My dear friends, this is Thomas, your spiritual friend who wants to help you live a mystical lifestyle. Being a mystic impacts everything you do. It is an approach to life and living that determines how we face the difficult situations in life. Fortunately, we can alleviate much of our suffering by mindful living and avoiding self-inflicted pain. Even so, trouble comes to everyone, which is why it’s important to learn how mystics handle difficult situations in life.
The Most Common Difficult Situations in Life
The most common difficult situations people face are:
- Moving from one stage of life to the next,
- Failures and moral failings,
- Changing friendships,
- Leaving a job,
- Injury and sickness,
- Getting older,
- Disasters that cause you to lose everything, and
- The death of a loved one.
Here are some other everyday difficult situations in life we face as well.
- Political turmoil,
- Systematic injustice,
- Fears of homelessness,
- Addictions, and
- Chronic pain.
Why Do We Face Difficult Situations in Life?
When trouble comes, many people begin asking “why” questions. It is understandable to want answers because it is often the first step toward eliminating our problems. Unfortunately, the answers to many of life’s difficulties are elusive, and we find there are no easy answers. Further, the answers to many of life’s problems never really satisfy. It seems that for every solution we receive, another question arises. Here are some common explanations for why we face difficult situations in life.
- Random chance,
- The consequences of our actions,
- The consequences of being with a person who did things that impacted us,
- God, the Universe, Divine plans, the devil, etc.
If you are like me, none of these answers, though true, are very satisfying. That’s because there is a difference between knowing why some crisis something happened versus understanding why it had to happen to you. For example, if you feel bad, a doctor may explain your condition, but that may do little to solve the very real problems you face in the future.
Sometimes when we ask “why” questions, we presume we can make sense of a confusing and complex world if only someone gives us good reasons for why things happen as they do. But the world is complex and rarely explained in simple cause and effect terms. In our more honest moments, we must admit that we hardly understand our reasons for doing what we do, much less the reasons why others behave as they do. Most events and things have a complexity well beyond the bounds of our understanding. Even our best scientists cannot conclusively explain the cause and effect mechanisms of medicine, economics, or social issues.
Finally, when we ask “why,” often it is because we assume the role of an “innocent victim.” Trouble can make us feel victimized. While it is true that people and unfortunate events victimize people, it is also true that choosing to remain in victimhood delays one’s hope of a more successful future.
The Inescapable Truth
Difficult situations in life happen to all. At every stage in life, there will be some version of pain and suffering unique to that stage. No one escapes. Every spiritual teacher you meet has multiple stories of tragedy and disappointment. But mystics know our sufferings can teach important lessons that we could not learn in any other way. And because our Soul cares more for its growth and development than physical comfort, we will experience lesson after lesson.
Difficulties bring suffering and require us to find some way of managing it. It appears we only have two choices. We can either face our trial as a victim of circumstance or learn the lessons set before us. We ask the question, If you must suffer, why not determine to walk through it with courage and class and with your head held up?
The Mystical Way of Handling Difficult Situations in Life
While we must admit there is no “one size fits all” answer to handling difficult life situations, there are some general mystical approaches we recommend.
Allow Yourself to Grieve
The first thing we recommend is that you allow yourself to grieve. When difficult situations in life arise, you are going to feel pain–this is especially true for empathic spiritual people. In their haste to move past a painful condition, some people ignore their pain, which only worsens things. Just because you ignore the pain doesn’t mean it isn’t stored in your body and won’t express itself in some other way. Just as you would not ignore a broken bone, so you should not ignore something that causes you emotional pain and suffering. Seek professional help as needed.
We recommend that you learn to identify your feelings and needs. Find a list of emotions and needs on the internet and print the lists out. Look over the list and circle those emotions that best describe your feelings. Do the same for your list of needs. Spend time processing each of those feelings and needs. Allow yourself to acknowledge and fully feel each of these emotions. Take some time to imagine and visualize each of the needs you identified as being met.
Grief takes time, and you are no less spiritual by taking the time you need to process your pain. No doubt, there will be people, including yourself, you must forgive. Forgiveness takes time as well. Even though you may claim to have forgiven someone, this doesn’t mean it’s true. Your body and spirit will decide when your forgiveness work is complete. Remember, you are no less spiritual because you struggle with forgiveness. Grief and forgiveness take time.
Beware the Stories of the Mind
When trouble comes, the mind creates stories to explain why we are experiencing trouble. It will tell you that other people and situations are the villains and that you are an unjust victim. Whether your difficult situation involves a job, boss, lover, friend, or situation, the mind stands ready to create a good story that explains your problem. Not only do we allow ourselves to believe these stories, but we also tell them to others and try to get them to believe them. As mystics, we caution against believing the stories generated by your mind because they are rarely accurate. The mind has a way of twisting the facts and rationalizing personal beliefs and behaviors.
