Navigating Life With Less Effort
When you get on a train, it would be foolish to keep the weight of your bags on your back or on your head for the journey. Of course we put the bags down and allow the train to do the work, giving us an opportunity to look out of the window and enjoy what passes. Likewise we don't try to push the train in a different direction or to stop it from getting to its destination, that would be a dreadful waste of energy.
We can imagine life to be a bit like that train, we are a passenger and are at liberty to enjoy that journey or we are at liberty to carry the baggage of our worries and concerns, then due to those, try to alter the direction of life. That is our free will, we have freedom to try and do those things, we aren't helpless bystanders.
But the important question that most of us forget to ask is: why can't we put those bags down in the first place and enjoy the mystery? Why are we always trying to force or resist what is? And how do we know when we are forcing and resisting?
Big questions indeed and no ones that are easily answered, if that is even possible!
Almost all schools talk about this, whether it is the divine will of God or the perfect flow of the Tao that cannot be stepped out of. That there is a perfect unfolding occurring with every moment of our lives and that for peace to exist within us we have to trust to this flow, to give ourselves to it fully, whether we perceive it to be positive or negative.
After all perceptions of good and bad are mental projections, that is to say thoughts, and we know from experience that our thoughts are not not be trusted. They alter at the drop of a hat. Something that I think to be bad right now can turn out to be good later on. We simply have no idea, we don't know.
So what about if we embrace the 'not knowing'? Accept 'I just don't know' - what happens then?
Well, first of all to accept the flow is a very powerful thing, As we have discussed before, acceptance is not resignation to your 'fate'. Where resignation is disempowering, acceptance is liberating. They seem to be barely different shades, but in truth they are polar opposites.
I always have total freedom to act, but the fruits of my action will be determined by whether they are in alliance with the flow of things or in opposition. If they are in accordance then things will happen very smoothly, you may have felt it at times in your life, as if everything in the universe was pushing you along and you were being swept along in a flowing river. At other times things may have felt to be in opposition to the flow, not with the Tao, not according to 'Gods' will. Then life seems sticky, you might get to where you intended by brute force, but it is unlikely that it will work in the long term.
So how do we know if we are forcing or accepting? Intuition and practice! Listening to the body, to the signs around you and to how things feel rather than how your mind thinks they should be. Trust your gut and jump int the river. The mystery of where it is going is far more fun than trying to change its course by effort!