There is a lesson in all of this, but I am not sure what.
I remember reading a book somewhere – it said that almost all of us are waiting for something. When this happens, when that comes, that is when I can really come alive. When, when, when…
I read this book many years ago, but it was only recently that I saw the wisdom in it. Take a second to look, to really look, at your own life. Is there something you have been waiting for? Settle down and search – this can be hard to see, for in so many ways, we are blind to ourselves. There was something I was waiting for, but I couldn’t see it in all my years of inner searching. Perhaps I just didn’t want to see it…
The teaching from the book was simple – stop waiting. All we have is the present moment. The past is a memory, with no power over us besides what we give it. The future is just imagination, fantasy, and anticipation. The future will never arrive, for when it does, it will be the present.
I just think, perhaps, there is a little bit more to it. I just don’t know what. There is a deeper lesson in this somewhere, but I don’t know how to translate it to another person’s life. All I can do is share what I waited for, and how my life had been shaped by this waiting. Maybe you can get some meaning out of it.
A few months ago, I returned to the dating world, but it was very strange for me. Every date seemed promising at the start, but almost every time we got closer, I would say something stupid to ruin it and turn her off. Other times, I would be the one to turn cold and start ignoring her.
It made no sense to me. Why was this happening? I turned my nightly contemplations to the area of love and romance, but for a long time I didn’t have an answer.
One day, out of the blue, the memories came crashing back into my awareness. The last time I really fell for a woman, more than three years ago, and the breakup which brought back all the anger and sadness from my previous bouts of depression. The rage I expressed on the phone, the nasty and vile things I said. My first explorations into Zen, which I thought was a desperate attempt to avoid falling into depression again.
I remembered the first time I became really aware of my anger. I was screaming at her on the phone, when suddenly I realised what I was doing. It was like watching a horror movie, except I was the monster. I continued screaming at her, but inside my head another voice was whispering – What am I doing? This isn’t me! This isn’t me!
Then, I realised the real reason I began looking into the world of psychology and spirituality. I wanted to remove any trace of spitefulness, of anger, of hurtfulness, from inside me. I wanted to show her that the man who screamed and raged wasn’t the real me; I wanted to become worthy of what I saw in her. The whole time, even though my head told me it was over, my heart had been secretly waiting for her to come back.
It was then I finally allowed myself to grieve. I told myself the truth – she was never coming back, and I felt, completely, all the pain from that. I spoke to her internally, in my imagination. I told her how much I missed her, how sorry I was that I hurt her. I let myself cry all the tears I denied. I rode out the guilt and self-hatred at the person I was three years ago. I brought all the pain up and I let it all go at last. In doing so, I decided to let go of her. Over the weeks, as I found relief internally, I saw that my external world began to change as well, almost miraculously.
When we are waiting for something, perhaps there is a feeling – fear, sorrow, or pain – that we are avoiding. Cease the waiting, and explore what arises, feel it completely, and let it go. It might seem scary, but there is a gentle freedom to be found on the other side.
I’ve heard stories of other people. With their heads, they realised that something was never going to happen, but with their hearts, they were still waiting. They waited for a loved one who had passed away to come back and hold them, to tell them that everything was okay now. They waited for someone to come rescue them from their nightmare. They waited for an impossible dream to turn real, for a demon to turn into an angel. The head might know the truth, but the heart just keeps on waiting.
What is it for you? Is it time to finally let it all go?