Something or someone comes along and you think, “This is just too good to be true! I can’t believe this is happening!” You get swept away in amazement about how the universe has aligned perfectly for you. Even in the excitement, there is still a part of you that doesn’t really believe it could be real – it’s too good to be true, after all. As time goes by, you start to believe that it might, in fact, be real. At some point you start counting on it being true – you begin to let that reality exist in your mind, and you get comfortable with it. The bewilderment becomes the expectation.
Then there is the moment when the dream proves itself to be too good to be true after all. And it doesn’t happen in a gentle way. That’s when, all within a 24 hour period, the phone will crash and lose all of your contact information and calendar, the project on which you’ve just spent hours will be lost, you will have no hot water, your lawyer or business partner will call you with bad news, those you love most will let you down and hurt you, and everything else that you built up in your mind – all that you originally couldn’t believe would actually happen – will crumble in front of you. Nothing is in alignment; nothing is easy. And it crushes you.
The universe has a wicked way of teaching us that the things onto which we hold too tightly aren’t real – the dreams, hopes and expectations exist only in our minds. That’s why they can be wiped away so swiftly. The only thing that is real is this moment – what is happening right in front of us, right now. And there is no good or bad in this moment – it just is. If we realized this, we wouldn’t be so hurt or disappointed by what should have happened or what this or that person should have done.
Intellectually, I understand this concept. But it isn’t until I crumble from the weight of disappointment that the lesson is truly learned (again). At some point I remember: My current suffering is caused by me – not by any other person or the universe – and it can be lifted when I choose to let go of what I have built up in my mind. My suffering will cease when I live in the present instead of the reality I wish would exist.
As that realization seeps in, I stop feeling overwhelmed and sorry myself, and I start moving. I reignite the pilot light on the water heater, start re-entering all of my contacts, pick the project back up, make amends with my loved ones, and generally readjust my expectations. I accept that today is just one of those shitty days where things are going to be harder than I’d like, but that’s just the way it is. Bitching and moaning won’t change anything.
In time, I will forget the lesson and have to re-learn it, but until then I remind myself that the present moment is the only reality. Everything else is too good to be true because it’s not real, so don’t waste too much energy grasping at that which exists only in my mind and may or may not actually happen.