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  • Daily Om

The Places We Go

Often it takes something major to wake us up as we struggle to maintain an illusion of control.


In life, most of us want what we have envisioned for ourselves. We have plans and visions, some of them divinely inspired, that we want to see through to completion. We want to be happy, successful, and healthy, all of which are perfectly natural and perfectly human. So when life takes us to places we don’t consciously want to go, we can feel as if something has gone wrong or we must have made a mistake somewhere along the line. But in reality, this is just life’s way of taking us somewhere we need to go for reasons that are deeper than our own understanding. These hard knocks and trials are designed to shed light on our unconscious workings and deepen our life experience.


Often it takes something major to wake us up, to shake us loose from ego’s grip as it struggles to maintain the illusion that it is actually in control. It is loss of control more than anything else that humbles us and enables us to see the big picture. That lack of control reminds us that the key to the universe lies in what we do not know, and that what we do know is a small fraction of the great mystery in which we live. This awareness softens and lightens us, as it helps us release our resistance to what is. Another gift gleaned from going to these seemingly undesirable places is that, in our response to difficulty, we can see all the patterns and unresolved emotional baggage that stand in the way of our unconditional joy. Joy exists within us whether things go our way or not. And when we don’t feel joy, we can still trust that we can find it if we are willing to surrender to the situation and move through it.


We can take our inspiration from any fairy tale that finds its central character lost in a dark wood, frightened and alone. We know that the journey through the wood provides its own kind of beauty and richness. On the other side, we will emerge transformed, lighter and brighter, braver, and more confident for having been through that darkness.

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