I WANT IT TO BE DIFFERENT THAN IT IS
Too many of our life experiences are filled with a kind of pushing and pulling, or forcing life, instead of going with the flow. What I mean by pushing and pulling is that we want things to be different than they are and we spend a lot of time trying to figure out how the thing we don’t like happened, how they affects us, and what to do now. Most of this happens in the mind-lots of thinking, thinking, and more thinking. We are often so paralyzed by the drama of our unhappiness that all we can do is think. For instance, we might say, I can’t believe this is happening. I don’t want it to be like this! Or we might say, I wish things were the way they used to be. I don’t like my life right now. No matter what it is, we don’t accept life as it is. We are trying to change what cannot be changed. In this state, we often feel stuck, defeated, frustrated or, worst of all, out of control.
Let me give you an example. I left the house one morning to have breakfast with a client and other colleagues. I pulled out of the garage and pressed the button in the car for the garage door to close. Nothing happened. I tried it again. The door didn’t budge. I got out of the car, went into the garage, and pushed the button on the wall. The door went down as long as I held the button. Once down, I pressed the wall button quickly and the door went up normally. Fine. I got back in my car and pressed the garage door button again. Nothing happened. Urgh! I had to get out of the car for the second time, go back into the house and all the way downstairs to reset the garage door at the breaker. Once back in the car, the door went down with the car button and I was on my way. Or was I?
Ten minutes behind schedule now, I drove away from the house. I thought I was free. Two minutes later the warning light came on in the car telling me my tire pressure was low in two tires. Are you kidding me?!? Now I have to stop and take care of this ridiculousness? Double argh! I said to myself, Could this morning please go the way I want it to go? Apparently not. The morning went the way the morning was always going to go and there was nothing I could do about it. Getting upset wasn’t going to change anything. It was as it was. I quickly realized there was no need to fight against it. The best thing I could do was go with the flow. And when I say the best thing I could do, I mean the healthiest, the easiest and the one that matched the pure truth of my soul self. The moment I did, the burden of trying to change what could not be changed immediately lifted. The stress and frustration vanished. I felt instant relief. I felt free.
Any time we want life to be different than it is, we suffer in some way. This is when we experience pain-the pain of frustration-the pain of feeling out of control. We may feel stress in our bodies, we might take our lack of control out on a loved one thereby separating us from them (always painful) or we might let it ruin our entire day, carrying the pain with us into every situation we encounter. Fighting life as it unfolds, not accepting things as they happen, is harder than swimming upstream against the current, and yet we keep fighting.
As I looked deeper into this dilemma so many of us get involved in each day, I could see that we would obviously feel frustrated because the truth is we are not in control. And trying to control what cannot be controlled is painful, indeed. Looking at my morning, I couldn’t have done anything about the garage door acting up the way it did, and I had no idea the tire pressures needed topped up until the warning lights showed up. Everything that happened that morning was always going to happen just the way it did. Perhaps the best course of action in such situations is not to react but rather to just go with the flow. I have found that acceptance of such situations in life brings peace, freedom and improved health.
CONTRACTION VS. EXPANSION
In the world of energy, fighting life is a contraction and going with the flow is an expansion. What I mean by this is that when we don’t accept what has transpired or what is inevitable, we limit ourselves in a few different ways. First from a mental perspective, we shut down any opportunity to experience life as it wishes to be experienced. In this place, there is no flow, only restriction that shows up as tension, worry and anxiety. This is contraction and it never feels good to be in a contracted state mainly because our true state of being is the exact opposite of this.
Second, we feel the stress and strain of this limiting point of view in our bodies as our muscles contract, our heart rate rises and adrenaline is released. Fighting life day in and day out takes its toll on our bodies and eventually something has to give. Our internal resources are stretched-sometimes to the point of breaking. These are the preventable illnesses I talk about in my book, “Mood, Food and Gratitude: Healing from the Way We Think” (Balboa Press, 2016). We have the power to become aware of our limitations and heal ourselves from the inside out and the outside in.
We have been trained to think we make it happen. And the evidence for such a world seems strong and valid. Work hard and you’ll be successful, we’re taught. You have to do more if you want to amount to anything, we’re told. But making it happen is only true in a world where we have forgotten who we truly are-a world where the false self rules. The false self is the one we believe we are-the one whose existence is based on the mantra I’m not good enough-and where our connection to our pure awareness has been forgotten. The truth is, everything is happening as it is, and always was, going to happen. You were always going to make that move that landed you that job. You were always going to go to that restaurant where you met your true love. You were always going to miss that plane. No amount of stress, self-talk, thinking, pushing or pulling is going to change it.
This insight may scare the daylights out of some of us as it rocks the very foundation we think makes us who we are and the very thing that makes us feel like we have some control in this wacky world. What happens to us if we don’t make it happen? Nothing. You are still going to do what you were always going to do. Life is going to unfold as is was always going to unfold. Going with the flow isn’t a position of weakness, incapability or victimhood, as it might seem. It’s a position of a deeper understanding of life, of ourselves and our connection to everything. It’s pure truth, healing, peace and freedom all rolled into one. It’s an acknowledgement of who we really are. It’s expansion.
There is something greater going on within us that makes certain all life happens as it happens. This something is the pure awareness that each one of us is and always has been. This pure awareness has been called by many names-the soul self, the true self, pure consciousness and many more. Realizing that you are really this unrestricted, expansive being helps bring you to a place of freedom from the pain of a life of contraction. So, you can take credit for raising the kids the right way, being a savvy investor that made you rich or being the one who made the difference in someone’s life, but all of this was always going to happen. The expansion within you, the One who is connected to all and has created all, knows this simple truth. That One is you.
THE CHALLENGE: I consistently encourage people I talk with to experience what has been said for themselves. Don’t just take my word for it. Investigate your life and apply the above information. This will make the information presented more meaningful to you. To get a greater sense of what has been said here, you can do the following:
- Notice pushing and pulling in your life. Are you fighting something that has happened? Are you forcing life to look different than it is? Maybe you got news of a serious illness, the passing of a loved one, a potential job change or a relationship that needs to end. Here is where we might wish things were different than they are. Sometimes things need to change, but investigate to see. Dig deep. Ask yourself these questions: What am I fighting? Do I have to fight? What would my life look like right now if I didn’t fight life or force it to happen in a different way?
- Now, think of yourself in this way-let’s say you are the screen on which the movie at the cinema is projected. As such, and just as the screen is not bothered by or affected by anything that happens in the movie, practice not being bothered by what happens in life. You can let life flow, just as the screen allows the action in the movie to take place. It might seem counterintuitive to do so, unless you take an investigative look at the system of stress, fear and unhappiness that is the very fabric of fighting or forcing life. Once you become aware of the pain of the system we have been using, you may then be open to the alternative-freedom from the burden of forcing life to happen. Flow.
- After some good deep breaths (which will help reset you to your parasympathetic nervous system-your inner calmness) and the realization that you can be as the screen is in a movie theater, you can let go of fighting, feeling frustrated, stuck and stressed. You don’t need to fight or force life to happen. When you allow life to exist as it is, you will begin to experience your true nature, peace, joy and vitality. Your life will feel easier and more cohesive. It is time for you to be your expansive true self. You are the creator, pure awareness itself. Experience your creations. Be free.