Instead of an Obstacle, an Opportunity:
“Endeavor to be inclined always not to the consoling, but to the unconsoling.” The Ascent of Mt. Carmel by St. John of the Cross
For many of us, our bad days go something like this:
Someone does something that provokes us. This, in turn, sets off a whole series of emotions and sensations that makes us uncomfortable. Then, as we become uncomfortable, we soon begin to stew and ruminate on the difficulty, turning it over and over again in our mind.
At this point, we have a decision to make: What I am I going to do with this frustration and suffering? What do I do with my bad days? At first glance, the above saying of St. John of the Cross seems to offer us very little in regards to dealing with bad days, but I would argue that it has a lot to offer.
In attempting to undermine and defeat the vexations which plague our hearts, we must first learn to embrace them. We are able overcome the disorders that rob us of peace when we see them as a blessing. This can accelerate our sanctification.
In short, we need to learn to adjust the frame in which we view our experience. Instead of seeing an obstacle, we need to see an opportunity.
To do this, use this saying from St. John of the Cross as a thoughtful experiment. What if I were to be so bold as to believe that the unconsoling, the uncomfortable, and the “bad” days were in fact the “best” days?
In meditation, what if I looked forward to the next problem and embraced it as an opportunity to love unconditionally? How might this change my attitude towards people or situations I don’t like?
Give it a try. When you do your holy hour or your meditation time, try to anticipate a situation in the coming days or weeks that will be uncomfortable. Try this new “frame” to view the situation in different light.