Recently, I was feeling highly frustrated by seemingly having hit yet another brick wall in my spiritual path. The questions of what spiritual direction(s) I should be going, what actions I should be taking, what decisions I should be making, led me to wonder: am I trying to follow a path solely of my own making, or am I allowing myself to be guided by God’s path for me? I asked myself: If I were God, who wanted to take me spiritually from a beginning point “A” to some end point “Z” (“Z” being known only to God), how would I do that? What would a smart project plan (i.e. spiritual path) look like?
Putting on my 40-years project planner hat, I opted to play God for a moment. Over a period of quiet reflection, I retroactively extracted what God’s project plan for my spiritual development has appeared to be thus far. The Plan for God’s intended purpose and role for me. The Plan to fulfill the contract we made together when I was born. I wrote down the spiritual chronology of my current journey begun twenty years ago. Not in great detail or exhaustive text, but just simply the bullet points of the major phases, turning points and significant milestones in this journey. When I was finished, the logical flow and appropriate steps that have been taken – i.e. my spiritual path – were laid out in front of me. Seeing the overall sensibility underpinning the seeming chaos of where I have been does not tell me where this path is to end. But it does remind me that my life is not just a series of random events, as it often feels day-to-day. That God does have a general plan, a framework, for me to act within, with a lot of options for adjustment, and a lot of blanks for me to fill in.
It is when I start to think I am all alone in this journey, and my direction and outcomes are totally on me to make happen, that my life usually gets into upheaval and frustration. But seeing these individual links that connect the chain that is my life brings me back into synchronicity with the Universe’s co-role in guiding my life. I have much spiritual work yet to do, but The Plan tells me, in gradual increments, what work is to be done and where to find it. Which rocks in the stream are solid and will support my feet as I move across the dangerous rushing water to the other shore, versus which are the deceptive, unstable rocks that that will toss me into that water. As Lao-Tsu teaches us, the challenge is to know when to act on our own, when to react to the Universe’s guidance, and when to just sit quietly and wait patiently for clarity. In the end, the result of our life is still our series of choices.
I invite you to pursue a similar exercise of retroactive planning for yourself. From whatever starting point is appropriate, to examine the major phases of your spiritual and/or secular journey and their milestones. Perhaps the phases will stand alone as independent links scattered about the landscape, without the cohesion or connection that forms a strong, secure chain. If so, we might surmise that one has been only on his/her own plan, without that larger cohesion that comes from God’s planning.
But if we see an overall orderliness of our life within broad, connected linkages, even the most difficult moments of our daily chaos can settle quietly into their proper perspective. Thereby, we relearn Trust. Trust that our life will proceed within Purpose if we are humble and willing enough to live within God’s Plan that envelops us. By seeing the connectedness of how we have lived, we can then walk into our future with the confident understanding that only some of our life is about what we plan to do. Some of it is about what God is planning on our behalf. Working together. That is The Plan. Whether we are willing to give over some of our ego and illusion of sole control, and instead partner with The Plan, is our only real choice.
© 2014 Randy Bell www.OurSpiritualWay.blogspot.com