THE LAZY WAY TO TREAT
Author: Peter and Helen Evans
We treat for "happiness and love". Sure, we add some "things" now and then, but mostly we treat for happiness and love. And since we've been doing that, we've never had a day go by without being thankful for it when we go to bed at night, nor wake in the morning without gratitude for another day.Sure it may sound like the lazy way. It seems too easy, too simple, it doesn't require the hands-on details, we don't have to treat for every single thing we want to happen every day.
So what is it like when you treat for an overall state of mind? Well, the 'work' in treatment shifts from the hands-on approach of designing an exact mental equivalent for a specific, desired outcome, to what might be called the "hands-off" approach. The emphasis is on Release and faith. Letting go of strict parameters for happy, loving outcomes, and embracing the ever-unfolding 'now' as an on-going opportunity in which to be happy. Rather than saying, "I wonder what we'll do tomorrow", we say, "I wonder what forms love and happiness will take tomorrow".
Do we have every-thing? No, but we "have it all".
Do outer circumstances always appear "perfect"? No, but we view them as part of the harmony of life, the beginning, middle or ending of various cycles. Do we ever get sad, do we ever cry, or just get angry or frustrated? Of course. That too is part of a fully engaged life. In fact we can truly "get into it" and experience it, for we know every moment is part of the give-and-take of life and, in the end, all part of a larger harmony.
By treating for 'happiness', we can view life from the "big picture". We don't chop it up into 10-minute or 10-day pieces and judge these as 'good' or 'bad' experiences by themselves. Sure, we have preferences. We judge and choose to go toward what we want instead of what we don't want, but as long as we're both mindful and heartful in the situation, we can proceed through anything with confidence and faith that we'll be happy and loving. This does not mean we go around in an airy-fairy state of Pollyanna denial saying, "everything is perfect". We have to be engaged and sometimes get into the muck to change things, but that's part of life too, it's part of what we know we enjoy doing. We're fascinated by life, and so, part of the happiness is sometimes being involved in what others may not find "joyful". By attempting to maintain a larger perspective, we sometimes find ourselves 'enjoying' being unhappy or frustrated. Yes, to embrace all of life is a truly enriching experience.
A few years ago when working in hospice, Peter and I were sitting 'vigil' with an unconscious, dying woman. We paced her breathing, said silent prayers for peace of mind. I felt the need to wander and strode off around the ward. In the next room was a woman and her son standing over her dying husband. I introduced myself and asked one of the stupidest questions in such a time, "can I do anything for you?" There is no answer to that question in those circumstances. They were polite, said "no" and I wandered off again. I felt, however, I didn't serve them well, so I walked back in and merely stood there with them. I certainly wasn't going to say anything again! yet I could trust that my simple presence was beneficial.
Finally, after about 5 minutes the woman turned to me with tears in her eyes and said "He's trying to tell me something, but he can't speak anymore". "Aw, Ma, everything's ok, don't worry about it, everything's fine, don't think about it", said her 35-year-old son. I ignored him and asked her "how long have you been married?" "39 years", she replied. "Have you ever spoken for each other in all that time". "Of course" she said. "Aw, Ma, let it go, don't worry", piped in the son. Ignoring him again, I asked "What do you think he would want to say to you now...? She paused but finally said, "That our life together was wonderful and I love you" "Well, then speak his words through your lips to him, tell him you really do know what he's trying to tell you." "Ma, you don't have to do that, don't get yourself upset". I walked toward the son who was facing me and as I walked I hooked my arm into his, he had to back up and follow me or fall down... and we proceeded into the hallway. He was not looking happy but didn't want to make a scene. And there in the hallway was Peter, introducing himself and asking questions like "What do you do for a living?" and taking sonny's mind off what was happening.
About 10 minutes later the wife emerged with tears in her eyes but a wide smile. She had had her last 'conversation' with her husband. Later, the family was able to talk and release some of the "don't go there" grief they had been storing up. They were able to say goodbye and the man died peacefully a few hours afterward.
Did everything go smoothly? Well, the outcome was 'good', but there were a few tense moments during the process. There was risk, but there was also faith. We can all take the risks in the faith that we've treated for our highest good. That night we believe we had served. We didn't raise the dead, we didn't 'remove' the grief, but we did help to create a space where it could float in love and compassion. We were happy.
Now another story: Many of you know we have recently bought a grand old home and are restoring it to its former glory. We had the financing just about set when our realtor decided to "help". Because of some of the considerations about the structure being built on a hill and supported by posts, she felt conventional financing would not be available. Without consulting us she basically 'fired' our mortgage broker and had a new person call us. Well, we thought, perhaps Spirit is working in mysterious ways... we were able to relax into the situation and ask all the appropriate questions. End result: the new financier stunk, his plan was all wrong for us and we decided to have nothing to do with it. We thought back on this, what was the lesson or message here? Well, we've also vowed to endeavor to "uplift, ennoble, and purify all those who come in contact with us". Perhaps our realtor may now behave in a more professional manner after we told her, "Knock it off! Don't ever do anything like that again", and re-hired our original mortgager.
Are these perfect situations in life? For us they are. We enjoy using all our talents. We enjoy challenges that open us to becoming greater than we were before. We enjoy serving in all manners.
You have to let go of preconceptions. A few months ago we visited San Francisco again. We went to some "old favorite" places. Surprise! They were no longer our favorites. We were seeing through new eyes. Had we simply followed our inner yearnings we would not have gone the route of our past habits. What we did learn was that we can get in our own way, or, if we relax, in faith, into the situations that present themselves to us, they can still be occasions in which to enjoy happiness and love.
Our old thinking, our habits, can only tell us what seems to have 'made' us happy in the past. Yet, there is an inner part of us that knows past, present and future to be one. If we simply treat for health, wealth, happiness or wisdom, they will manifest for us in ways we might never have imagined, and yet be totally, surprisingly, fulfilling. In treating for a state of mind, an "attitude toward life", we must set aside our preconceptions of "how it should be" and just "let it be".
Will we be conducting classes next year, or even live in the same place? We don't know, but we know we'll be happy whatever we're doing. That doesn't mean we don't give it our best right now. Of course we plan, we schedule and we dream of the future, but we don't hold on to it. Since we've been living this way, it is sometimes a bit disconcerting when we hold on, for some people may come into our lives with whom we share a deep connection and the next thing we know they've moved or we have; the connection remains but "they" don't. Sometimes we become involved in endeavors that in the past we would have thought would last years and years, but then there comes that significant moment when we look at each other and "know" it has served its purpose to us or we have served our purpose to it and it's not going to be in our lives anymore except as a memory. We have to let go of our preconceptions of how long things "have to" take, what friendship or success "have to" look like.
So, do we have everything? No, we have it all. You might want to "let go and let God" take care of the details of your life... just give the outline for happiness, love, wealth, health, wisdom, beauty, etc and take the 'lazy' way. You have nothing to lose but your preconceptions!
Peter and Helen Evans are writers and workshop facilitators. They are founders of OneCenter, an organization devoted to the development of human potential. Please visit OneCenter's website at "http://www.icomm.ca/onecntr/"