A common idea among "new age spiritualists" (for those concerned with labels, see my post titled New Age Spirituality) is the idea that everything has a spiritual meaning and a lesson to teach.
The other day I got into a car accident. Nothing major, no one was hurt, and most importantly it was not my fault. The gist of the accident is that I had a blinking yellow light, the other guy had a blinking red light. Getting into an accident like this is more of a hassle then anything else. I have to deal with insurance, take my car in for repair, but in general I didn't let this event get to me. I'm pretty good at not over-reacting to things.
So the man didn't speak English and called who I believe to be his daughter. She comes walking down the road. As we begin to talk, she starts trying to place the blame on me. Without getting into the specifics of everything she said, I get upset with her. I hold back a lot from expressing my shocked-anger at her partly because I tend to internalize and what to process everything before reacting, but also because regardless of what she said saying, I still had the right of way.
A cop comes, insurance is exchanged and we go our separate ways but my interaction with this woman really bothered me and I was still holding onto it. So what's the lesson in all this? I can understand this woman looking out for her father, but knowing and accepting that wasn't enough for me to let the event go.
Other aspects of "new age spirituality" are the ideas of positive thinking, forgiveness and just being and expressing love. While there are huge benefits to this type of mentality, I think it has the potential to lead towards a type of ignorance. Believe me, my mind went to the ideas of forgiveness and of just sending love to the whole situation, but that wasn't getting rid of the energy I was holding onto...and having worked with energy for a while, I know it's not a good thing to just carry around and ignore.
It wasn't until the next day that I realized what the cause of my dis-ease was surrounding the whole event...it was my expectations of the woman. As I saw her walking down the street I felt relieved because here comes someone who will understand the situation, understand traffic laws, shrug at the horrible snow mounds that make it tough to see around corners, be happy everyone is okay and move on. Nope, that's not what I got. Instead I got a woman who was both defensive and aggressive. Looking back at the situation I shouldn't have assumed anything. The only reason I got so upset was because I had expected her to react a certain way.
This is a lesson that I will try to carry with me in the future. How many times do we become sad, or disappointed, or angry because something doesn't happen the way we expected it to? How much of that emotion then carries on with us throughout the rest of the experience, or the rest of the day, or even the rest of our lives? How much dis-ease do we created for ourselves because of assumptions or expectations we place on events or people that are totally outside of ourselves? What an illogical and silly thing to do!
I was able to gain a deeper and true understanding of where the negative energy was coming...not just from this woman but from my expectations of her. Because of this, I can now utilize the hippie concepts of peace and love and express gratitude towards the woman for being the vessel that presented this lesson to me. If I hadn't learned this lesson now, it's possible something more drastic and bold would happen in the future in an attempt to teach me the same lesson...so thank you aggressive lady. :-)
(Disclaimer: In general, I foresee these posts to be mostly spiritual in nature.)