Seek the wisdom that will untie your knot; seek the path that demands your whole being. Leave that which is not, but appears to be; seek that which is, but is not apparent. ~ Rumi
Most of us have considered the wisdom in going with the flow. Surely life would be much easier if only we could! If we listen to the wisdom of the ages, we are familiar with the saying that God helps those who help themselves. We are also reminded to surrender to the will of the divine, as in “I will to do Thy will.” What is correct action, then? Surrendering completely to something greater, or using our God-given minds in decision making? And if a partnership is to take place, how do we know when to step in and do our part?
Going with the flow implies living in the moment, does it not? Yet few of us of any age or persuasion have fully mastered this. Our lives seem ever pregnant with choices, many involving simply being able to function in today’s hectic world. How do we meet unplanned expenses within a limited budget? Where can we squeak in some downtime with work, community and family obligations? How are we going to meet with another’s approval, or even pull up even with our own standards?
From Ezra Bayda, in his book Being Zen: “… perhaps the one question that we don’t ask often enough is What do I have to offer?” For asking this question can lead us into a more authentic means of self expression, no matter the challenge. We can only offer what we have to give, and that contribution is unique for each of us.
The more we confront the unknown, the more The Mystery may reveal itself to us. Thus we are able to enter into a partnership with the divine. Yet even knowing this, we cannot eliminate forays into the places which frighten us. In The Places That Scare You, Pema Chodron reminds us not to use spirituality as a way to bypass fear. We cannot awaken to our true nature while making choices based on moving away from anything. Yet there is always the potential to transform fear if we can surrender to the moment. For it is there that Creation awaits our participation.
Given the complications of modern-day existence, we can embrace flow by beginning where we are, with all our petty thoughts, annoying habits and other human imperfections. Wherever we go, there we are, the old Zen saying goes. Right now is the only time in which we hold the power to make different choices. Over time – often years – we gain confidence in our ability to remain present. Surrender becomes a learned response to the challenge of the personality’s desirous nature.
Change is constant, so we might as well get used to the ground shifting under our feet. Fighting it never makes it less true. Everything is in flux at all times. When we surrender to the flow, we learn to observe life as it unfolds, often to our delight. To ask Creation to show us a sign then miss the hawk flying overhead or the book virtually popping off the shelf into our hands is to require the numinous to become mundane. We cannot expect a personal note from God to float into our hands while waiting for the bus. Surrender is key to participating in the dance of all living things, to life in the flow.
Pema Chodron suggests that even enlightenment, or being fully awake, “is just the beginning of fully entering into we know not what.” If we do not begin to confront our groundlessness, we will ever be trapped in the illusion of security and safety.