Go with the flow of Life!

Learn to live with what is, in the now. This is Life. And the only one which you have.
           
Sometimes, we have to live through periods of time that we intensely dislike. Things could be taking forever. Business may not be happening. Or a relationship may be heading nowhere. Or a health situation will be forcing you to be confined to bed. You may want Life to move faster in such situations. But Life has a mind and pace of its own. Eckhart Tolle, the German-Canadian spiritual teacher, in his awakening book, “The Power of Now” says, “Life is now. There was never a time when your Life was not now, nor will there ever be.”

In a Zen story, a man falls into a river, with violent rapids leading to a high and dangerous waterfall. People who were watching this accident felt the man would die. But miraculously the man came out alive and unharmed downstream, at the bottom of the falls. People rushed to him and asked him how he managed to survive. He replied: “I realized I had no choice. I adapted myself to the water and did not resist the force, the direction or the flow of the river. I plunged into the ferocious swirls, giving myself up to the river and came out gratefully whenever I was tossed up. This is how I survived.”
The river rapids accident is but a metaphor. It teaches you – and me – the need to go with the flow whenever Life changes gears, changes the scenery and changes your reality! There is no point in wishing that your Life is different from what it is. There is no point going back in time and wishing your Life could be rewound or relived. And yes there is no point hoping Life could move faster and get you out of your current situation. It is what it is. You either live now, with and in the present, or you never will!
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Simply blow your whistle if you feel you must

To live a Life of meaning, you must first understand the meaning of Life. And the truth is, in reality, Life has no meaning. Think about it – what kind of a meaning does Life offer when you are born, without choice, empty-handed and you have to die, again empty-handed; even all the experiences that you have during a lifetime and the learnings, they would seem futile because no one knows if there is an afterlife and if you will even remember any of these in that Life!!! So, the whole Life experience is meaningless at one level. But there’s every opportunity to create your own meaning in Life. To do that, though, you must participate in and with Life.

Most people find their lives listless, meaningless, because they are passive. They are lost in earning-a-living, as opposed to living. Earning-a-living is but one aspect of Life. But if you get obsessed with that one single aspect then you lose yourself to its trappings – worry, anxiety, fear, insecurity, sorrow, grief, anger, jealousy, hatred! Then you are not living. You are merely existing.

To participate in Life, be with it in each moment! Whatever Life throws at you, be with it. Don’t be lost in your idea of Life. You will never find it. Because Life conforms to no (one’s) fixed idea. When you say and expect that Life has to be this way only – you have surely consigned your lifetime to misery and suffering. Because Life’s not going to oblige. Instead be open to receiving anything in Life, from Life, in totality, fully. Let your energy flow into Life’s every moment. Something makes you exult, rejoice over it. Something makes you sad, grieve over it. Whatever makes you offer yourself fully to Life, as it is happening to you in a given moment, do it. Don’t stick to one idea of Life, else you will get stuck in a rut!  

There’s this beautiful story of the Hassidic Master Baal Shem. It was a holiday and several of the Master’s faithful followers had gathered for a communion. 

A man had come with his retarded son. He was a little worried about the boy. He was worried that the boy may do something embarrassing. So he was keeping an eye on the boy. When the prayers were said, the boy asked his father, “I have got a whistle – can I play on it?”

The father said, “Absolutely not – where is your whistle?” Because the father was afraid that the boy may not even listen to his “no”. The boy pointed to his trouser pocket, that revealed the bulge of the whistle and the father kept his hand on the son’s pocket to ensure that the boy does not get adventurous.

Soon, Baal Shem led the congregation to ecstatic prayer. Then there was dancing, and the father forgot about his son’s whistle – taking his hand off his son’s trouser pocket – and he also started dancing. Hassids in prayer are dancers, joyous people – the very idea of Judaism is to let go, to be free, to dance as if there’s no tomorrow. When everybody was praying to God and dancing, suddenly the boy could not resist it any more. He pulled out his whistle and blew on it. Everybody was shocked. And the father was embarrassed. But Baal Shem came up to the boy, hugged him and said: “Our prayers are heard. Without this whistle, all was futile – because this was the only spontaneous thing here. All else was ritual.”

There’s a huge learning here for each one of us. Are you living spontaneously like that boy? Or are you trapped in your own rituals – even if you are subconsciously? Do you feel like doing something else – like dancing or singing or blowing a whistle – but restrain yourself because you think you have ‘outgrown’ that stage or think it to be ‘inappropriate’ to do such a thing? Why not abandon all fixed notions and ideas you have of Life and stop searching for meaning in Life? Instead simply let go and create your own meaning of Life! And if that requires you to blow your whistle, whenever you feel like it, you possibly simply MUST!

Stop postponing living

Time is relentlessly pursuing us. We are all, as a matter of fact, racing towards our deaths, albeit at different speeds! With this inevitable end in mind, and in sight, we must exercise our intelligence to LIVE this lifetime meaningfully, purposefully. 

Understand and appreciate the impermanence of money and material things. They are as transient as Life itself. Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs, even as he battled with cancer, memorably said,“Remembering that I would be dead soon is the most important tool I have encountered to help me make the right choices in Life.” 

So, stop postponing living. Do what you have always wanted to, NOW. Be it writing a book, starting a new career, launching a business, acting in a movie or just saying that you love someone___whatever will give you joy, needs to be done NOW. In the end, what will count is not how many corporations you were on the boards of, not how much money you have in your bank, not how many hours you slogged each week, but how many lives you touched.

Partnering with the inevitable present is your passport to inner peace


The present moment is inevitable. What happens in it is inevitable. So, why are we resisting the present moment?

The beauty of Life resides in the moment. In the present. Whatever you may do, you cannot prevent the present. You can grieve your past. You can worry about your future. But you can do nothing__other than live through it__about the present moment! Before you know it, it is here. In front of you. And you are in it! And then it is gone. And a new present is born. So, how can you ever avoid the present? It is impossible. As people who have gone through a basic education, who like to live Life by understanding it better, this one powerful unputdownable thought should lead you to a lifetime of peace and bliss.

A friend sent me a quote over mail sometime back. And it says exactly what I have been thinking and have shared here today. It, quoting spiritualist and writer Anthony D’Mello (1931~1987), says:

“What is the secret of your serenity?” asked the disciple. 

“To cooperate unconditionally with the inevitable,” answered the Master.

So beautiful. And so simple. As you finish another Monday, or begin one (depending on where you are reading this), resolve to accept, collaborate, partner, and be in the inevitable present. See how it transforms your Life __ helping you stay happy, peaceful and blissful __ despiteall your circumstances.