July 14, 2022, Grapevine- The Republic of France celebrated the day, 233 years ago, when the Nation’s most-hated prison, La Bastille, was stormed by a mob, as the people were fed up with the dissembling of Louis-Auguste (Louis XVI) and what they perceived as the oppressive policies of the nobility, acting in concert with the Church. The chaos that swirled around that nation, both before and after the trials and executions of Louis and his wife, Marie Antoinette, led only to the rise of the equally autocratic, if more effective in leadership, Napoleon Bonaparte.
The life of a nation, like the lives of individuals, families and communities, depends upon a delicate mix of certitude and flexibility in the face of change. The former without the latter can easily turn into rigidity and oppressiveness. The latter, without the former can be just more wishy-washy foolishness, changing with the wind and tides.
The great Spiritual Teachers have each told us to be discerning, thoughtful and motivated by love. This requires a lot of work, daily and long-term, to maintain both one’s individual life plan and to support loved ones in theirs. My own certitude actually depends on flexibility. I have seen people I love dearly end up feeling broken and hopeless, because their way was not chosen over the highway; because things did not proceed according to what they, alone, deemed best -especially for others. It could have been the same in my life, had I not accepted the concepts of listening to even my harshest critics and gleaning the best of ideas and beliefs they espoused, which actually turned matters around, on a few occasions.
While none of us is spared the grief and pain that accompany life on this plane of existence, neither is that life solely a matter of gritting one’s teeth and enduring excruciating pain, for decades on end. There are opportunities and there is always a way out of the rubble-even if it takes a lot of digging.