I don’t know if it’s because of the so-called inverted matrix we dwell in on Planet Earth, but it seems entirely normal to try to “get rid of the bad,” which then allows for the good. In my experience, for example, imagining I have abundant resources to enrich life is difficult if there’s debt to pay off before funding “frivolous” things like travel.
I’m finding the same thing is true with visualizing a life of joyful, easy mobility from the space of impaired mobility. Although I dutifully attempt to imagine myself getting reacquainted with the neighborhood during lengthy, invigorating walks, my mind says, “but but but” like a faulty motor boat. But first I have to get rid of the pain. But first I have to regain strength. But first I have to be able to walk normally.
I have yet to find the spiritual bromide that will flip me from, “I have to fix the bad,” to “Ignore the bad, everything is abundant and I’m filled with well-being.” My imagination is pretty darn good, but I’m not sure anyone other than a young child has a good enough imagination (and the blessing of illogic) to make that leap.
Perhaps it’s a matter of faith that bringing the desired ideal into being will naturally and automatically render any “bad” moot. Perhaps my plodding, one-step-at-a-time brain needs to let go of its insistence that before joyfulness and abundance can saturate life, the way must be cleared of perceived barriers.
I could take my cue from the natural world, where instinct provides unfailing guidance. So what does my instinct, my intuition, tell me about shifting my attitude? Is it possible to channel a half-remembered Zen-Master-ancestor long enough to know that all is well, no matter how it seems?
My sustenance has always come through the outdoors. Walking along quiet suburban streets and through the nearby parks, my eyes are drawn to the endless variety and colors of trees, shrubbery, and the tiny wildflowers on the verge of the road.
I only need to open the back door and step outside to experience Nature’s variety. It’s not comfortable going for long walks, so I don’t. But nothing prevents me from pulling a patio chair into the sun and settling, eyes closed and face lifted to the warmth, noticing the chattering birds and the wind through the trees as soon as the distraction of the visual is removed.
Simply being outside without a to-do list or engaging in a practice—I don’t have to do tai chi just because I “should”—feels like my key. A simple key, sturdy and shiny, ready to open the door to the simple, shiny, unvarnished essence of being.
The sun beckons, the birds are rustling through the bushes, the wind flutters the dusty avocado leaves. All I have to do is step outside and let go of worrying about the “bad.” The good awaits.