Written Blog: Be Like Water
So I’ve been noticing some things about myself of late. Despite my working forever on allowing things to be as they are, I still tend to force things to be the way I think they should be.
It’s been coming up while working on my website when one of the program's design tools is not working the way that I think it should work. I often see a simple workaround to create what I want, but still spend a lot of time stubbornly getting the design tool to work the way I think it should.
And then one day for whatever reason, I just went with the workaround to get where I needed to be. And it worked great. So I started to extend this approach to the rest of my life. And life got more simple, effective, and peaceful.
All I had to do was let go of how I thought things should be. This can, however, be quite challenging. It turns out we have some pretty serious conditioning behind forcing things to be the way we think they should be.
It is only when we allow things to be as they are that we can flow with them and around them. Water accepts the rocks in the stream as they are and flows around them. It doesn’t keep slamming up against a rock expecting it to change.
Spiritual teacher, Adyashanti, called such slamming into the rocks “an argument with the way things are.”
This phrase has always made me laugh- mostly at myself. It shows the absurdity of arguing with reality. In a sense, it's saying, “No reality, you should be different than you are.”
And yet most of us continue to argue with the way things are. And it keeps causing suffering in ourselves and in the people around us. It also wastes so much of our precious time and energy.
What if we flipped our intention from, “This is how things are,” to, “How are things?”
The first intention typically leads us to try to make things the way we think they should be. The second one directly moves us to where we want to be. But we can't have it both ways- we have to choose between them.
Once we see (and accept) how things are, we can then ask, “How do I get where I need to be?” Then a path through life (and the rocks) will present itself.
We have to be willing to let go of our preconceptions and plans of how things should go. Often we figure, we will do this and this and this to get the outcome we’re after.
But what if the thing we’re after turns out to be right in front of us? Do we allow ourselves to have it? Or do we still do this and this and this first? And of course, after we do all that, the thing we’re after is no longer right in front of us.
I suspect we can’t even see the thing we’re after when its right in front of us sometimes because we have told ourselves it will only be there after we do this and this and this.
So join me and try this as a practice when you approach an experience:
1. Ask: What am I really after here? (Intention)
2. Ask: How are things (in relation to your intention)? (Perception)
3. Ask: How do I get where I need to be?” (Intuition)
And be like water.
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