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Life is not always roses and butterflies. Things happen in life, and usually we perceive them as either “bad” or “good” based on how they appear on the exterior. For example, you get a raise, and that’s “good;” you get fired, and that’s “bad.”

But not necessarily in the spiritual world. In the spiritual world, the greatest gifts often come disguised in the ugliest packaging.

For example, do you usually think, “YES! I’m so happy I just got cheated on,” or how about, “Yay! I am thrilled, I just got diagnosed with stage 4 cancer!” or what about “Awesome, I am getting fired.” Usually no. Because let’s face it, these situations are challenging, hard, and uncomfortable. And while I am not saying not to honor the feelings that they bring up (actually, I want you to feel them and honor them completely), what I am saying is that, usually, you perceive obstacles as hurting you and blocking your happiness. But in actuality, these obstacles and difficult times are there to help you. Let me explain.

Obstacles are here to help, not hurt, you.
@cosmicchristine  (Click to Tweet!)

This is the greatest spiritual lesson that I would want you to take if you had to choose one out of all the others. This has the potential to transform your life. Why? Because we must learn to accept what is instead of harping on what if.

What is, is that obstacles are here in this life, and either we learn to accept there is a deeper purpose from them or we allow them to control us and continue to get mad when “bad things happen.” By accepting obstacles as here to help us, we are becoming more empowered and in control versus attacking obstacles—which will happen anyway, so we might as well learn the spiritual gift from them. I say learning from them and having deep spiritual growth and peace sounds way more rewarding.

Here’s the breakdown on this massive spiritual concept:

Some obstacles we can control or avoid, and some we cannot. MOST we can control, and this is where our free will comes in. So based on this spiritual concept, the ONLY time you have free will is in the face of an obstacle.

There are things in life that are out of your control. A train crashes; you’re in a huge storm; someone you love dies in a car accident. These events are beyond your WILL or control—certain things you couldn’t avoid because there is no way you could have known.

You do have free will, though, but only during one time and one time only. I repeat:

THE ONLY TIME YOU HAVE FREE WILL IS IN THE FACE OF AN OBSTACLE.

The moment an obstacle arises is the only time you are able to display your free will and choose either the thing that is good for your soul or the thing that is not good for your soul. This is the moment you either choose proactive behavior or reactive behavior.

Reactive behavior is the easy response, the instant gratification, getting mad, texting back too soon because you’re anxious, etc.

Proactive behavior is when you pause in the face of the obstacle, accept that it is there to help not hurt, and wait till you are not being reactive anymore, and THEN respond from a place of your highest self, from a place of healthiness.

The more times you choose the proactive behavior, the more happiness you are able to experience.

This offers you some deep insight into where your energy must go. It must go into choosing better in the face of an obstacle—this is where sustainable long-term happiness lies. We must surrender the rest.

So when an obstacle comes, say, “YES! More opportunity for light to come in, more opportunity for me to grow spiritually.” Honor your pain but don’t react from a place of pain. Once you are ready, choose the healthier, proactive choice and expect miracles.

So get to work my friends :-) What obstacle are you facing? What is the reactive choice that is usually your go-to? Instead, choose the proactive choice. Ask yourself what would be the proactive choice in the face of this obstacle. Practice this throughout the week, and continue to choose the proactive choice more and more.

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Christine Gutierrez is a psychotherapist, advice columnist, speaker, author, poet, and founder of CosmicLife.com, an online hub that features psychologically-savvy and soulful advice, articles, videos, private consultations, workshops, retreats (both live and virtual), radio appearances, and television projects. “Ancient wisdom with a modern twist” is the motto. She has been featured in TimeOut NY Magazine, Latina Magazine as “The Future 15: The Healer,” Yahoo Health, Ebony Magazine, Cosmopolitan for Latinas, The Conversation, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Ricki Lake, Lifetime TV, and more. You can also follow Christine on Twitter and Facebook.

*Image courtesy of markhillary.