The most important thing to remember when I am caught in a perseveration of thought/feeling is that there is nothing wrong with this struggle.

Struggle does not make make me a “bad” person; it makes me a real person.

It is natural to want to avoid pain. It comes as no surprise that, when I feel vulnerable, I want to find some way to make myself feel safe. It is understandable that I should try to control the universe to make life turn out the way I wish it would. But, it is also futile.

I am not in control of most of the circumstances of my life. Certainly, I can never control another person’s life or the world we inhabit. My attempts to wrestle life under my control only cause greater pain for me and harm for all people and for the world in which we live.

Letting go is not a strategy for getting rid of the thought/feeling or situation about which I am perseverating. Letting go does not end my struggle. By letting go I merely express my willingness to be in this struggle. I do not let go of the struggle; I let go of my need for my life to be different than it is. I accept the tension, discomfort, pain, uncertainty, and confusion of my reality as it is.

There is conflict in life. There will always be conflict in life. It does not matter how smart, accomplished, strong, or materially wealthy I may be, I will encounter situations that are not to my liking. As soon as I get one circumstance operating the way I think it should, another “trouble” will emerge just around the corner. If I cannot hold the inevitable reality of conflict, peace will always be illusive.

As I hold the unresolved tension and messiness of life my deepest being opens to the possibility of an experience of that mysterious presence, warmth, and love that is the reality at the heart of all life.

It is the very existence of tension that creates the field in which it becomes possible for me to be ushered into a renewed awareness of the presence of God. Any determination to collapse the tension and force a resolution to my unease, confusion, doubt, insecurity, and pain only closes my heart to that experience of love for which I most deeply long.

By trying to get rid of the struggle, I actually diminish the opportunities for my heart to open to the deeper fuller reality of God at work in all of life.

It was not a mistake that Jesus said,

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.(Matthew 5:3).

He was not being mean or polemical when he taught,

Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven.(Matthew 19:23)

The “poor in spirit” are those who know they are powerless to control the circumstances of their lives. They are the ones who know that all people live in the tension of opposites between what is and what they might hope would be/ should be/ could be.

The “rich person” is the one who has managed to avoid facing the reality of conflict in life. “The rich person” believes in his self-sufficiency. He is protected from the struggle by his ability to succeed on the material, physical, psychological plane of the human enterprise.

But, as for “the poor in spirit” so for “the rich person”, the time inevitably comes when we are all faced with our powerlessness. We will all meet a problem or situation we cannot fix. At that moment, we either break down or break open.

If we have practiced holding the tensions of life, the situations we find painful will always break us open to a deeper awareness of truth and beauty in life. We will find the way “to enter the kingdom of heaven.” We will discover the gift in the tensions and discomforts that are an inevitable part of being alive.