19.  Married to Life

The process of spiritual unfolding has been compared to being "married to life." Do you think this is a good comparison?

I sure do.

Let me start by describing what I think is the prevalent relationship that we can have to life. We dream about how our lives are going to be, or could be. In our minds, we write scripts about where we’re going to be in a month, a year, ten years. The only problem is that nobody else reads our scripts and things happen that prevent our expectations from materializing exactly as planned.

As a result, it’s easy to be disappointed and complain that we haven’t received what we’re entitled to. And we can effortlessly slip into a series of daydreams about an alternate reality that’s more pleasing than we have to face in real life. The result is that we wind up rejecting life as it is and hope to have a life that isn’t our own. We are no longer completely present in our own lives, and we miss it as it passes in front of our eyes. I’ll quote John Lennon again: "Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans."

To me, an essential component of spiritual life is to accept what we have received by the roll of the dice with the smallest amount of complaint, for better or for worse. That doesn’t mean I can’t work to change my circumstances when appropriate, but I have to live my own life, not one that exists only in my imagination. I can’t divorce myself from my life and pick up another. Either I’m going to live the one I have, or it’s just going to pass me by.