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Everything Is an Invitation

Everything Is an Invitation
Image by John-Mark Smith

One thing we have been discussing with our teachers recently is the idea that everything is an invitation. So often, we push against what is presented to us. We have an idea in our head of what we want, and when reality doesn’t meet that idea, we react. We also spend a lot of time chasing the things we think we want. In both instances, we are not seeing what comes before us as an invitation, rather we see it as a hindrance to our objectives.

What if we are wrong about what we think we want? What if what we think we want is not actually in our best interests? And how would we know if it was or if it wasn’t? What if everything was indeed an invitation? What if we saw everything that way? How would life be different?

But first, let’s be clear: nobody is saying you need to accept an invitation. We have all RSVP’d No at some point. The key is in recognizing that everything is an invitation. As always, no choice is possible without awareness. With awareness, the choice is yours, whatever it may be.

Picture yourself seeing everything as an invitation. Who are you when you’re in that space? How do you move through life surrounded by invitation? And how does this compare to living life with an agenda?

Give yourself some time to sit in the invitation space. Give yourself some time to sit in the agenda-driven space. Which is more comfortable? Which is easier? Which is more peaceful?

Or does your mind go straight to the place where you think, Well, that might be fine for some people, but I need to get things done. Here’s the question: who’s to say you wouldn’t get things done in the invitation space? Sure, they may not be the same things you’re getting done now, and who’s to say which things would be more important? Do you really know best? And if you don’t, who exactly does?

Here’s a clue: do you love your life right now? Could you love your life right now? And who is more likely to be of greater service; someone loving their life or someone suffering miserably? If everything were an invitation to you, which one of these people would you most likely be?

So here’s an invitation: next time you find yourself experiencing some kind of stressful emotion—sadness, anger, frustration, contempt, disgust, etc.—ask yourself how the thing that elicited this response could somehow be an invitation. You don’t need to come up with an answer right away—indeed, if you’re experiencing a full-blown stress response, that’s the last thing that will come to mind. But in time, with that surefire benefit of hindsight, you may well see the invitation presented to you. And if you can do it once, you can do it again.

So here’s another invitation: spend a day with the intention of seeing as many things as possible as an invitation. And while you’re at it, notice whether you’re more likely to accept or decline these invitations; and as the day progresses, notice if anything within you changes.

Who knows? Maybe this is the invitation we’ve been longing for.

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