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Feeling Anxious? It Could Be a Good Thing.



I spoke with a longtime friend who was experiencing unexplained angst. He couldn't put his finger on why he had such feelings but believed it had to do with uncertainty around the future, the polarized political environment, cultural divisions, and the financial edginess that seems to be in the air for some folks. Of course, none of these phenomena can cause us to feel a certain way. Our responses are our own and stem from our perceptions of what's happening in our lives and our world.


Most people focus on their individual lives and the immediate challenges they face in front of them, and don’t pay a lot of attention to much else. Nevertheless, my friend is on to something worth further exploration. We are going through one of contemporary history's most significant paradigm shifts. If we see through a spiritual lens, all the seeming challenges show up for a reason – to bring us back to "living originally."


 The idea of living originally came to mind as I read a book by Robert Brumet titled “Living Originally." Brumet reminds us that to live originally is to connect to our authentic selves. For that to happen, we don't have to add anything to us; instead, we must remove anything that is blocking or hindering the realization of who we are.


Authentic living often requires an uncomfortable transformation process to remove what hinders us from living from that authentic self. If we view the challenges we face from this perspective, we realize our experiences are not against us; they have a greater purpose – to accelerate our collective transformation.


There is an ancient story about a sculptor who decided to create a piece of art to place in front of an ashram. He wanted to do this to show his appreciation for how being part of the sacred place had changed his life. The artist found a large stone he wanted to use to create his envisioned sculpture. However, the stone was so big that he needed to break it in half. As the sculptor started his work, the half of the stone he was sculpting yelled out, "Don't touch me!" and "Leave me alone!" Being a peaceful man, the sculptor stopped working on that stone and started sculpting the other half of the broken stone.


Because the stone he was working on was so tall, he had to stand on the other stone to reach the top of it. After many weeks of work, the sculptor created a magnificent statue. It was so beautiful that people came from miles away to admire it. Because of its uniqueness, the ashram leaders decided the sculpture was worthy of a special blessing.


So, a ceremony occurred in which those present poured special oil over the sculpture, lit incense around it, and essentially christened it. At the end of the day, when the ceremony was over, the part of the unsculpted stone said to the sculpted stone, "As the sculptor chiseled you, he stood on my back like some throwaway while you were honored with oil and incense and pomp and circumstance; what gives?"


The sculpted piece responded, "You would not let the sculptor work on you; you would not allow the sculptor to change you. So, you have been merely a stepping stone while the sculptor transformed me into something through which beauty shines forth". 


This story reminds us that we may be a stepping stone for the false notions of life unless we are willing to go through our transformation process. Transformation occurs when we are eager to practice universal spiritual principles that help us go beyond the limited identities we may have accepted. The great Michelangelo said, "Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it." 


Each of us has a magnificent something already within us. As we live originally, we bring out more and more of that magnificence. That being the case, we can see my friend's angst as merely a sign that we are in the midst of a transformation; Spirit is sculpting us, and something extraordinary is about to be revealed.

 

Peace and Blessings,

James

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