Welcome back Hypnolings, time for another irregularly scheduled edition of Rich’s Blog 3.0.
Have you ever had an experience where you hear or read something and you think, “YES; EXACTLY!” and then when you’re most excited, you realize the person meant the comment in exactly the opposite way that you understood it? Happened to me this weekend.
Saturday morning I woke up at my usual “O-Dark-Thirty” (one of the more annoyingly persistent habits from my military career), and as usual I began to plan my day of seeing clients, overseeing the installation of a new roof on my house and writing the final report for an investigation I had just completed for the Court.
So there I am. It’s about 3:30 Saturday morning and I have just taken my first sip of coffee of the day (One of the most sensuous experiences available to a human being with their clothes on) and started scrolling through my Facebook feed.
I was immediately met with a posting from an acquaintance that said in essence, “I have become a spectator in my own life. It’s like something happens and I’m like, ‘Oh, is this what we’re doing now? Ok’. My initial reaction was one of, “YES! YES! YES! You get it!” Then I reread the post and, much to my private embarrassment and disappointment, I realized they were being facetious. My bad.
This reminded me of a story by author Robert Fulghum who recounted an audience he had with an enlightened Zen Abbot. The Abbot listened to Fulghum attentively, all the while scratching his hemorrhoids. At the conclusion of the audience, the Abbot remarked, “You are like a man dying of thirst standing waist deep in a river.” We are that parched person failing to see that the river has everything we need to thrive, but we are so often wrapped up in our own expectations, we don’t see that what we truly need is constantly flowing all around us.
When I was in high school and college I would visit my grandmother often. We would drink coffee and smoke her cigarettes while she would happily sit listening to me wax poetic about all the things I was going to do with my life. Then she would smile wryly, pat me on the hand and say, “If you really want to make God laugh, tell Her all your plans. Then empty your mind and wait for the answer.” When I tried it I invariably sensed love and a lot of good-natured laughter.
The point is, yes you can plan and maneuver and posture until you think you have an iron-clad path to what you want, but in the end, whatever is going to happen is going to happen and even with all your prior preparation, you’ll probably be left standing open-mouthed saying, ‘I didn’t see that coming’.
For me, that is the Secret of Life. Acceptance that my mind, my preferences, and all my planning and work are simply infinitesimally small and isolated events in a boundless universe, were what happens in my ‘reality’ is, in the final analysis, totally beyond my control. If it will happen, it will happen with or without me. Realizing and accepting this has turned my emotional and spiritual life around 180 degrees.
I now find myself living a life unlike anything I ever imagined in my youthful ignorance and optimism; it is so much MORE magical and awe-inspiring. I accept that for all practical purposes, I AM just a spectator to the events unfolding all around me; an innocent bystander in my own life, if you will. I tell people that when the stuff that’s hitting the fan is particularly thick and sticky, I can waste time and make myself exhausted by fighting the tide of events, or I can roll on my back, point my feet downstream and go along for the ride, making sure to enjoy the scenery as I float past.
So, I take comfort in the knowledge that while I may indeed be a spectator of my own reality, at least I got a good seat for the show.
Do something great today…or not, because…
The Choice is Always Yours