Life rarely unfolds exactly as we want it to. And if we stop and think about it, that makes perfect sense. The scope of life is universal, and the fact that we are not actually in control of life’s events should be self-evident. The universe has been around for 13.8 billion years, and the processes that determine the flow of life around us did not begin when we were born, nor will they end when we die. What manifests in front of us at any given moment is actually something truly extraordinary – it is the end result of all the forces that have been interacting together for billions of years. We are not responsible for even the tiniest fraction of what is manifesting around us. Nonetheless, we walk around constantly trying to control and determine what will happen in our lives. No wonder there’s so much tension, anxiety, and fear. Each of us actually believes that things should be the way we want them, instead of being the natural result of all the forces of creation.
Michael Singer, The Surrender Experiment
Our job each day, as humans, is to see what is and to find our place within it. This means to be present to the world and the other people in it, rather than present to our thoughts, feelings and opinions about it.
Most of our ‘problems’ are based in our negative assessments of the ‘what is’ of life, in comparison to our ideas of ‘what should be.’ Most of the time we are living in our thinking, comparing the ‘what is’ to the ‘what should be,’ and assessing blame for the distance between the two. ‘If only I weren’t so lazy.’ ‘If only she hadn’t done that thing.’ ‘If only I’d had different parents.’ ‘If only I’d got that job/lover/check.’ Etc.
When we step out of this constant chatter of blame and negative speculation, and into the flow of life, we call upon that within us that is other than our thinking-feeling nature. We call upon that true Self that always is there, just behind the thoughts; and when we can even suggest to ourselves that we are this other thing, when we take even a moment to listen to the silence behind the rattling of the mind, we send a message to the whole of this universe that we are interested in joining it, rather than just trying to ‘figure out’ our little corner of it. We give permission to the whole of this universe to guide us, support us and to work through us. By surrendering the false control of worry and blame, we can begin to discover what’s actually happening to us and through us, and we become more and more able to join in and support what’s actually going on.
And what is it that’s actually going on? As it turns out, the universe is about the business of love. It is about the business of coming together with itself, through you and me and all these little moments of our lives. It is about enjoying itself right here, right now. It is about giving itself, through me, and through you, permission simply to be.
Today, when I find myself beset by worry, I will give myself permission to be fully present, just for one minute. Not trying to shut off the chattering mind, but simply paying attention to something or someone else. The sound of a dog barking, the half-smile of a new mother with her infant in the park, the feel of the baking sun on the skin of my arm, and the cool breeze of the evening when the sun goes down.
Jeff, A tavola con te Restaurant, Lakshman Jhula, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
All original material copyright © 2018 Jeff Kober