Will I succeed? It’s a logical question as we consider how to live fully, to thrive and prosper.
At times, we experience steady progress as we move in the direction of fulfilling our goals and thriving along the way. Living in balance and having resources to meet our needs flows effortlessly. With discernment and regular spiritual practice to keep our heart, mind, and motives clear, we move ahead with the winning combination of personal effort and divine grace. Abundance is at hand. We meet the right people at the right time who are drawn to be part of things unfolding harmoniously. Life is good!
Then, there are those times when we approach what is before us with similar discernment and preparation, but lo and behold, right in the pathway of successful completion of our worthy goal stands an obstacle.
Sometimes it’s clear that the obstacle is minor and temporary. In that case, we can simply wait patiently or take necessary steps to move it aside. But there are also obstacles that appear formidable. They seem unmovable, and dealing with them can be challenging.
In this situation, I have seen people do all sorts of things to try to find their way through. Some will give up on their project or dream, fold up their energy and intention, and let the obstacle declare for them that it “wasn’t meant to be.” Others will pray and wait, or contemplate, inwardly seeking to discover any connection to the obstacle in their own consciousness. Some will try tools — create an affirmation, offer a chant, or engage in a ritual action that signifies the process of moving through the barrier. Still others will double down their efforts or reach out and ask for help.
Any method we choose to apply can potentially be useful, if it also facilitates a change in consciousness. Any lasting success at transforming obstacles before us must come from within. Recognizing the inner component and connection is invaluable; it’s a natural preventative against similar challenges appearing later. Without discerning the subtle cause of the obstacle or our connection to it, we may move through it only to meet it again in another form just down the road. We also run the risk of missing any gift of awakening it brings.
Making Inner Adjustments
Since life is one reality and we are not separate from it, we are empowered to move through obstacles by first making any useful inner adjustments. We often work so hard on the outside, literally wearing ourselves out trying to change things, when it’s much more efficient to do the inner work first. This allows us to be clear about what action needs to be taken, if any. Sometimes the obstacle simply falls away in the light of insight and a change of consciousness.
From the spiritual perspective, however formidable an obstacle may appear, the operant word is appear. At the heart of our ability to get beyond obstacles is the deeper understanding that conditions are always changing. Not one of them is permanent.
Yoga philosophy refers to conditions — which include everything in manifest creation, everything in nature — as maya, or illusion. Conditions are real, but they are constantly changing and have no independent Ultimate Reality. They appear, move, change, disappear, reappear — a constant dance of energy in motion.
Obstacles become more difficult to deal with if we see them as permanent and give them a solidity that they do not have. As the Buddha said, “All things arise and pass away. But the awakened awake forever.”
Toolkit for Dealing with Obstacles
We learn to see through obstacles by remembering their impermanence, their ephemeral nature. That’s the first great insight in our tool kit for dealing with obstacles.
The second is remembering that divine resources are always available to meet real needs because life itself continually moves in the direction of thriving, prospering, and fulfilling its higher purposes. With clear understanding and with faith — which is opening to the flow of life’s abundant resources — no obstacle can long prevail.
Not only can no obstacle long prevail on the path of awakening to our full potential, there is no such thing as failure. How can that be so? Failure only comes into play when we see success as a final product.
The True Goal is Learning, Growing, Awakening, and Serving Life
True thriving is not a result and does not depend on meeting goals, even though we set them and pursue them with intentionality and vigor. Living from the inside out, all the way to thriving is thriving. Working toward goals is always in the spirit of learning, growing, awakening, and serving life along the way.
Anything and everything that occurs is grist for the mill for thriving in accordance with spiritual principles. Dealing with obstacles is a vibrant part of it. How else would we learn and grow? How else could greater abundance arise without breaking down the limiting barriers of our expectations?
The promises that no effort is ever wasted and no obstacle can long prevail do not mean there will be no losses, setbacks, or difficulties. On the contrary, they imply that success always includes them. When we learn how to have a more expansive view of victory, we find that seeming reverses, setbacks, and obstacles are all integral to our highest success.
Copyright ©2018 by Ellen Grace O’Brian.
Reprinted with permission from New World Library
The Jewel of Abundance: Finding Prosperity through the Ancient Wisdom of Yoga
by Ellen Grace O’Brian
Although millions of Westerners practice yoga simply for its health benefits, the philosophy and wisdom behind the multifaceted discipline have far more to offer. In The Jewel of Abundance, award-winning author and Kriya Yoga teacher Ellen Grace O’Brian reveals an overlooked aspect of yoga: its powerful teachings on prosperity. She draws upon the ancient Vedic tradition of yoga philosophy and practice and shows how spirituality and earthly success can complement each other, leading to realization of the higher Self.
About the Author
Ellen Grace O’Brian is the author of The Jewel of Abundance and director of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment in San Jose, CA. Ellen is a yogacharya (an esteemed yoga teacher), a radio host, and an award-winning poet who weaves poetry into her teachings on spiritual matters, pointing to the mystical experience beyond words and thought. Ordained by a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, she has been teaching Kriya Yoga philosophy and practice nationally and internationally for over three decades. Visit her online at www.ellengraceobrian.com.
Video with Ellen Grace O'Brian