If you can’t see what you’re looking for,
see what’s there.
One of the most difficult things for us to accept is that beneath all our dreams and disappointments, we live and breathe in abundance. It is hard when in pain to believe that all we ever need is before us, around us, within us. And yet it is true.
Like leafless trees waiting for morning, something as great and as constant as the Earth holds us up and turns us ever so slowly toward the light. Our task is only to be rooted and patient.
Never was this more painfully true for me than during the aftermath of my first chemo treatment. I was in a Holiday Inn at five in the morning after twenty-four hours of vomiting every twenty minutes. I was slumped on the floor, holding the space of a rib that had been removed three weeks earlier. And my wife—in anger, in panic, in desperation—called out, “Where is God?” And from some unknown place in me, through my pale slouched form, I uttered, “Here…right here.”
The presence of God has never eliminated pain, only made it more bearable. Now, when things don’t go the way I want, I try to kiss what waits beneath all want. Now, when the car breaks down, though I get angry, I try to hear the weeds in the ditch as they point me to the sky. Now, when the vase drops from my hand and shatters, though I whine, I try to see beneath my reflection in the pool of flower water. Now, when hurt, I try to feel my way through the tangle of my very normal reactions into the quiet underlying all experience.
Mysterious as it is—no matter our pain or excitement, our drama or circumstance—all that we could hope for is here. We lack nothing.
The humble challenge of being human is not in agreeing or disputing this truth. That is as fruitless as arguing against gravity. Our humble way, if we can open it, is to root ourselves beneath the thousand dreams and excuses that keep us from the ground we walk. Time and again, we are asked to outlast what we want and hope for, in order to see what’s there. It is enough.
~Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening