As we concluded in Part 1, it is absolutely impossible to disappoint someone who wasn’t expecting anything. Yet, we’re encouraged to have specific goals and expectations. Of course, there’s no guarantee that our expectations will be fulfilled. But we’re told to expect our desires to manifest anyway.
Am I saying that we should live life on Planet Earth without expectations? No. I am saying that when you understand who you are and where you are—and trust that Divine wisdom is greater than your own—disappointments will no longer be part of your earthly experience.
Is that so?
In “A New Earth,” Eckhart Tolle tells a fascinating story about a popular Japanese spiritual master who was accused of having a sexual relationship with his next-door neighbor’s pregnant teenage daughter. When confronted by the angry parents, the master merely responded, “Is that so?”
As word spread about the pregnancy, he instantly became a pariah in the town. No one would speak to him or seek his spiritual counsel. When the baby was born, the mother’s parents thrust the child at the master.
The Zen master had lovingly cared for the baby for about a year when the young mother confessed: The baby’s father was not the Zen master; it was her boyfriend, the young man who worked in the butcher shop.
How do you think the master responded when the contrite neighbors came to his home to ask for their grandchild? He responded as he did to the false accusation: “Is that so?”
Most of us could not imagine ourselves reacting that way. How in the world could he?
Clearly, the Zen master had viewed the girl’s false accusation and his year of parenting her child from the Balcony of Life: It merely another human drama, and he chose not to emotionally invest in it. Instead, he trusted that everything was happening as it should, no matter how goofy it looked on the surface, and he aligned with it.
Going with the flow…
In other words, he went with the flow. He trusted that everything was in Divine Order, and was intended to serve him rather than hurt him. That’s impossible to do when we view ourselves as mortal flesh and bone.
We have been taught to think of ourselves as bodies, under the watchful eye of a God who lives in the far reaches of outer space. When hurtful things happen, and God doesn’t intervene, it reinforces our isolation and vulnerability.
It’s our belief in this capricious, vindictive Outer Space God and our investment in specific outcomes that create our heartbreak, disappointment, and situational depression. We wrap ourselves snugly in the cloak of a victim, carefully fastening every painful button and tightening the disappointment belt around our waists. We are so focused on our pain that we miss the opportunities that we created for ourselves. Doors that shut are merely alerting us that we’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Disappointing people and situations are your puppets
How can a soul experience or practice compassion, generosity, service or even forgiveness and unconditional love unless it writes scenes and characters into its life script that prompt these actions?
From the Balcony of Life, I can see that situations and people who disappoint are working for me; they’re not doing anything to me—even though it doesn’t appear that way to my body costume, Pat Arnold. Situations that didn’t turn out the way Pat wanted are turning out the way I scripted them.
Imagine a place that’s akin to Central Casting in Hollywood: Karma-Creator Central. They warehouse thoughtless individuals who do things to others that they would not want done to them. For them, it’s sport, and they think they’re winning the game. Poor dears.
As souls, we cast these clueless karma-creators in our dramas. We direct them to help us align our bodies and souls, trust the wisdom of the Omnipresent God, and embrace everything that happens as a divinely designed growth opportunity.
Bad actors who disappoint us are merely our puppets. They thought they were being self-serving. In reality, they were serving us, while delaying their own soul’s inner peace. We should appreciate their sacrifice to fulfill our desire to align with the Divine Within.
As Tolle said of the Zen master: “He’s nobody’s victim. His is so completely at one with what happens that what happens has no power over him anymore. Only if you resist what happens are you at the mercy of what happens, and the world will determine your happiness and unhappiness.”
Looking through your immortal eyes
Think about the last thing that happened that you perceived as a disappointment. On sheets of paper or pages on your computer, write:
“When I see this scene from the human side of me, it looks like this… and I feel like this…”
Now, pretend that you’re not on the stage in the middle of the drama. See yourself as an immortal soul sitting in the balcony of Earth’s stage, looking at a drama that you wrote, cast and directed as an opportunity to learn or grow in some specific way. On a separate sheet or page, write:
“When I, as an immortal soul temporarily wearing a human body, see this scene, it looks like this… and I feel like this…”
Explore the powerful question we discussed in Part 1: Why did I create this? How does it serve me?
- Are my feelings about that scene the same when I’m on stage as when I’m in the balcony?
- Am I still angry or hurt?
- Am I still emotionally invested or detached?
- What was the growth opportunity that I, as soul, created for myself?
- If there were any bad actors, did they perform well as my puppets?