Tag Archives: belief

Just Because You Don’t Believe Something Doesn’t Mean It’s Not True

grieving greeks

This post was inspired by this article :  Everything Doesn't Happen for a Reason

This article recently came across my facebook feed, posted by a sincere friend, who resonated with it as Truth because it agreed with her preconceptions. Just because something aligns with our existing beliefs, doesn't make it true. It's not my intent to denigrate the poster or the author of this article, but it provides such a perfect example of the pervasive confusion around these points that it would seem a shame to miss this opportunity for explication.

First, let me begin by saying: clearly the people featured in this article are dealing with acute loss. I respect that and honor that each person has the right to navigate that territory in their own way, to the best of their abilities, with the resources they have available in each moment.  I wish all involved in this (and similar) circumstances, peace and blessings.  I am certainly not seeking to score points off the aggrieved.

So let us separate the people from the perspectives and philosophies being expressed in this article and focus on the latter.

Because You Don't Believe Something Doesn't Mean It's Not True

Of course the inverse is also true.  Just because I believe something, doesn't mean that it is true.  To assess the Truth of any belief, one must first understand it clearly.  My concern about arguments like the ones in this article is that they purport to refute the validity of the statement - everything happens for a reason - without actually understanding what it means or exploring its basis in the Physics of Consciousness.

Although it is beyond the scope of a single post to build a comprehensive case for the validity of this belief, I will say that my support of it arises from deep engagement with the human energy field and the dynamics of human consciousness.  Many people are not conversant with these territories and therefore have a hard time accurately wrapping their minds around this statement. They look for surface evidence to refute it, but the truth of this statement lies in the deeper levels of energy and consciousness.  To understand it, we have to go deeper.

Teasing Out Truth From the Tangle

As often happens in discussions on this topic, in this article Truth is tangled up with emotionalism and conflation of key concepts which create distortions .  Let's tease out a couple of threads and explore them. Of course, it isn't possible to exhaustively cover all that could be explored about this in a single blog post, but I'll have a go at it nonetheless.

Truth Requires Content, Context & Timing

Believe me, I understand that the statement - everything happens for a reason - can often be disruptive rather than helpful, particularly when the person saying it is not in right alignment.

The author writes:

I’m listening to a man tell a story. A woman he knows was in a devastating car accident; her life shattered in an instant. She now lives in a state of near-permanent pain; a paraplegic; many of her hopes stolen. He tells of how she had been a mess before the accident, but that the tragedy had engendered positive changes in her life. That she was, as a result of this devastation, living a wonderful life. And then he utters the words. The words that are responsible for nothing less than emotional, spiritual and psychological violence: Everything happens for a reason. That this was something that had to happen in order for her to grow. That's the kind of bullshit that destroys lives. And it is categorically untrue.

Let us begin with the seemingly obvious fact that Truth is not simply a matter of content.  If we are to wield Truth impeccably, we cannot simply blurt it out. Even the keenest Truth needs to be delivered with respect for the timing and circumstances involved.  Actually the keener the Truth, the more incisive it can be.  Keen Truth must be handled with the delicacy and precision of a surgeon and be delivered only when there is an authentic opening for healing or transformation. Truth touches our raw places and invites them to rise to a higher understanding. Even the purest Truth, when spoken without respect for timing and circumstances, will find no fertile ground on which to thrive.  Sometimes a person doesn't have the resources or capacity to recognize or respond to Truth. In these circumstances, offering untimely Truth simply pokes painful places without affording an avenue for healing or transformation. In such a circumstance, the best is silence.

When Truth Becomes a Platitude

Something can be true, yet, if it is not spoken from Truth, it has no power to uplift or transform.  It becomes merely a platitude. I cannot vouch for the man cited in this article, but all too often I have witnessed people spouting spiritual aphorisms with meager comprehension of what they actually mean or how they actually operate. Often they only half believe what they are saying; they wish it to be so more than actually knowing it to be true. At such times, the speaker might be seeking to convince themselves as much as the other person. They have a half-assed understanding of what the statement even means, usually a highly over-simplified and overly literal interpretation of a complex metaphysical dynamic, which they have accepted on the say-so of one of Oprah Winfrey's special guests.