Suffering as a Spiritual Process
At the heart of the mystical approach to handling difficult situations in life is an acknowledgment that suffering is an essential spiritual tool to help us grow. From a metaphysical perspective, pain is a part of the growth process that advances us further along the God Continuum. The fire of pain and sorrow refines our outdated notions and understandings of good, bad, right, and wrong. As we experience suffering, we can better extend compassion to others who suffer. In our book Escaping Boot Camp Earth, we explain that pain is one of the quickest ways to give our Soul the experiences it needs to move forward to its next stage of growth. Here are some other things mystics recommend.
See the Divine in Difficult Situations
In the midst of a trial, we may feel hurt and victimized. But Mystics look for Divine fingerprints in all situations. Though it takes faith, we need to trust that the ultimate good of our trials is growth and development. We cannot see beyond the present moment and circumstances, but the Soul knows the importance of learning hard lessons. Recognize that all the answers are within us. All you need to do is be quiet and listen. Stop thinking so much. When you get into that place of peace, the understanding will come to you.
Mystics know that difficult situations in life require us to listen to the wisdom of our True Nature instead of the stories generated by our minds. The mind creates misery while the heart creates deliverance.Thomas
Turn to Your Soul for Wisdom and Guidance
Instead of relying upon what your mind says is the best way of handling the difficult situations of life, we recommend each person seek the wisdom and counsel of the Soul. This wisdom and guidance will come as you sit quietly with your questions and await your Soul’s wisdom. The wisdom that comes from your Soul will not be vengeful, accusatory, or unkind. It may require you to make difficult decisions, such as leaving a harmful person or situation, but your wisdom will never suggest harming another.
Your View of the Situation is Everything
When trouble comes, we often believe the worst has befallen us. It is hard to believe that what seems terrible today might lead to a much better living situation tomorrow. If you listen to your mind, you’ll see the difficulties in your life as terrible and meaningless. Your mind will feed you with negative things about yourself and other people.
When I was a young man, I was fired from a job that I found challenging to do. At the time, I was very angry with the person who did this to me and the circumstances that led up to it. But looking back these years later, I realized that I wouldn’t have found my life’s work if I had continued to work at that old job. Though I wouldn’t say I liked it at the time, it was good that I didn’t remain in that job.
Don’t Add Suffering to Your Pain.
We’ve already talked about how our minds create stories and scenarios about our difficult situations. The more involved we get in these stories, the more suffering we add to our painful trial. If we fall prey to our fears and let our emotions get the best of us, our minds can create a pit of misery that may take years to overcome.
Simplify as Much as Possible
We sometimes have a complicated view of spirituality and see ourselves as more advanced than we are. Instead of ramping everything up in moments of trial, it’s better to simplify. Return to the simple prayers of your childhood, such as Lord, please help me! Make your schedule lighter and more manageable. Limit your friends to those you know you can trust. Give yourself time to heal, and don’t jump from one problem to the next. Keep your life simple and let the storms pass.
Don’t Live in Denial.
When the divorce came to me, I remember not knowing what I should do. But one day, a very helpful friend asked, “Do you have a lawyer?” And I said, “No.” The friend said, “Well, you have to get a lawyer now.” The point is, when you’re in denial, you may not be doing the things you need to get through the crisis. Sometimes you need to make an appointment with the doctor. Maybe you need to plan your will or make final arrangements. Possibly you need to have a difficult conversation you’ve been putting off. Perhaps you need to get your things and leave. In a difficult situation, don’t remain passive. Do what must be done.
Allow Yourself to Hope in the Future
When you’re going through a hard time, sometimes you think it will never get better. But it will—storms pass. Things change. In time, things work out. New doors open, and new opportunities come. We must become comfortable with being uncomfortable. But being uncomfortable doesn’t mean we can’t put our hope in the future and know that Soul is taking care of us and that on a different level, you know why all this is happening. Remind yourself that when the trial is over, you will help those who’ve experienced the same thing that you have. Determine that there are not going to be any wasted tears. Every tear you shed today will turn into joy in the future as you help another person go through some of the same trials that you’re going through.
Though difficult situations in life come to all, the mystic recognizes that these moments are the tools we need for spiritual growth. We can either listen to the stories generated by our minds that portray us as victims or listen to the wisdom of our True Nature.
For more information, please read the following:
- Life 101: When Bad Things Happen to Good People
- Mastering Your Life Lessons
- Holy Discontent: The First Door to Awakening
Featured Image (Man Sitting on Sofa (unsplash.com) by Kelly Sikkema