Question: Some things I’ve tried to accomplish in life have been such a struggle, and yet some other things have just “fallen into place,” almost without much effort. Does this have any bearing on how we should choose to do things? Should I stop planning my life so much and just try to “go with the flow”? I’m almost afraid that if I stop planning so much, nothing will happen!
Answer: There is never a moment (although I know it seems not so) when the flow of which you speak is not all around us and available to us. We do not create this flow, but enter into it. This means that since this flow exists before my consideration of even needing it, there is something in me that is obscuring it, blocking it. This should be our task: to awaken increasingly to what in us is out of the flow. Find this and the flow presents itself. Where possible, experiment with giving up the planning as best you can, and watch what happens. It’ll be tough, but worth it.
One must lose hope in the false idea that winning the approval of others has any real power to quiet the nature within that doesn’t know what else to do with its sense of being incomplete save to imagine itself as being something it’s not. If I am what I believe myself to be, why do I need anyone else to confirm it; and if I am not what I believe I am, then can anyone’s confirmation of this illusion make it real?
The peace of mind we seek is not to be found in the world around us, but rather in the understanding that who and what we are can’t be measured by ourselves, let alone be judged by anyone else. Thought is but an instrument, and no tool or scale can know the value of what it measures. To see the truth of this is to be touched by a grace that comes only with dying to the whole idea that you will ever be able to pocket and save what is truly Good.
We must learn to wish for whatever life brings us, for there is no other way to earn the kind of unshakable gratitude that lets us live with grace.
The greatest, most “expensive” gift that anyone can give to another is priceless, and yet… it is available in abundance for everyone to give all the time. Not only that, but this same gift rewards its giver in the same moment of being given. This great gift is what we give away anytime we come wide awake to ourselves and — rather than giving out our negative state to whomever is nearby — we give up our negative self instead.