By Erik Vienneau
Can we be OK as things in our life fall apart? On the other side of 40 I’ve been forced to feel into this question more often lately and I’m sure you have as well. Whether you are younger or older we all need to deal with external people, places and things falling apart. The question is can we see this as part of our spiritual practice or will we fall apart internally when the inevitable changes in life happen on their own?
Lately things have been intentionally and unintentionally falling apart in my external life. I've parted ways with my Guru of 20+ years, left my successful yoga business, my other income-producing business is slowing down and multiple people that I’m close to have died or moved on.
What external people, places and things in your life do you depend on to maintain a strong sense of self (note the small “s” in self a.k.a. “ego”)? Perhaps it’s your job, a certain level of income, the size of your home, the quality of your car, your partner, your parents, your friends, or your identity as a spiritual person/yogi/mom or dad. The more life experience you have you will see that eventually every one of these things will change or fall apart completely.
"What is your ego identity? If it was threatened tomorrow could you be OK?"
This falling apart has shaken me to my core and I am sure you have felt the same way when big changes happen externally in your life. This phenomenon forces us to see how much we depend on external people, places and things for our sense of self/wholeness. My identity, Buddhist student who provides well for his family and is central to the yoga community is toast as my Guru left, my income has gotten shaky and I’ve left the comfort of my yoga business. What is your ego identity? If it was threatened tomorrow could you be OK?
It's interesting – albeit it intense and shocking - to have these external things fall apart as it forces a choice on us. Will we fall apart internally as external people, places and things do or can we have faith in our true Self (note the capital “S”), our practice and fall back into the embrace of our eternal, peaceful, always-OK presence?
When things fall apart the self is often scared because it has less to cling to and build an identity out of. Can we use our practice to learn to feel into how OK we are deep inside the part that is watching this whole adventure unfold? If you can be OK with the open space and groundlessness you will find that your True Self – the part of you that seems to be watching this whole show – is where you can find the peace and security you have been searching for “out-there.”
It's amazing to see that mostly, I feel OK and at peace now more than ever as things fall apart thanks to a hard-won, ongoing meditation practice. I hope that these growth challenges we all experience will help us come closer to wholeness - exclusive of external ego inputs.
I know we can all realize our true nature and stabilize this realization of true peace so that we may be present for this beautiful life so that we can then help others transform their minds as we transform our own. May there be peace, ease Joy and happiness for all beings and may we support each other in this awakening to service. After all, peaceful minds = a peaceful planet.