The popular sports expression, "bring it," implies someone showing what he/she is capable of. It's akin to saying "show me what you've got!" Now if we're applying it to life, we may amend the expression a bit and ask, "What do you bring?" Yeah, it's not as sexy as "Bring it!" but it sure does have a lot of meaning and it's a question worth asking...
Earlier in the week I attended a delightful dharma talk/meditation. The topic was relationship. The discussion centered around the ways in which we use relationship as an excuse or an obstacle to living a spiritual life. For example, we tell ourselves (and others) that life would be better/we'd have more peace/we'd be more fulfilled and happy if our relationship was better. Then there's the whole, "If I wasn't in a relationship, I would have more time to be spiritual" excuse. The teacher raised the point that seems to be missing in when embroiled in these types of thoughts -- relationships are perfect opportunities for spiritual practice. When met with grumblings about this, the teacher spoke of the importance of how you are in the relationship.
This goes back to the question, what do you bring? If you approach it as such, isn't it possible that any relationship can be spiritual or sacred, an opportunity to be more spiritual as opposed to an obstacle? The teacher made the point that relationships in and of themselves aren't these sacred fonts of peace and ease and fulfillment and soul mate joy. Instead, it's what you bring to the relationship that makes it so.
Interestingly enough, I got to live this idea out in the world hours before attending this dharma talk. I had to do something "unpleasant." It involved paperwork and mulitple forms of IDs and lots o' red tape. One wouldn't normally describe it as a sacred or spiritual experience. When I first started out, I was feeling a bit cranky about it. I realized that I needed a document that I didn't have and there were a few additional steps in the process that I hadn't anticipated (which made for a long day). Somewhere in the middle of my crankiness, I changed my approach. I decided to have fun with the process and hope for the best.
I chatted happily with the folks I was dealing with. I laughed. I smiled. I became grateful, for I learned a whole lot about what I needed to do and knew that if I had to do the process again, I would have all of the information I needed the second time around. Interestingly enough, after bringing some laughter, love, and gratitude to the process, it smoothed out and by the end of the day, I had accomplished even more than I had set out to do.
Like the teacher said -- the process that I was going through wasn't necessarily a happy, spiritual one (and the initial "bring it on" attitude I had actually made me a bit aggressive in my pursuit of completing the paperwork) but when I showed up in a different way and approached the situation as an information-finding adventure, the whole experience changed.
Here are two pictures that, as my friend and I like to say, give one an ear callus (meaning that after things are turned on their ear enough, you get a callus -- it's all about shifting one's perspective and looking at things in an entirely different way):
Practicing yoga is normally considered something sacred. Of course if you simply go through the motions or you focus on only your form, it becomes mundane. It's what you bring to the yoga mat that makes the difference.
These two ladies are showing us we always have a choice in regards to how we're showing up and what we're bringing to our life and the lives of others. We can focus on obstacles, quit, make excuses, let circumstances define us or we can bring our heart, our spirit and our courage to life. I don't know about you, but I'd prefer the latter to being able to execute a perfect yoga posture.
These days I'm asking myself the question posed in the subject of this post quite often. It's up to me whether or not I want to make my relationships and my experiences mundane or something more.
Are you turning something into an obstacle or are you seeing it for the opportunity it is?