Yes, for those in the Boston area, you are breathing a sigh of relief this morning. The humidity, for now, has decided to depart. After writing yesterday’s post Smashing Baby! I was reflecting on my own irritability and discontent. I had a moment of pure laughter at how irritable I was on a Saturday when I didn’t have to work and had no obligations. Ya, I knew it was in part due to the weather and in part due to other things, but what it brought up was gratitude. Gratitude for the awareness I have come to have over the years about the law of impermanence. This is a Buddhist concept that has become more colloquially known as “just go with the flow.” Ya, that annoying little statement that people make when someone is struggling with wanting what they don’t currently have. Um who hasn’t been there? For sure! We have all wanted a relationship to work out in the way we want, the job that we applied for to come through, the promotion at work, etc. “Just go with the flow, just see what happens, things always have a way of working out” are typical responses we hear a lot from people. Ugh how annoying is that??? LOL But honestly, what does it even mean to “go with the flow” and more importantly “how the hell do you do that?” Right? It sounds so easy but is something that doesn’t come easy to most.
A definition of the concept of impermanence is offered up here on Urban Dharma.com http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma8/imperm.htmld. Impermanence is the concept that nothing is ever static or still. This is said to be one of the three marks of existence. This means that life, just like the ocean, life is ever ebbing and flowing, changing constantly. so too with New England weather, thank god, right? This may sound cool when you think about the bad things like the heat in Boston this summer but it also applies to the things that feel awesome like say the feeling you get after getting a promotion or at having a really good day. We want to attach to the things that feel pleasant and get rid of the unpleasant. We try to avoid unpleasant feelings in many ways that are sometimes seen as socially acceptable. As I have stated previously the general public has this in common with people who have an addiction. It just happens to a lesser degrees. This can feel like an uncomfortable concept but it is true. So you ask “what is wrong with wanting to feel good and avoid the bad?” Well, not much really, I certainly fall victim to this mentality. The thing is reality is a mixed bag. By not attaching to things as being good or bad, we just see that they are experiences that come and go.Easier said than done right? Why not just say screw it and have a bowl of ice cream to drown the stress or sorrows? Or have a drink or smoke a joint. I mean who are you hurting anyway? Well you. Not necessarily in creating disease, although that could be a part of it for some. When we don’t deal with things and allow them to pass we don’t reap the benefits of the ebb and flow. We get stuck in the muck stuffing those unpleasant emotions for some other time. Bleh right?
What about when you don’t feel you have the time or patience to deal with things as they arise? Well that’s a good question and I often wonder that myself. I get trapped into trying to avoid the bad just like you even with a practice of yoga and meditation. But to be honest my meditation practice is not always daily and sometimes I just don’t want to deal. It takes a lot of work to deal with the feelings of loneliness, insecurity, doubt, uncertainty, etc. My previous chapter had me stuck in a rut because I was sold on keeping things the same. Don’t rock the boat as things weren’t so bad I couldn’t deal with them. Rocking that foundation was too scary. I wanted what other people had and resented that I didn’t have them. Now that I have taken that step, at times I long for the certainty full time work brings but having my freedom at the same time. That old trap of wanting it alt? I have found that the current chapter is more about accepting the uncertainty and working with it. What has been key for me is trusting in that ebb and flow. Faith and a practice of meditation are key. If I can’t sit then I do a moving meditation such as walking, yoga, working out at the gym, or cleaning (which can be very powerful.) Journaling during times of struggle can at times be helpful. It’s a tangible record of the ebb and flow of life. You will get through whatever is happening in the present moment because you have in the past. My saner mind knows that life truly always does have a way of working out. It’s the sane part that is in my hands. I can get to the place I am going like a crazy person, or I can choose to for the moment still my breath and listen to the birds chirp out the window as I type. It is all up to me how I embrace the moment.
Life is fleeting. Embrace the moments as they arise even the ones that seem fearful and scary because they are here as teachers to help guide you along your path. I tell my clients that anxiety can be a warning sign as well as a motivator. It is not healthy to always try to get rid of it. I leave you with this beautiful poem by Rumi that seems fitting for this moment. It speaks to the need of embracing all that life has to offer as opportunities for growth along the way. http://www.gratefulness.org/poetry/guest_house.htm