I don’t know if you know it but in 2009, I had returned to teaching public school. This lasted for all of two years and then I resigned. That in and of itself is an interesting story. My point is that while teaching, I found that many of my students had never heard the colorful idiom, “Don’t cry over spilt milk.”
Many of them understood the concept once I explained, however that particular way of expressing the idea was foreign to many of them, while there were several others that could not, or would not grasp the idea at all. After careful consideration, I came to the realization that there are many of us who stubbornly refuse to wake up! Just as many people cling to their beds and blankets in the morning, refusing to get out of bed, so to do many cling to their limited paradigms and consciousness. Many want to continue crying over spilt milk even after you have cleaned it up for them and have offered them a new glass of milk! Why is this? Why would anyone want to hold onto pain, fear, lack, limitation, and suffering, when they could release this and live from a higher more awakened state of being?
Simply put, people choose sleep over waking out of comfort. For many people it is more comfortable to remain in their nice neat comfortable boxes rather than take the time and effort that it takes to wake up. Think about it, when you wake up from a restful night of sleep, it is easier to remain in bed, warm, and comfortable rather than getting up, facing the cold air, the shower, the getting dressed, etc. This is where many are in consciousness, comfortable and complacent. And it is from this state of mind that complaining is second nature and therefore crying over spilled milk resounds in the form of any number of mantras such as, “Why does this always happen to me? Why can’t I be happy? Why doesn’t anyone like me? Why am I so fat, ugly, stupid, lazy, poor. . .? Why can’t I find a job, husband, wife, lover…? Why are these lines always so long? It figures it would happen to me! This always happens to me.” And on and on the tirade of those who are reactive rather than proactive.
In order to stop this type of behavior, to wake up, we need to develop a level of faith. Faith that this spilled milk was “meant” to spill or even better, the milk didn’t really spill at all! Let’s look at an instance from my own life as an example of this.
2000, I moved to Richmond, VA to be with the person I thought I was going to marry, however that did not work out and as a result several months after leaving my family and all that I had known in Pittsburgh to relocate, I ended up getting out of the relationship and the apartment. With nowhere else to go, I ended up being homeless for one week. It is easy to find lots of spilled milk here if that’s what we look for.
1. Lost or failed relationship.
2. Left the apartment and security of a roof over my head.
3. Being homeless and all the insecurities that brings.
4. Family in Pittsburgh, no Richmond support system.
Ok so let’s see what was really lost? Nothing. The relationship took the turn it took as a series of events like dominoes that fall. Consequences to things said and unsaid, done and undone, nothing to blame or resent, it is what it is and as a result led to many other amazing things. Had I never left Pittsburgh, I would most likely still be there. I ended up going to Richmond, studying acting from the amazing faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University earning my MFA, studying theology from American Institute of Holistic Theology, and meeting some amazing friends that have influenced my life in amazing ways. Yet had I not moved, these benefits would not have occurred. So was the milk really spilled?
A colleague at work allowed me to move in with her and her partner until I found a new apartment for my dog Jai and I. This led me to the realization that I can live alone and be fine! I can be self sufficient caring for myself and Jai and then later a second dog, Winnie as well. Spilled milk??
I developed a lasting support system of friends and “newly” adopted family as a result of this experience so where is the spilled milk? In truth what I perceived as misfortune were blessings I was unable to see at the time.
Genesis 50:20 reminds me of this, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result,” What I had perceived as being against me, a source of suffering and pain, was in reality something the Divine used to bless not only me but those who are blessed as a result of my experience. This is why faith is an important piece of this equation.
I love how Buddhist scholar Alan Watts explains it,
“Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is like when you trust yourself to the water. You don't grab hold of the water when you swim, because if you do you will become stiff and tight in the water, and sink. You have to relax, and the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging, and holding on.
In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe becomes a person who has no faith at all. Instead they are holding tight. But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.”
Those crying over spilled milk are therefore lacking in faith as they reactively cry over appearances, whereas the faithful are those who proactively move about the world with a sense of trust and assurance or absolute certainty that all is well! Not that it will work out because there is nothing to be worked out, everything is perfect just as it is in each now moment and we each are doing our part in each moment. I will close with a story that I am reminded of where a person is angry at God for not ending wars on the planet, or for feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick, etc. When this person finishes their rant at God for all that God is not doing, they wait for God’s defense. God simply says, “I did do something, I sent you. I sent you to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and bring peace to the world… I sent YOU!”
A metaphysical twist would be God saying, “I came to the world as you to be the change…!”
Well now, the challenge is seeing the glass not as half empty or half full but totally full no matter what. It may be full of water, half full of milk and half air, or filled with the energy of atoms and molecules spinning through the quantum ethers, infinite potentialities popping in and out of dimensions,… it is full all right!
Today, vow to no longer cry over spilled milk especially since we are choosing to have faith that there is no spilled milk (wink wink).
You got it, I know you do!