The Obstacle is the Path

“If it weren’t for (you fill in the blank_____) my life would be just great!” If we are honest with ourself then we may see that we have repeated this mantra many times in our life. Only the contents of [blank] have changed!

“It’s always something…?”  Why?

Asking that question might be like walking into a hospital and asking, “Why are there so many sick people here?”

“Why is there always something in the way of my happiness?” It’s because the mind that is asking the question is the very thing that is in the way of our happiness!

The conditioned mind assumes that happiness depends upon external circumstances; and it also believes that the obstacles to happiness also lie in external conditions. This mind is not happy. It is unhappy not because of external conditions but because it is deluded—it’s looking for happiness in all the wrong places.

I am not saying that it’s wrong to change the circumstances in your life; doing this is often helpful—and sometimes necessary. The delusion lies in believing that your happiness depends upon the (ever-changing) external conditions of your life.

This delusion is not your fault; it exists in virtually everyone who lives in our culture--or any culture, for that matter.

When we are very young our sense of happiness and satisfaction is tied largely to having our physical and emotional needs met. These needs (if they were met) were met by someone external to us—typically by parents and family. We learned to equate happiness with getting our needs met.

But as we grow up things get more complicated. A full belly and a dry diaper are no longer enough to make us happy. As we get older the list of requirements for happiness grows longer and longer. We may achieve one goal after another only to find that happiness still eludes us. Something (or someone) always seems to be in the way of my happiness!

What seems to be in the way really isn’t--but we have a lot of difficulty accepting this!

What is in the way may need to be addressed in some fashion. If you have a toothache then it may be a good idea to see a dentist. No problem—unless you believe that the toothache (…or the heartache, or the empty bank account, or the …) is what is keeping you from being happy. If so, then you will once again be disappointed because soon after the toothache (or heartache) is gone something else will arise that seems to be in the way of your happiness.

As you live your life, something-- for better or worse--is always in front of you. You will always have some joy or sorrow that lies before you. Happiness lies not in what lies before you, but in how you relate to that which lies before you. Happiness (or the lack thereof) arises not from that which is before you but from that which lies within you.

Life can be lived only one day at a time, one moment at a time. The WHAT of your life is less important than the HOW of your life. “How are you living your life?” “How are you responding to what is in front of you?”

What is IN the way, IS the way. If you face each apparent obstacle with a clear mind and an open heart then each apparent obstacle becomes another steppingstone for your soul’s journey.

An obstacle for a child may be a steppingstone for an adult; it all depends on how big you are. When the mind and the heart are large enough then all apparent obstacles will become like pebbles on the road before you.

Begin right where you are. Make friends with all that lies before you; make peace with every step along the way.