When we speak Truth from Truth, our words carry resonant wisdom from our spirit-core.  If the content, context and timing are aligned, our words ring with Truth and have the power to sound Truth within the listener. This is the Truth that can set us free.

Acknowledging a "Reason" Doesn't Require Blind Trust

Unfortunately, when people make a statement such as everything happens for a reason, too often a kind of chaotic haze swirls around them as they speak. Instead of elucidating Truth, they are verbally gesturing towards a belief that all of this is beyond our ken as humans and can never be truly comprehended.  They may be advocating abdication to a "higher order" which cannot be known, but must be blindly trusted.  This is often coupled with ideations that God has a mysterious plan and is "doing this to us" for some unknown, inexplicable purpose. If this is one's understanding, it would be pretty difficult not to cast God in the role of the villain in some kind of cosmic torture porn. If I thought that this is how Creator Mind operated, I too would be hostile to this statement ... or to God directly.

Fortunately, this is not how it works. Every experience is finely crafted to offer us (and everyone involved) an evolutionary opportunity - a chance to become more authentically ourselves. This is not just random, arbitrary, scattershot growth, but growth which is exquisitely appropriate for our soul's journey - the best available context for necessary progression. With the proper skills and mindful presence, when the timing and context is right, it is possible to understand the content:  in this case - the "reason" that something is happening.  The data we seek is coded in our energy field.  I say this from direct, extensive experience of working with the human energy field. It is not being done to you by some outside agency, it is being shaped by the dynamics in your own energy field and your consciousness. There is so much more that can be said about this, but there is only so much that can be encapsulated in a single post. Have no fear, much of this blog will be devoted to exploring these dynamics.

A Lost Opportunity is Still an Opportunity

The author writes:

 I hate to break it to you, but although devastation can lead to growth, it often doesn't. The reality is that it often destroys lives.

With every occurrence in our lives, we are offering ourselves and each other an evolutionary opportunity.  Failure to actualize this opportunity doesn't negate its presence. No one guarantees that we will be able to make the most of these situations.  However, refusal to recognize them as opportunities greatly increases the likelihood that we will not reap the gift embedded in every situation.  Convincing ourselves that our experiences are random and without meaning, is not only fallacious, but disempowering.  When we throw up our hands and bemoan life's caprices, we miscast ourselves as hapless victims, rather than the trustworthy creators that we truly are.   When we greet each experience with a willingness to find and actualize the opportunity it affords, we can meet each moment with ever-increasing hope, grace, trust and love.  The alternative is to condemn ourselves, unnecessarily, to chronic confusion and perpetual pain -- not to mention a significant slowing of our evolutionary progress.

The author writes:

I now live an extraordinary life. I've been deeply blessed by the opportunities I've had and the radically unconventional life I've built for myself. Yet even with that said, I'm hardly being facetious when I say that loss has not in and of itself made me a better person. In fact, in many ways it's hardened me. While so much loss has made me acutely aware and empathetic of the pains of others, it has made me more insular and predisposed to hide. I have a more cynical view of human nature, and a greater impatience with those who are unfamiliar with what loss does to people. Above all, I've been left with a pervasive survivor’s guilt that has haunted me all my life. This guilt is really the genesis of my hiding, self-sabotage and brokenness.

I feel for the writer's predicament, but this argument does not disprove the presence of opportunity.  It is simply proof of a work still in progress. If we are unable to actualize opportunities, we often retreat and entrench, intensifying conditions rather than healing them.  Fortunately, even this does not need to be a permanent state.  With awareness, we can learn to revisit these hardened dynamics and illuminate them with healing.  Stay with it ... this too shall pass. If not in this life, surely in the ones to come.

Our Assumptions About Grief are Not Absolutes

One of the biggest impediments to mindful presence is pain.  Although our experiences are, in fact, happening for a reason, does that mean we that we are instantly inclined to fling our arms wide to welcome pain and grief?  Of course, not.  We reflexively recoil from pain.  Circumstances like these touch upon and exacerbate already existing pain within, forcing it to the surface in the hope that we can at last confront and transform it.  We are called to healing - and this can be a painful process.

The author writes:

So I’m going to repeat a few words I’ve uttered countless times; words so powerful and honest they tear at the hubris of every jackass who participates in the debasing of the grieving: Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried. 

