Inquiry: Life shouldn’t prevent me from doing what I want

Life shouldn’t prevent me from doing what I want. (I have been sick for about a week now, and missed most of a sesshin I had been looking forward to, may miss a great Jungian workshop this weekend, and possibly – although unlikely – a Breema retreat the next, not to speak of the things I had hoped to do during the week.)

  1. True?
    Well, no. It is what is happening.

    • Where is my evidence for why life should not prevent me from doing what I want?
      I can’t find any, outside of my own stories about it. It seems that it is life’s job to prevent me from doing what I want, at least sometimes.
  2. Sure?
  3. What happens when I believe that thought?
    • I go into a victim role. Feel like a victim. Tell myself stories that show I am a victim. I wanted to do the sesshin, I wanted to go to the Jung workshop, and now I can’t.
    • I see what is going on. How I attach to a particular view, and filter everything through it as if that one view somehow – magically, miraculously – is the “right” one, has some privileged position over the infinity of other possible views on the situation.
    • I experience separation. Loneliness. Abandoned by life, myself. (Even if it is just a taste of it.)
    • How do I treat others? I feel ashamed. I got torpedoed by this illness, and now can’t do what I had planned to do. I feel that I should be able to do it even if I am sick. (Another statement for inquiry.)
    • When did I first have that thought? Probably early on, as a kid, when I was sick and couldn’t do something I had been looking forward to. Or more in general, when I wanted to do something but couldn’t because of my parents’ decision, or other circumstances.
    • What do I get to avoid because of that belief? I get to avoid what is happening here and now, and to appreciate what is here and now. I get to avoid seeing that I am not really a victim of circumstances. I get to avoid doing the things I had planned to do, which – in some ways – is a relief.
    • What am I not able to appreciate when I hold onto that thought? Life, as it is, as it shows up. What I am able to do because I am not doing what I planned to do. What opens up for me instead. (Like doing this inquiry, which is pretty good.)
  4. Who would I be without that belief?
    • Receptive. Appreciating life as it is here now. Curious. Interested in what is better in how it turned out.
  5. Turnarounds.
    • Life should prevent me from doing what I want.
      • Yes, that one is definitely true. It is life’s job to prevent me from doing what I want, sometimes. It is just how this universe is set up. Life is doing its own business, showing up the way it does, and sometimes it – inevitably – clashes with my plans. It is bound to happen.
      • When it happens, it helps me see the stories I cling to, such as this one. It invites me to take them to inquiry and see what is more true for me than the initial belief. In that way, life clashing with my plans is a kind and friendly situation.
      • It helps me mature. And to see that this is the universal human condition. The universal conditions for all beings. Even our cat experiences this, daily, and is sometimes distressed by it.
      • In this case, a part of me is actually relieved to not have to do the sesshin and the other things. Being sick, in bed, is a vacation from all those activities and obligations.
      • Also in this case, I get to do something else. I get to stay in bed. Listen to podcasts. Watch a couple of movies. Rest. Stay with what is, here now. Not such a bad trade.
    • Life should help me in doing what I want.
      • Well, also true. I can find support in life as it is, which is life supporting me in what I want.
      • (More here later.)
    • I shouldn’t prevent me from doing what I want.
      • True. I sometimes stop myself even if I don’t have to. I could have done the sesshin, even if I had a persistent cough.
      • My beliefs are ultimately what prevents me from doing what I want.
      • My beliefs prevent me from seeing the ways I want what is. (And inquiry helps me see the ways I do want what is.)
    • I should prevent myself from doing what I want.
      • Well, I do. It is what sometimes happens.
      • It helps me see my beliefs, and take them to inquiry.
      • It helps me find myself in this universal human condition, of sometimes preventing myself from doing what I want. I get to experience it from the inside. It opens my heart to myself and others.

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