Last Wednesday was a beautiful experience. I spent most of the day higher than a kite. It wasn’t drug or alcohol induced, it was a real high – the euphoria that accompanies finding yourself on a higher spiritual plane than the one to which you are accustomed.
There is still something in me that would like to claim that it was the result of deep meditation or some other spiritual exercise, but that wasn’t the case. I was engaged in a mundane task and just seemed to sort of wake up to a beautiful new view of everything around me.
The previous day, I had installed a new type of eaves trough on my house. The job hadn’t gone very well and by the end of the day, I realized that I’d done it wrong and needed more material.
Wednesday, I set about dismantling that which I’d done the previous day.
Now, I believe that most people would agree that such an activity is a sure-fire way to put a person in a growly mood; they would excuse said person for being thoroughly disagreeable. My family was like that. If dad had to redo a job, we’d all run for cover. We never wondered whether or not his reaction would be different this time. We just accepted the idea that a bad mood was part of having to do a job over. I’m certain he never questioned whether or not the negative reaction he experienced was inescapable either. Why should he? That was the experience of his father and his grand father. Without realizing it, each generation had taught the next one that disagreeable and redoing went together.
When I say that “We” accepted the idea of a bad mood being part of redoing a job, I’m not being entirely accurate. I know that my step mother and little sisters felt that the reaction was inescapable, but I felt differently. I didn’t meet my father until I was sixteen. By then, my set of core values or my internal map of reality or whatever you want to call it was fairly well established. I was able to see that a lot of his reactions didn’t serve him well; they caused him and those around him pain. As a result of watching the detrimental effect his temper had on his relationships, I determined to control my reactions so that they wouldn’t cause others discomfort. As the years went on, I discovered that, through an act of will, I could change my outward reactions to things. I didn’t have to be miserable to other people when experiencing inner turmoil. In that, I became a real oddball among the males of my clan because Burnhams have been notable for their bad tempers since the days of yore. Note that I didn’t say I had escaped the temper reaction. It was still there, I had just learned that yielding to it wouldn’t serve me well, so I didn’t let it rule. I confess to spending a lot of time considering how mad I was going to let myself get over this or that and thinking that it would be nice to just not get annoyed in the first place.
On Wednesday, I realized that it had happened! After taking down the initial installation of the eaves trough, I was assembling the pieces (per the instructions, this time) and realized that I wasn’t having my usual inner dialogue about annoyance. I wasn’t annoyed that I had installed it wrong the day before, that I was having to do it again or any of that. The fact that I’d had to undo the previous day’s labour wasn’t good nor bad. The fact that I hadn’t consulted the instructions wasn’t a failure on my part. It all just was. So, I was ok with it being that way.
Somewhere along the line, my set of core values or my internal map of reality had been changed so that I no longer saw the necessity of having to redo a job as something that should cause me to feel mad or annoyed. Even though my parents (without consciously doing so) had wired my psyche to think that way, the wiring had been changed. In this very pedestrian matter, the cycle of insanity had been broken. My parents didn’t have to think that redoing something should cause them discomfort, but they did. Their parents had taught them to think that way because their grand parents had also taught their children to think that way.
Every time I see this cycle of insanity being broken in myself – every time I realize that I’m not doomed to repeat the dysfunctional behavior of those that came before me, I’m overjoyed to realize that this age of Aquarius stuff is really happening! I can see that, as a species, we are becoming less and less dysfunctional. As Arjuna Ardagh puts it “People just like you are waking up and changing the world.” But, that’s the part I find weird. It’s just like waking up. I didn’t work on this issue of the way I reacted to redoing a job, I just woke up and found myself thinking differently. This isn’t an isolated instance. It has been happening with increasing frequency since I began to learn, just after my wife’s death, the true nature of my spiritual journey. As a lifelong fundamentalist – both secular and religious – I have always thought that there is no free lunch. But, that’s not the way it works. Even though it is difficult for me to accept, the fact is that the greatest thing that has ever happened to me happens without my having to work for it! That seems to be the nature of this Aquarius deal, just like the physical universe itself is the ultimate free lunch (everything comes from nothing), so is the process of it’s evolution (relax and let it happen).