Peter and I were walking our dog down a country road last night. It was a balmy spring evening, and the light was still glowing. We were talking about a mutual friend, and I was lamenting the difficulties she was facing. He said, ‘ Can’t you say ‘that’ to her?’ and I said of course not. He asked why not, and I answered that she hadn’t asked for my help. Suddenly ‘a piece’ became clear.
If we are not willing or able to ask for help, we don’t get it. The biggest part of growth into consciousness is the ego realizing it doesn’t have all the answers. As long as it thinks it does, no outside help will be forthcoming. There has to be a ‘death’ of the ego, in which the ego must realize it is subservient to the Self. When it does that, and humbly asks for help, help will be forthcoming from the universe in many various ways, and through many various helpers.
Once the ego has died to itself, those voices and helpers will appear in many different guises – it could be animals, people, dreams, events, or synchronistic experiences. The ways of the One are many. But until that ego death has happened, the ego-personality will be ruled by envy, competitiveness, jealousy, power drives, petty comparisons and judgments.
This is the equivalent of hell. In fact, it may be the only hell. There is probably nothing worse, because it spoils all relationships, and turns our loved ones away from us. Those who care for us have to stand on the sidelines and watch helplessly, because you have not asked for help. You are still in that little egoic bubble that imprisons you and isolates you from the contact and deep relationship you crave.
Ah life! It is like this big 2 by 4 that keeps hitting you over the head until you get sick of your suffering, and humble yourself enough to ask the Self for help. Sometimes we do that in a moment of desperation, but the next day when we wake up, the ego is firmly back in place, confident about the new day….and we start the self-torment all over again.
You do that enough times, and hopefully you begin to recognize the pattern. I say hopefully, because it doesn’t necessarily happen in this lifetime. Moreover, it is not as if the answer is in the form of a sentence or two or three. We have to open ourselves to a deep process of inquiry, and begin the journey. Then the value of suffering becomes apparent. Whoever made any fundamental changes in the way they do their life without having had to suffer in some way?
If your life is going very well, you will probably just continue as you are. It is when we begin to wake up to ourselves, that all our prior pain and suffering takes on a deeper meaning and begins to light the way. No one ever said the journey into consciousness was easy, but radical change is possible.