The challenge of our time
FRANCOIS BOUDERLIQUE shares with us his journey of discovering meaning behind the challenge of our time and how he finds the Gift in any challenge.
The state of our world is in front of us. The stages of grief described by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross can help us to identify the category in which we stand in front of our 21st century challenge of a global civilization on the verge of collapse.
I continue my life, business as usual, like a consumer animal, considering the problem to be ‘out there’. After all, how could I be responsible for such a global crisis?
I live in an illusion.
What a mess! It is all because of them: politicians, multinationals, wrong governance by the 1% holding the strings. Whether I am an extreme ecological activist, a conspiracy theorist or I believe that the masses have not enough cognitive capacity, it doesn’t matter; I am angry and I voice my conviction to the world, less than my actions. People will hopefully wake up. Revolution is coming!
I live in the past.
I am aware of the predicament in which we are stuck. I recognize some of my compulsive consumer behaviors as partly responsible for the situation. I am stuck in a lifestyle from which I would like to extricate myself. But what can I do? I alternate between moments of guilt and thrill, I compromise very often my inner values to cope with the world and my desire as I want it to be.
I live sometimes in the past and project myself from time to time into the future when I am in pain.
Why bother with anything? It is already a mess and it is getting worse. I indulge in thinking about dark times and doomsday, for which all have to prepare. I am a pessimist, a cynic and I feel lonely with no hope for a better world or a better ‘me’.
I live in the dark.
I can’t fight so I had better prepare for it. I am pragmatic and willing to see reality as it is. I am aware of the ‘unit’ of my impact in this world. I am willing to do my part of the job, considering each and every responsibility within my circle of influence.
I live here and now.
I worked for 20 years in the banking industry. In 2014, when I decided to leave my job with one of the top megabanks in Europe, I went through all these stages:
Denial of what I was selling to my customer for years,
Anger after the 2008 crisis when I understood the whole set-up of financial institutions to suck-up profits,
Bargaining to keep my huge salary,
Falling slowly into depression after being a smalltime whistle-blower for one year within my company, and finally
Accepting the fact that I should quit the industry and find a conducive lifestyle more suited to my values.
Looking back at this process of loss, whether of a job, a marriage or a close family member, I noticed that there is a fundamental principle in the process of introspection in our lives:
the greatest gifts are always found in the darkest places.
It is in the midst of inevitable changes that we can clear our vision and allow ourselves to move forward for a kind of rebirth. The bigger the challenge, the greater its potential gift. We understand what was holding us back and we are on the path of authenticity, being more and more honest to our true Self.
When I stepped into creating a resilient community after my so-called successful corporate career, I had much more time to meditate on the core values residing in my heart, contrasting with the philosophical mind constructs with which I had filled up my brain during many years. I realized that those stages of loss or grief were steps into my consciousness, and that to cross each stage required a subtle destruction of my own web, culture, education, belief etc.
How does it work?
As we clear the stages, a new consciousness brings us towards a reality in resonance with our inner authentic nature.
We feel liberated from a prison that we created for ourselves, compromising for years with a value-system that we borrowed from outside ourselves.
Because we have acknowledged the fact that we are our ultimate defect, a big compromising machine, we enter a state of gratitude for the gift of liberation.
Suddenly we begin to see the spiritual nature of things, as the possibility to expand our consciousness opens in a grand avenue.
If we are ready to see life as a wheel of change,
where our old vision dies on a regular basis,
we will welcome the birth of new visions,
new levels of awareness, and new states of consciousness.
When we successfully clear all the stages of grief, we start asking ourselves: what’s next? Life becomes thrilling again if we welcome any of its natural challenges.
If there is a gift, there must be a giver. And who is the giver? I to myself! So the source is infinite, as I will always be motivated to grant myself more gifts.
If we are ready to see life as a wheel of change, where our old vision dies on a regular basis, we will welcome the birth of new visions, new levels of awareness, and new states of consciousness.
Through the practice of meditation, I observe that I accelerate the process of these 5 stages. Keeping in view my inner resonance, any discomfort is recognized as a denial. I can almost jump systematically toward acceptance and bring a new awareness each time, accessing a new level of consciousness. My life becomes joyful as every time I anticipate a gift waiting for me. A gift that I can offer to myself only through acceptance.
At this stage, I experience that I am on-and-off in a state of surrender towards whatever is coming towards me. I surrender both to life and to myself. In contrast to the western interpretation of surrender as ‘acceptance of defeat’, I now understand surrender as an opportunity for true victory, an opportunity to find the Gift of insight that waits hidden in the darkest corners of life’s experiences.
Finding Gifts is the key that has created all great men and women. One of my favorite quotes from a great saint, Ram Chandra from India, is, “Really, the path nearest to your Self is the path nearest to God.”
So friends, let’s keep our lives light and joyful, in a permanent quest for the Gifts that come our way.
Article by FRANCOIS BOUDERLIQUE
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