realign with my center, and to remind myself that the chaos only has as much power over me as I grant it. Chatting back-and-forth with my friend on the subject was therapeutic and deeply cathartic for me, and I am grateful for the pull back toward myself that this conversation provided. So, in a very real way, my friend’s statement, which they felt was sent to them for the purpose of passing it on to me, was a very real blessing of its own, proving both their points and my own, within our own perceptions. I want them to know how grateful I am both to them, and for their presence in my life.
Let me be completely clear in that I make no assertions that everyone, or even anyone should approach their life as I choose to do with my own, nor do I believe that everyone should believe, pray, or worship in the same way. Walk your chosen path, and walk it in beauty. I gratefully embrace all paths which bring peace and lend strength in times of weakness.
And you know what? I love you. I don’t care who you are or what you believe, I love you. We all come from the same source, and we all return there. I enjoy knowing you all here, and I look forward to seeing you there as well.
*I apologize to those non-geeks among you for the title of this little article. It stands for Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. Perhaps the greatest legacy left to popular culture by the late, great Gene Roddenberry.