When we look at the world around us, it's easy to see there is beauty in nature, love among family, compassion in times of disaster; in truth, there are wonderful things all around us. But, when we look at the world that we've made, what do we see there?
If we're at all honest, our tendency is to avert our eyes from what we see upon the canvas of our consciousness.
As a rule, especially when things aren't going that well, the first thing we see is that there's some missing color, something or someone is in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing; now (it seems) it's our job to fix what we see so that we won't feel the pain, the emptiness, or the loneliness we do when we look at it. And though we've yet to prove it to ourselves, we believe we have the power to change the world that we see around us into one that will no longer trouble us. Here's why it can't be done... at least not the way we're trying to go about it.
The world that we look out upon and so often see turned upside down... is within us. That person we don't like running into -- that strained relationship, those unwanted moments -- none of it is outside of us.
Our feelings about the world that we see, with all its confusing colors and schemes, are reflections of our own internal life. We meet and see ourselves wherever we go -- nothing else. That's such an important lesson, and it leads us to an even more important question: What if whatever we see in the world that makes us feel confined or sorrowful, that has us angry, anxious or rushing around is because of what we are?
If we're fortunate, there comes a certain point where we recognize that the world of our making has become so wearisome that we can no longer afford to refuse what we know we see. We have played ourselves out... taking all the colors that our false nature can muster, throwing them up on the canvas of life in every possible combination, and no matter what we do, we can't get our picture to be pretty and stay that way.
In such a moment of clarity, if we truly want a new self, to be reborn, our task is to reach a quiet state, and to make a simple admission: "God, I don't like the world I've made. Can you help me?"
God is just waiting to be asked to wipe your canvas clean. And it isn't that you are given a certain strength that then makes you a believer in yourself as someone who can create great things. The new "strength" that you feel flowing into you as you enter into relationship with the Divine is you leaving behind the level where you are identified with the weakness that made you a victim of everything you encountered, including your own thoughts. So, it's not growth the way you imagine seeing yourself growing.
Real spiritual growth is a kind of passing -- of the old giving way to the new because you can no longer be what you once were. Learning to surrender yourself begins with learning to see the need to surrender yourself. The rest takes care of itself.