Alexander Graham Bell said,”When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
Using basic popular psychology most people are able to master the “not holding on to the past” part of moving on; often after many painful experiences, and wasted time and opportunity. What most people with a spiritual attitude struggle with is the ‘hallway’ they find themselves in when they have decided to make a change. Really the ‘spiritual hallway’ because how to live a spiritual life, and not the best life the ego in a material world can conjure up, isn't always easy or clear.
The first step, of course, is making a decision that something needs to change. That can come from a gut feeling, a subtle life shift, or a virtual push from a significant life event. Regardless of the impetus, the sound the door latch makes when it clicks closed behind you can be a frightening reminder of the change ahead. Once the door closes, there is little sane choice but to focus ahead and move on.
Most people, even those with a spiritual focus, prefer to have a destination in mind. A path that requires blind spiritual faith to navigate in the material world can be particularly unnerving. When trying to follow a spiritual path, many people have a hard time admitting they don't really know where they're headed or how they will get there. It flies in the face of everything society tells you that you must do to achieve success in this world. Facing the pressure not to appear a fool, most people have an answer to give others when they ask where they are headed. If you need such an answer to give others while you wait for your path to be revealed, it's important not to believe yourself. Leave the path open and listen for the guidance that will come.
Once your in the hallway, the trouble often begins when you realize that where you're headed is a long way off; meaning you really can’t see or sense it at all. The door is closed behind you and you're in a hallway. That's all you know. Sometimes it’s dark. Sometimes it seems to go on endlessly. Occasionally there is a crossroads and you have to choose which hallway is your path. This can be a real dilemma. Impulsively choosing and trying a direction is rarely fatal, but using prayer or meditation to seek guidance about which way to go requires a quiet mind, patience and faith. These are qualities that can find in scarce supply when you've been in the hallway for awhile.
There can be windows too. You will likely stop and look. There, just outside this window is another opportunity! If you are truly tired of the hallway and short on faith that you're headed somewhere better, you may be tempted to check to see if the window opens. The first clue that this opportunity is not for you should come from the fact that it’s a window, not a door. But if you're tired of the hallway you won't be the first to convince yourself that this is really where you're meant to be. You see, the window opens easily (once you locate the necessary crowbar), and the drop to the ground outside the window is only 6 feet. Maybe you see someone you know or people doing something you're familiar with through the window. It starts to feel, when you do a lot of self-talk, sort of right. If you let yourself take the window, it will invariably turn out to be a temprary stop, with lots of pain and complications. Before you know it, you're back in the hallway, resigned to look for the door that's truly intended for you.
After climbing out a few windows, you learn and know for a fact that if it’s not a doorway, if you don’t simply glide into this new situation with ease and grace, it’s not your intended path. The window is there to provide a little natural light for the hallway, not as an escape route!
So what to do? Well, it's essential that you stop looking at the hallway simply as a way to get from one place to another as quickly as possible. Maybe if the path is long, it’s because you have some work to do to be ready for your next life port. Maybe your time in the hallway has a purpose beyond the destination. You must ask yourself: what ‘clean up’ work do I have to do? Where and how do I need to grow? How can I strengthen my ties to the Spiritual Truth that is always mine?
If you are able to let go of the destination and focus on those things, the hallway can be some of the most peaceful, spiritual times in your life. Your impatience and your focus on the material world can make that a challenge; but letting go and going to the stillness can help you surmount those challenges. Peace is there even when you're in a hallway.
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Photo credit by Can Atacan: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=29490&...