The long term shackle

Most people I know (including me) have something in their lives which I feel is like a long term shackle. It’s a persistent problem that just doesn’t want to be resolved even though the person does their best to be rid of it. For some reason it lingers like a bad smell, putting a dampener on their enjoyment of life. The shackle might be an illness that won’t kill them but makes their life a misery; a fear that influences everyday decisions; a cranky mother-in-law that tests a saint’s patience; an annoying neighbour; a persistent lack of money – the list is endless. We all have something worthy of being called a long term shackle.

From a spiritual perspective, I ask myself why do we have these long-standing problems in our lives. Is it a simple matter of not getting to the root of the issue? For example, learning to become more empathetic towards the cranky mother-in-law also teaches us to become more empathetic towards other people we find difficult to deal with.

Or does it go beyond the question of how to fix the problem – is it our cross to bear, so to speak? Maybe it is a lesson in patience and humility, a lesson in faith and trusting Spirit. Maybe this is the bigger picture. By having a problem we can’t seem to fix we get desperate and eventually turn to Spirit for help. If our existence goes beyond our temporary time on earth it would make sense that our experiences here go beyond what we think is important, necessary or even real. A healthy body might be quite meaningless in the bigger scheme of things, it would make sense that our soul health is of much greater importance.

The things we learn with a long term shackle are likely to be the things that matter for our souls, that is my guess anyway. The shackle is gently (sometimes not so gently) and persistently nudging us towards Spirit, making sure we are not losing the path our souls intended to make while here on earth.

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