When I read this statement, it appears to me to conflate 2 related, but distinct, concepts:

  1. The Need to Honor Our Feelings & Our Process
    I agree that when we are in pain, we need to allow ourselves to be present with what is arising.  We should not suppress or prematurely rush to remedy it.  We need to engage it in a way that is sustainable and authentic to us.  However, when we are aware of the energetic dynamics of grief and empowered with healing wisdom, it is possible to traverse this territory with greater grace and ease.
  2. Belief in the Inevitable & Eternal Presence of Grief
    The author writes:  Grief is woven into the fabric of the human experience.  Contrary to widely held belief, grief and pain are not inevitable responses to death or adversity.  It may be a long-standing human habit, but, as we evolve as a species, we begin to discover that it is not an absolute requirement of the human condition. It should not be enshrined as an inevitable or eternal sacred cow.  If it is present, it should not be avoided -- it should be acknowledged and supported. Although grief can seem to engulf us, it actually arises from finite dynamics in our energy field. If we didn't have these dynamics, we could greet life's transitions with peace and presence. Most of us have not yet attained this state of being, so grief and pain are common responses.

    Fortunately, these are energetic dynamics and as such are ultimately mutable. If we know how to support transformation of those parts of us that are triggered into grief, we can can eventually move through grief to a state of peace.  There is no prescribed timetable for this.  Our tempos are our own. The key here is to understand that true healing is not only available, but is a profound way to honor what has happened by reaping the fullest harvest from this painful event. While it may not be possible to "fix" the initial circumstances, the impact of the event can be changed, healed.  It is possible to emerge stronger and more resilient from even our darkest passages.

    To convince ourselves that emotional pain and grief is eternal and immutable is one of the greatest injustices that human beings can perpetrate upon themselves or others.  Some even go farther, insisting that perpetually nursing one's grief is virtuous proof of love for those who have departed.  Pain is never proof of love.  If you don't understand that statement, you have more to learn about the true nature of love.  Don't worry, we all have a lot to learn on that frontier.

Anger & Distortion - Is There a Connection?

I introduce this point, not to pick at the author, but simply as a cautionary note.  Anger arises from disrupted dynamics in our consciousness.  Where we have disruptions, there is a strong likelihood of distortion. If something triggers us into an angry rant, it is almost guaranteed that we have yet to come to true clarity regarding the situation. A raw area of our being has been triggered and is inviting us to heal.  If our conclusions arise from pain and anger, we probably have not yet arrived at Truth.

In the End I Concur

The insights I shared above are for your own awareness, not meant to be thrust upon others at the moment of their extremis.

The author writes.

When a person is devastated by grief, the last thing they need is advice. Their world has been shattered. This means that the act of inviting someone—anyone—into their world is an act of great risk. To try and fix or rationalize or wash away their pain only deepens their terror.  Instead, the most powerful thing you can do is acknowledge. Literally say the words: I acknowledge your pain. I am here with you ... There is no greater act than acknowledgment. And acknowledgment requires no training, no special skills, no expertise. It only requires the willingness to be present with a wounded soul, and to stay present, as long as is necessary. Be there. Only be there. Do not leave when you feel uncomfortable or when you feel like you're not doing anything. In fact, it is when you feel uncomfortable and like you're not doing anything that you must stay. Because it is in those places—in the shadows of horror we rarely allow ourselves to enter—where the beginnings of healing are found. This healing is found when we have others who are willing to enter that space alongside us. Every grieving person on earth needs these people.

This is sound counsel. Although the capacity to be present actually is a skill and requires practice to develop, it is a beautiful baseline to cultivate.  This same power of presence will, in time, empower you to be present with your own painful experiences -- to step back, breathe and discover the gift you are offering yourself from the depths of your consciousness. As we come to truly know the beauty -- and yes, genius! - of our own creations, we can be present more peacefully with the painful creations  of others.  We don't need to preach to them, but our awareness will prevent us from co-suffering which tends to reinforce, not ease, another's pain. When the content, context and timing align, there will be occasions when it will be appropriate to share Truth from Truth.  When it is right aligned and welcome, we can offer Truth which engenders hope, uplifts and helps others to heal and transform.  Until that time, I concur with this author - presence is a truly powerful and loving choice.

article by Ananaia O'Leary