Flowing with Life is not inaction.
A reader asked me this question the other day: “How can you flow with Life when you are pulled in different directions by your situation?”
This is a very important question. Indeed. All of us have to face these pulls and pressures. You have family issues, health challenges, work targets, worries, heartbreaks, children to raise, parents to look after – and possibly so many, many more dimensions to deal with. How can you just let go and offer yourself to be led by Life?
The truth is that you have all along been, are being, and will continue to be led by Life. No matter whether you believe in this or not, your Life has been happening on its own. Yet, your education and therefore your intellect, make it appear to you that you are in control. That you have been directing the course of your Life. Which is why, when an inscrutable Life situation arrives, you immediately resist it. You want to use all your intellect, logic, reasoning, willpower and get rid of that situation. Now how can all of these resolve a complex relationship issue? How can they help you rid yourself of a final stage cancer? How can they bring back someone you love from the dead? But your desire to control your Life drive you to resist the Life that you get. Anything that you resist, persists. Which is why you suffer. Your suffering is there only because you want your Life to be different from what it is. So, to avoid suffering, the best way to live is to never resist the Life you have been given. Simply flow with it.
Reaching this state of being, when you can accept your Life for what it is, and keep going with the flow, takes practice. But it is possible. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, an ordinary storekeeper, who lived in Mumbai, until his death in 1981, and a spiritual thinker and teacher to thousands, says, when true awareness has come from within, we will be ‘open and willing to let Life just flow’. “Be like a cinema screen. Clear and empty. The pictures pass over it and disappear, leaving it as clear and empty as before,” he says. The ability to be ‘clear and empty’ at all times, untouched by the pictures of our lives, is the highest, most exalted state! To get to this pinnacle of spiritual evolution, we must begin first with accepting Life as it happens – instead of trying to either resist it or analyzing it beyond a point.
Going with the flow surely does not mean inaction. It really means that you will keep doing whatever you have to do in a situation but you will remain unfrustrated when you don’t get the results you want. This is the absolute key to living intelligently. The short of all I have said is captured in the magical word ‘detachment’. If you can stay detached and go with the flow, you can only be happy, no matter what your circumstances are.