NEARLY FELL TO MY DEATH ON A ROCK CLIMB"
a seminar participant recounted. "My buddy and I were crossing
a ravine, and I slipped. Before I knew it, I had fallen 25 feet,
and I was hanging perilously over a bottomless canyon. I called
to my partner for help. He made a few strides down, but then
became frightened and ventured no further. Suddenly I noticed
a rock I could grab onto which stabilized me. From that place
I spied another rock, and then another, which I grabbed until
I worked my way back to safety.
"Since that day I have harbored tremendous anger at my partner
for deserting me. How could anyone be so cruel?"
I told the fellow, "You have
been misinvesting your energy about the incident. While you
have been embroiled in upset that your friend deserted you,
you are overlooking the fact that God did not desert you."
"How is that?" he asked.
"God showed you the rock that
gave you your way back home."
Like the rock climber, you may
confuse an avenue for your good with the source of our good.
You may think that a certain person will be your relationship
partner, a particular job will provide your livelihood, or a
certain doctor will be your healer. Yet each of these people
is but one channel among many through which your good may arrive.
Your true source is Spirit, or God, and that source is capable
of working through any of infinite number of conduits.
Years ago I received an invitation
to speak at a prestigious conference sponsored by an organization
that put on large events around the country. I was excited to
participate, since this meant high profile exposure, tremendous
book sales, and a likely speaking slot at their other conferences.
A few days later I received another letter apologizing that
they could not have me after all; they had hired me to replace
someone else, and the company could not get out of their contract
with her. The upshot was that she was in and I was out.
I grew angry and depressed. Here
a golden opportunity had slipped through my fingers. When I
told a client the story, she asked me, "Is there a gift
in this for you?"
That bugged me even more. (There
is nothing more annoying than when one of your students uses
the truth you taught them against you.) Yet irked as I felt,
she was right. There had to be a gift there somewhere.
When I thought about it, I realized
that this organization was not the source of my good. God, Spirit,
the universe, or whatever you want to call the Intelligence
behind the big picture, was the source of my good. This company
was but one channel. I was capable of creating a prosperous,
joyful livelihood without this company's events. When
I realized that, I was free. I felt far more empowered than
if I had presented at the event. The conference offered me a
sense of financial freedom; recognizing that I did not need
this group to offer me spiritual freedom.
Subsequently my career developed
in many wonderful ways and I lost nothing from not participating
in those programs. Eventually I did some other very rewarding
projects with that company. So everything ultimately worked
out perfectly, and any angst and stress I generated as a result
of that cancellation was useless and meaningless.
Steve Jobs, cofounder and initial
CEO of Apple Computers, was fired by the Apple board of directors
when Jobs had an ideological conflict with another fellow, and
the board sided with the other guy. Then, as Jobs recounts,
Microsoft copied Apple's motif into Windows and went on
to dominate the computer software industry. Although Jobs was
tempted to run away, he hung in there and founded Pixar Animation,
which developed the film Toy Story, and went on to revolutionize
the computer-generated graphics industry for Hollywood. Later
Jobs was reinstated as Apple's CEO. "At the time,
I thought that getting fired from Apple was the worst thing
that ever happened to me," Jobs notes. "Now I realize
it was the best."
A creative spirit has access
to a huge bank of resources, capable of being delivered through
many more avenues than the human mind can understand. Even in
their scariest moments, God did not desert the rock climber,
Steve Jobs, or anyone who has ever gone through a dark night
of the soul. To the contrary, God stood side by side with them,
quietly illuminating a new and better way. If you feel deserted,
alone, or hopeless, you are not. There is a rock or an apple
Alan Cohen, 2005