My favorite joke is- Question: Do you know how to make God laugh? Answer: Tell him your plans for your life. I believe I gave God the chance to laugh last week.
My story actually begins early last December. At that time I started writing a post for The Seeker’s Dungeon, a post about my resistance to doing a spiritual practice that Amma, my spiritual teacher, asks us to do every day. That practice is to chant the Sri Lalita Sahasranama, a sacred Hindu text that consists of 1000 names of the Divine Mother, the female part of God. Amma says that chanting that text will benefit both the person chanting it and the world. Because of some past experiences, I have no doubt that it would be beneficial for me to follow Amma’s direction, but I still don’t do it.
I worked on writing the post, while attempting to overcome my resistance at the same time. I soon became very frustrated. Part of my frustration was because I wanted to end the post having happily vanquished my resistance. I saw no such ending in sight. After years of reinforcement, my resistance was solidly mired. The second week in March, I finally accepted the fact that the post was going to end with me as fully entrenched in my resistance as when I started it. I published “Dealing with My Resistance” in The Seeker’s Dungeon on March 11.
About the same time, I received an email from my spiritual group in Seattle saying that during our weekly meeting on April 9, we would be chanting the Sri Lalita Sahasranama not just once, but three times. Since each round would take 45 minutes, I believed we would not be singing any bhajans (devotional songs), which is my favorite part of the gathering. My immediate internal response was “I’m not going.”
Following hot on the heels of this new opportunity for resistance, came the due date for the weekly Challenge for Growth prompt I offer to the blogging community. It occurred to me that “resistance” would make a good topic as I knew I wasn’t the only person with this issue. What might other bloggers write on the subject? I decided the challenge for the week would be for participants to do something they were resistant to doing. I posted the new prompt on March 16.
On March 17, I started thinking about what my response to the prompt would be. All of a sudden the answer was clear. Even though the April 9th Sri Lalita Sahasranama chanting was more than three weeks away, it felt right for me to respond to the prompt by declaring my commitment to attend.
As I thought about my decision, I imagined God laughing. I fancied that I had been a pawn in a game of chess and had been outmaneuvered by a force much bigger than myself. What could I do but join the laughter, and appreciate the synchronicity of all that had occurred.
Barring something happening that is out of my control, I know where I will be at 3 p.m. on April 9!