In his book, Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, wrote, "I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them."
These words speak to my heart right now. Perhaps they speak to yours as well. Loving the questions. Loving what is exactly as it is. Loving life no matter what shows up.
These are spiritual practices and they sound SO good on paper.
Living them is the challenging part. Keep our arms open even when something shoots a pain right into our hearts. Staying put and not running or fighting. This is the real stuff of the spiritual path--being with what is and trusting it is exactly what we need right now.
Of course, when we look back at what's led us to where we are, it somehow makes sense. We can connect the dots and fits the pieces into the puzzles now. In the midst of uncertainty, however, life feels so messy and at times, terrifying. We don't know what's next. Perhaps something you're holding onto right now is slipping through your fingers and you cannot stop it. What to do? Spiritual masters would tell you to loosen your grip or just let go.
Not so easy, though, is it?
Letting go of something, be it a person, job, place, project or situation--without any guarantees of something better--calls upon our courage, our faith and our trust in life to take care of us. Personally, I've put this to the test, more times than I can count, and each time, I've been shown, that life has my back, and that I will, indeed, land on my feet. Granted, it sometimes comes at the 11th hour, right when I've begun to lose hope. But, somehow, it always comes.
So why, then, do those waves of doubt still wash over me?
Why do I think that this time I might fall or fail or be let down? I think it comes down to a few things: our biological wiring, the overall collective way of viewing things which often reinforces fear, and also our own habitual ways of thinking. Now, I say this with the greatest amount of compassion for myself and others: old habits die hard. By that I mean, fearful thinking in the midst of uncertainty comes from a very old, primal and very, very deep groove inside of us.
Thank goodness, most of us have a multitude of experiences of being brave. In fact, all of our lives we've had to cultivate the courage to continue to grow and learn and connect. Just showing up requires courage, some days more than others. But when things are uncertain and rocky, it can be really tough. At those times, we have to be especially kind and loving to ourselves.
Ultimately, it is love that saves us, love that helps us drop down into that calm place and love that moves us to reach out for support, love that inspires us to spend time in nature, love that connects us with our dear friend, love that nourishes us with comfort and love that carries us through the stormy weather until we can find dry land.
If you're in the middle of transition or uncertainty, know you're not alone. There are many of us out here, and we can buoy each other up with our kindness and thoughtfulness.
Patience says Rilke, the answers will come at the right time. In the meantime, love the questions, stay with them while you wrap yourself in that warm blanket of love.