Very early on in my spiritual walk, I had a vision of myself standing in a river with water up to my stomach while holding a trash can lid in each hand. I was standing there leaning into the current trying to hold the water back. I kept struggling, trying to get a better foothold to make my stand against the oncoming rush of water.
The water effortlessly went around me, over the lids, around them, under them, I simply couldn’t hold it back.
Suddenly I heard an idea rise within me – why don’t you lean back, go with it instead of against it and see where it takes you? This isn’t working anyway, what do you have to lose? So I did. I leaned back and the river lifted me up and I floated down the river on my back. As I did, I noticed all the beauty of the journey. The flow took me around bends and showed me beautiful cliffs and sandy beaches, chose which way to go at forks for me only to take me to more beauty.
This is when I understood that I had been fighting against life’s currents for many years, trying to do it my way from my limited perspective. Fighting a losing battle against the flow of life. Life didn’t want to fight, it didn’t want to struggle and it didn’t, it just went the way it was going the whole time no matter what I did. Only when I learned to open up and trust did I experience the joy of the journey, the beauty that was there and the effortlessness of the trip.
There’s nothing wrong with life or its flow. We often think that things aren’t right because they’re not going the way we want. What if we learned to stop struggling and go with the reality of what is happening through acceptance?
This brings us to a central spiritual law that states: all suffering is resistance to what is. If we stop resisting what is, we’ll stop suffering. This doesn’t mean that we can’t make adjustments to our sails or to lean left or right depending on what we’d like to experience. It simply means that we don’t fight against the flow. Whatever is happening isn’t good or bad, it just is. If we’d like to steer away from the direction we’re going, we can do that. What we can’t do is judge life’s flow as wrong and stand in the middle of it trying to hold it back.
It simply won’t work.
So relax, everything is fine. Life knows what it’s doing and where it’s going. Keep your eyes open and steer towards what you want but don’t take it all so seriously. From this perspective, life can be much more enjoyable. So enjoy the ride and take in the beauty along the way.
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