So many times in our lives, we come up against situations that we have trouble dealing with, and we have a lot of questions that need answers. Particularly in situations where I have come to a fork in the road, I have realized that it doesn't really matter what I choose. Rather, it only matters that I choose. Once I make a choice, Life will give me an experience that will help me grow, spiritually, and this is all that really matters. Unfortunately, the experiences that help us grow the most are not the ones we remember fondly.
I'd like to quote from The Secret of Love: How to Find Love in Your Life, by Harold Klemp. This particular story is from a talk given by Sri Harold at a worship service at the Temple of ECK in Chanhassen, Minnesota, on January 1, 1995. I was at that service, and I remember laughing at this story.
We don't learn and grow if everything is always smooth and pretty and nice. Sometimes you have to get the other experiences in life. It's necessary, like salt and pepper on your food. It adds spice to life.
You don't want to eat a whole meal of black pepper. You want to use a little bit as a seasoning. But when you say, "I don't want too many of life's hard experiences," you mean that you don't want even a little pepper.
But life gives you a little pepper, anyway.
We're talking about recognizing God's help in your life. This help is like little presents, believe it or not. But usually we don't think of them as presents.
The other day, I got a package in the mail. I brought it home, looked at it, and told my wife, "I know the company. It's in St. Paul. But I don't think I've ordered anything from them."
I didn't want to go through the trouble of opening a package of something I didn't order. I don't like packages. It's like life. You say, "What if it doesn't work? What if it doesn't fit?" Especially through mail order. And especially if I'm not sure I've ordered it.
My order file was in another room, so I went to check it.
The package sat there. Anybody else would rip into it. Most of the time, my wife barely gets a package in the door before she rips it open. Sometimes she actually leaves packages until the next morning, though. But I didn't know what to do with the package. So I told her, "I'm not going to rip into that package because then I'll just have to rewrap it. I'd rather just tear a label off and send it back to them if the sent somebody else's package to me."
The next morning, my wife said, "Did you check on the package?"
I said, "No, I forgot all about it, and I really had. I'm just not that wild about packages. I usually decide to order something after I've looked at the catalog, then put it in my order file for a while. It might stay there for a half a year. Then I call to order. "Do you still carry this item?" I ask. I, after all that time, they still do, I'll order it. I like to feel things out before I get something new. Incorporating anything else into my world is a problem, a complexity. And I like things simple. Life is complicated enough without making it more so.
Finally I called the company because I had nothing in my order file. A customer service representative by the name of John answered. "John," I said, "I have this problem." I explained it to him.
John said, "Give me the invoice number."
I said, "But, John, it's in the package, and I'm not going to open the package until you can tell me if I ordered it."
John said, "OK." He took my name and checked his computer. After a while, he said,"Oh, yes, I've got you on the screen, here."
"Good," I said. "Did I order this?"
"No, you didn't." Very helpful.
"Well," I said, "who did?"
He gave me the name of a friend of mine living in Houston. I said, "Why, I know him. I didn't know he got your catalog."
John sounded a little hurt. He said, "You know, we do ship all around the country."
"Well, of course, I know you do," I said quickly. "It's just that when we have something from home that's internationally known, we take it for granted."
He said, "Yeah."
And so I said, "May I ask what's in the package?" All I have to do is hang up, go to the next room, and rip into it.
"I won't tell you," John said. "It's a present. Opening a present is half the fun."
"Well, thank you very much," I told him.
And John said, "Happy New Year."
And I said, "Happy New Year. Good-bye."
I went and opened the package. I found it was a gift that someone had given me in return for a gift that I had given him.
This is how life's presents come, too, in a sealed package. And when they come, you say, "Wait a minute. I didn't order this. I'm not so sure I want to look inside, because when I get one of these presents from the Holy Spirit – or life – they aren't always filled with sweet things. Sometimes they've been all pepper. So I think, "I'd just rather put it off.
You talk to the Inner Master [your own spiritual guide] the way I called up John, and you say, "What should I do about this situation that's come into my life?"
The Master says, "Go with it, and see what comes of it."
You say, "Well, I'd rather not What's this going to lead to?"
The Master says, "Can't tell you. It's a present."
And then you say, "Well, thanks a lot. Happy New Year to you, too."
*****There's an answer to every question and a solution to every problem, but we have to wrestle with the question a bit, or accept the problem in order to find the answer or come to a solution. When we do this, we find that we have learned something about ourselves or about life, or we have gained a quality such as perseverance, grace under fire, humility, or perhaps how to give service to others. When we come to a crossroads and have to make a decision, we know that we will learn something from it, regardless of which option we choose. All of life's experiences are for unfoldment of Soul. :-)