To the left I see your goodness. To the right I see your mercy. And lookin’ around me all I see is your grace all the days of my life.
Life can be a mystery. We experience a barrage of daily events, some good, some bad, and some in-between. And in the midst of this daily onslaught of experiences we try subconsciously to process life’s events so we can understand who we are and where we’re going. So we can feel safe.
This inner processing can take one of two directions: the pessimist approach which tells us people are bad, the world is out to get me, and the worst is just waiting to happen. Or we can take the optimist approach: people are good at their core, I’m going to succeed in life no matter what obstacles I face, and the best is yet to come.
This internal struggle between a negative versus a positive view of life is often an unconscious way we try to process life intellectually, an attempt to try to control the world around us through our thinking. By focusing our thoughts in either a negative or positive direction, we think we can force life and other people to move in a certain way so we can get exactly what we expected: pure joy or pure misery.
But the reality is, we can’t control life or people no matter how hard we try. We can’t force positive or negative things to happen simply through our thinking. In fact, we can’t even control our thinking at times.
Instead, life unfolds. And each of us is part of life’s creative evolving process.
Perhaps then a more authentic way of processing life is simply to be open to the good around us; taking a deep breath, a step back and asking ourselves, if only for a moment, what good surrounds me today?
This opening to the good around me gives us a new lens from which to view our lives and the world; a lens which sees life as a slow and patient unfolding of God’s creative and dynamic love.
Instead of trying to process and control life through out thoughts, we simply receive it. We stop the dervish whirling in our heads and observe life from the reality of the goodness we find all around us.
We breathe in and feel the air in our lungs noticing how it sustains our life with little effort on our part; the blood pumps within our veins and through our heart automatically without our even having to consider being involved in the process; the sun shines; the birds sing; the grass grows; people care for each other in ordinary and simple ways; and all of life is filled with this creative energy.
Perhaps the beauty of being open to the goodness around us is that we don’t have to understand the goodness, we don’t need to control it or cling to it. We simply open ourselves up by noticing the simple surprises all around us, becoming fully aware of the beauty that surrounds us.
Game Plan: Try being open to the goodness that surrounds you today. Open your heart. Take five minutes and write down every good thing that comes to mind or which you observe. Notice how your perspective changes; how being aware of the goodness around you frees you from the dervish mind; how it moves you into a deeper place in your heart, a place that’s life giving.