On a recent vacation, a friend said to me "Isn't it great that we were able to be at the beach, then turn on a dime and go help out someone having trouble with their boat? You can do things like that when you're on vacation - just go with flow. You can't do that in regular life."
It certainly seems that way, doesn’t it? That when we’re on vacation and it feels like we have all the time in the world, no agenda and no stress, that we can be so flexible? But why can't we be like this always? What if this ability to address whatever needs to be addressed in the moment is available to us all the time. What if it wasn't the exception that we can let life lead us, doing what needs to be done moment to moment, but the rule.
Our lives are planned out to the letter. We know exactly what needs to be done next. We wake up early to get our exercise in before work. We plan our days around our kids’ activities. We anticipate all the questions our boss will ask us so we don’t look dumb. We plan and plan and leave little to chance. Not to say that we don’t need to be organized or have goals around what we want to achieve. But most of us have gotten accustomed to living our lives in a predictable manner. We have our routines that “keep us on track” and feel thrown off if we deviate from them. This makes us feel in control, like we’re in charge of our lives.
But is that what is really happening? Are we really in control here?
Our ancient minds will have us think so. Our reptilian brains are masters of protection and they love keeping us on the treadmill of duty, responsibility and predictability. And we innocently buy into the thoughts that we have to plan every minute, be certain of what is coming, and avoid any disaster or potentiality. That is safety to a mind.
But things don't always go as planned do they? The meeting doesn't run like we think, our partner doesn’t show up the way we want them to, we get sick and someone else has to pick up our kids at school. Our minds will have us believe we can plan for every inevitability, but deep down we know that is not true. We know things don’t always go according to plan, and somehow we’re still OK. We look back and say “Well, I got through that. It all worked out fine – even better actually.”
Why is that?
What if life was always just living us, despite what our minds tell us is happening or is going to happen? Can we consider that there is an energy that flows through all of us that is changing all the time – taking a form here, changing into another there, and all that we have is a moment-to-moment experience. What if we could only ever see what was arising in this exact moment, not in the future world that our mind - and only our mind - has created? We are all perfectly equipped to handle whatever arises in any moment because we have a deep inner wisdom that intuitively knows what to do.
And isn’t that such a relief. Isn’t it a relief to know that you don’t have to have it all worked out or have all the answers ahead of time. That ideas can come to you in real time, from your inner wisdom, if you just let them. That we could leave the beach and go bail out a boat just like that, and our lives will not fall apart.
These are hard concepts for our minds to grasp. The mind doesn’t want a moment-to-moment experience. The mind wants a linear experience where it can predict future moves based on what has happened in the past. There is no room for our inner wisdom to be heard when our minds are in charge.
But we can start to get curious.
Next time your future-based mind tells you that you have to have all the answers, see if you can trust whatever arises in the moment from your inner wisdom. And that whatever arises in that moment is fine – not good or bad. It is just what is arising. Play with the idea that there is a greater power at work that has your back and has always had your back. Your mind will have you think otherwise, and that’s OK. That’s what a mind does. But can you explore the possibility that there is something at work in our lives that is greater than our minds?