I was at home with my mother for 10 days. Being there was not always easy, but for the most part my fears did not materialize. And in return, I experienced many wonderful moments during that time. I was privileged to help Mom connect with her closest friends and family members so that she could say her good byes. I watched her soften and let go of defenses she had built up over a lifetime. And I was able to be with her during her final moments and ease her transition from this life.
This week we will observe Holy Week in Christian tradition and the beginning of Passover in Jewish tradition. Central to both these observances are stories of people going where they do not want to go. Jesus did not want to make the journey to Calvary, and his apostles did not want to go with him. Moses did not want to lead his people out of Egypt and his people were often reluctant to follow him as they travelled the long hard road through the desert. Similarly, in Vedic tradition, the Bhagavad Gita centers on the story of Arjuna’s overcoming his reluctance to go to war in fulfillment of his dharma.
I suspect that these stories are so prevalent in our spiritual literature precisely because they represent situations in which we so often find ourselves. From the small obligations we are asked to attend to in the course of our daily lives to the selfless and sometimes even heroic paths we are called to walk upon at times, our lives are filled with places we do not necessarily want to go and things that we don’t necessarily want to do. How we respond is up to us. Saying no might make us feel happier and safer for awhile but can also keep us locked in the captivity of our own small self-centered world. Saying yes might feel riskier and less comfortable but can ultimately lead us on the path toward growth and liberation.
When in your own life have you been called to go where you did not want to go? How did you answer? Where did your answer lead you? Come explore with us at this Sunday’s sadhana, 4 p.m., Hill House, Ruscombe Community Health.
Our monthly study group meets before sadhana this week, beginning at 2:30 p.m. We are beginning a new book this month, Karma Yoga Book 7: A Guide to Sadhana in Daily Life. Join us at sadhana, study group or both.