Let me begin my story with an unimportant fact—I love butterflies. You are probably wondering what butterflies have to do with faith, but to explain that I will have to start at the beginning. . . This is a true story, a simple event that restored my faith and strengthened my belief that there is a greater or higher power out there.
Many years ago my brother gifted me a book called ‘The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success’ by Deepak Chopra. At the time I was a complete novice to the concept of spirituality. Meditation, mindfulness, positive thinking . . . never thought about any of it. No one I knew practiced meditation. I had never heard of the law of attraction, never considered the possibility that you can influence your life through thought. Life had always simply happened to me; I had no control over it. So you can imagine my surprise . . . but I am also a very rational person, so of course a small seed of doubt was always there.
Nonetheless I was intrigued enough to begin my spiritual journey. Although I have to admit that at the time much of my intrigue was based on the thought, ‘Anything to improve my life. To make me feel better.’ Little did I know that embarking on your spiritual journey has little to do with having a perfect life, and everything to do with personal and spiritual growth. I learned that one painful lesson at a time.
I worked hard with the knowledge I had gained to improve my life. At first I was incredibly enthusiastic, nothing could stop my fervour and I took any set-backs easily in my stride. Months went by and then one day I was hit with the realisation that nothing had changed. My life hadn’t suddenly improved. In fact my situation hadn’t changed at all. Where was my dream job, my dream house, my dream relationship? All I seemed to be attracting were more uncomfortable emotional challenges.
With each challenge and disappointment my little seed of doubt grew. It sounded so easy in the books that I devoured, so why was it so hard for me? When I attended my meditation and law of attraction courses people would talk about their amazing meditation experiences, about having visions, seeing light, receiving guidance from spirit guides, and all sorts of wonderful things that I really wanted to experience, but never did. So my seed of doubt found fertile ground in someone like me. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.
Then one day, I was at work grumbling my way through some task that I didn’t want to perform, when an emotional tidal wave hit me right upside the head. Within seconds I was out the door seeking refuge in my lunch break. I didn’t want to share my obvious spiritual failure with anyone else, so I slumped on a bench in the small, mostly concrete park that was located opposite my work, and I hid from the world so to speak. At first I cried, I was so miserable. Then I got angry and gave God, or higher power whichever you prefer, a real piece of my mind, and I was by no means polite about it. While it felt good to fling all my grievances, my doubt and anger directly at the source, it did not improve my overall negative emotional state.
But beneath all the anger and disappointment there was still the proverbial glimmer of hope.
Reluctant to be alone again, I gave God one last chance. I asked for a sign, anything to make his or her presence known, anything to show me that a higher power existed. Not very original, I know, but I was desperate. Of course I got no response. I didn’t expect one, so it mattered little at that point in time. I was done. I was done with everything even remotely connected to spirituality. I slowly dawdled back to work, my mood as grey as all the buildings around me, feeling utterly resigned, miserable and strangely bereft.
Then out of nowhere a beautiful butterfly appeared and I remember thinking, ‘What are you doing here in this concrete jungle?’ Now I wouldn’t have thought twice about this little event, even after asking for a sign, because butterflies do pop up in odd places. My rational mind knows this quite well and it is always very vocal with what it knows to be true. But this little guy actually flew down to my hand, which was just hanging loosely at my side, and settled on my finger. It just clung to me, vertical and all. Even when I brought my hand slowly up to my face to get a better look, it just sat there looking pretty. For me this was undoubtedly the sign I had asked for earlier. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have a thing for butterflies, so even my rational mind accepted this as a sign.
The butterfly took flight once I had uttered my thanks out loud, which took a few minutes of awestruck gaping on my account. Now I adore butterflies, so I was more than a little rapt by this incident. As you can imagine it made a very strong believer out of me and today there is no doubt in my mind that there is indeed a higher power.
As to my earlier question, ‘What was I doing wrong?’ The answer is of course ‘nothing’. Everybody’s life path is different and it’s a great thing that we all have different experiences. My time simply hadn’t yet come. I still had many lessons to learn, negative patterns to shed and more personal growing to do. I still do. The one thing I have learned though is that with the right attitude the lessons get easier to bear and manage, even the hard ones. A lot of my attitude is shaped through daily meditation, through mindfulness and keeping both feet on the ground. No more rose coloured glasses for me, and hey I feel the better for it. In fact I’m doing great and I love my life.
Even though I never did get that so called ‘dream job’ I’d hoped for back then, or the success and wealth I’d originally aspired to, my life reshaped itself into something so much better than I could have ever envisioned. It is so perfectly suited to who I am that I’m often amazed at my good fortune. If only I had known this earlier and simply trusted in the process of creation, I could have saved myself a lot of disappointment. Lesson learned. . .