Monday, April 5, 2010
Looking For the Good
In my work as a clinical health educator at a large HMO, I don't teach spiritual ideas because that wouldn't be appropriate. But it's interesting to me how they slip in, because truth is truth. Teaching the stress management program is one place where I notice that this happens quite a bit. I mention in that program how our outlook is shaped by how we label things, and the physiological effects of positive thinking. I touch on the practice of cognitive restructuring, which is really just a clinical term for becoming more aware of what your automatic thoughts are and choosing to replace negative ones with more productive ones. And as I've noticed time and time again in classes, choosing to look for the good can work for people who are experiencing an overload of normal daily stressors.
But what about handling the real crises, such as loss of livelihood, marital separation, or illness or death of a loved one? Can we somehow find good in that? In my own life, when I've hit those times, I most definitely have not been able to see anything positive about what was happening. But looking back, I realize that I was able to accept that I would get through, and some day be able to recognize the gift in the experience. Maybe even when we can't find the good in the moment, we can look instead for that place of knowing that the best and highest is taking place, even if we can't see how just then. I got through one very difficult point in my life quite a few years back, with the very frequent prayer, "Let the best happen for all of us." At the time I didn't know how it could, but it did.
I love the Unity belief that everything that happens to us is an answer to a prayer. Everything. All that we call to ourselves is an answered prayer, or will help us release something that keeps us from manifesting a prayer. In either case, our heart's desire can never be thwarted. The soul's purpose is to always be moving us to the light.
In the worst of times, loss of a job can mean finding inner resources or outward support that we never dreamed existed. The separation of a couple can mean an opportunity to recreate a more joyful and healthy relationship, or to move beyond one that no longer serves both people's highest expression. And love never dies, but changes, and then finds itself again.
In every moment of our lives, the perfection that we embody is working to illuminate our path. All we need do is trust that it is there for us. When we look for the good in what we experience, we affirm the limitless creative power of the God within.
May this tool be a blessing. . .