My Flaming Leg… – Cheryl Brown

I found this on my Facebook newsfeed this morning. It’s from Eckhart Tolle’s official fanpage:

Use whatever challenge comes into your life as a kind of fuel for the flame of consciousness. That is done through surrender to what is. Some people may need more of that than others. If you choose presence in your daily life you may not need the drastic challenges.

I love Eckhart – he was the first author to influence me when I started looking into the relationship between spirituality and physical health. His writings spoke to me directly and profoundly, as they do to his millions of other readers.

But maybe I wasn’t listening long enough, or deeply enough. I think I’ll go back to those books and absorb more of Eckhart’s important messages. But for now, coming across this particular quote came just when I needed it.

You’d think I’d have had enough fuel for my flame of consciousness to be burning brightly for a long time. I don’t remember a time when my life wasn’t filled with challenges – thick and fast, again and again. It had become almost a badge of honour that there was always something for me to deal with. I took pride in being tough and being able to handle whatever life threw at me, and I lurched from crisis to crisis with a strange sense of self-worth.

Of course, we all have challenges – as Eckhart implies, we need them to grow. But the growth can only happen if we recognise the opportunities to brighten our flames of consciousness and to meet them with acceptance and humility.

For a long time, I didn’t. I acknowledged that many other people had far more to deal with than me (true) and that I was very fortunate in lots of ways (also true). But my challenges were there all right. For a long time I focused on the challenges themselves and not the lessons they contained. I spent all my time fire-fighting and never, ever accepting. I had to become sick so that I could finally learn to listen to my body’s messages and to surrender to what is.

As Eckhart says, some people may need more challenges than others. And the Universe (or God, or Divine Spirit, or whatever term is meaningful to you) always delivers what we need. It seems that I needed a bit more, because a few days ago I fell badly and ruptured my Achilles tendon. Now I have a cast on my leg and the doctor has told me that I won’t be able to walk properly for several months.

At first I thought, no, I don’t need this. But Eckhart’s right, of course. I do need this challenge. I need it precisely because of that kind of thinking: the kind of thinking that focuses on the problem, looks on the dark side and misses the flickering of the light that’s always there. What I needed to do was to find the light, concentrate on it and encourage it to grow.

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