Most of us hold the unquestioned belief that our hearts and minds are at peace before one of life's "waves" washes in to disturb us. But if we take away the prejudice of self-pleasing images -- and add the ease with which we are disturbed by unwanted moments -- we have good cause to suspect something entirely different about ourselves. Could a truer view of what takes place in such times of trouble look something like this? One of life's many unpredictable waves rolls in, rocks our bed of dreams, and we get shaken awake!
One thing should be obvious to us: no one can be free who blames his or her unsettled stressful state on life's unwanted events. Said a bit differently, how can we ever hope to be at peace with life if we fear, at any moment, that it may wash away our contentment? And that's the point: until we understand how the ocean of life "rests" in its own surge, we will only embrace parts of it and resist the rest. Let's look at five simple examples of where -- unknowingly -- we are at war with the "waves of life."
We feel irritated each time:
1. The weather refuses to behave according to our wish.
2. People around us fail to realize that our needs come first.
3. There is not supposed to be traffic at this hour!
4. People move like snails.
5. Someone tells us something about ourselves we don't want to hear.
Need life be this way? Can we ever hope to know the nature of real love, of its abiding peace, living from a false self that sees disturbances as its opportunity to get irritated? Is compassion or contentment possible for a nature that values being a victim? Clearly not; and yet, if we dare see it, we human beings are in a perpetual war with reality itself. We oppose any movement of life that seems to threaten our imagined sense of peace. Six-and-a-half billion people -- all of us convinced that we know what should be happening in any given moment.
Yet, the evidence before us speaks louder than our protestations over it: we do not know what is "right." We only think we do because within us lives a nature that can, and always does, point to what is wrong with the moment before us.
So what are we to do with what life brings to us -- that we are sure just isn't "right" -- especially when we can look out and see so many horrible things taking place on our planet? This is not to say we should disregard negative conditions, only that things are the way they are in the moment in which we see them unfold. And let there be no doubt about this: negative reactions make nothing better. In fact, we serve to accelerate the unwanted effect of any condition that we resist because -- by our identification with it -- we unknowingly become a part of what we don't want!
This much should be obvious: something that lives in the "dark" of us is hard at work, creating the illusion that the way to change or control what disturbs us is to not want it. But no moment can be different than it is; whether we like it or not means nothing, and our distaste for it changes nothing in what takes place before us. However, what does mean something is what we allow to happen within us in that moment, because as we are changed -- by what we see about ourselves -- so changes the moment itself.
It's what we do inwardly -- with what takes place outwardly -- that alone has the power to transform both of these worlds in a way that's truly positive for all. And when we are aware of this truth, and its vital relationship with all that is taking place, we begin to see how our true human responsibility and the higher purpose of this life are really one movement. It's why our interior work is crucial to the enlightenment of human consciousness. Our world is transformed according to our ability to take part in it this way, just as we ourselves are transformed with the world as it reveals to us the truth of ourselves.
Will we choose to be a part of life's endless beginning? Shall we enter into the incorruptible present moment -- or continue to live from a nature that clings to imagined endings so that then it can complain about whatever disturbs that dream? Can we realize that everything that happens to us does so for the one purpose of revealing to us something of our present nature... and, in so doing, invites us to transcend who we have been?
It doesn't take much to stir up suffering, but now we know a better response than to wreck ourselves. In that same instant that we feel our world being "rocked" -- instead of resisting that unwanted wave by setting out to "make things right" -- we do nothing but let go, and watch the wave run through us. We don't fight life; we observe its movements. What does it mean to "watch" these waves, instead of letting them carry us away? Here's a crucial lesson in letting go:
Fighting with, resisting any wave creates more waves. Do something new: let that wave of worry or fear rise -- and fall -- back into the darkness from which it came; and be assured it will do just that -- if we will only agree to let it run its natural course. Why should this non-action be our choice? Because if we will dare to watch the wave go its own way, then soon we will observe a true miracle: all waves return -- on their own -- back into the uncharted depths of the ocean from which they came -- but only when we watch and don't touch!
Our task is to no longer try to control or contain these waves, but to watch them come and go. We must learn how to use all of life's movements to free us from our false ideas that life can ever move against us. It cannot, any more than waves challenge the integrity of the ocean through which they move. In truth, the waves of the ocean -- of life itself -- refresh and renew the world of their origin. To know this is to cooperate with that greater consciousness that sits behind these changing forms.
See that everything in existence serves what is Good, and then choose to participate in life as it is, embracing the full moment through your awareness of it -- whatever it brings. This level of watchfulness first sees what is real, and then serves to "transform" it into the next and higher form of what is possible. This divine process is perfect; it is eternal. Its promise is that we will know its being as our own if we will do the work of awakening to the truth of ourselves.