I have a lot of plans, but at the moment they’re dormant, or tightly in bud. In time, I know, the bud will open and blossom…but until that time, you just have to sit tight and let it be. The tree with the buds on it doesn’t get upset that the buds haven’t opened yet – it doesn’t convince itself that it ‘should’ have happened by now and get upset that it hasn’t.
Nope, it’s fine with what IS, because what IS really is what ought to be! Only if the tree had a mind would it get upset, thinking it knew better than the actual process of life itself. Mind is both a blessing and an affliction (if it’s untamed, that is). This Buddhist saying sums it up so beautifully: “the mind is a great servant but a terrible master.”
Thankfully the tree doesn’t have to contend with mindstuff, so it’s just content to be with what is. The buds open when they open. There’s no attempt to rush it, no concerns about what it thinks ‘should’ be; it’s just at one; at one with itself and with the process of life.
I’ve recently been re-reading the Tao Te Ching and the real essence is to get back in touch with nature; to observe the natural processes unfolding and to get back in harmony with that, with the essence of life. It doesn’t fret or struggle, it just unfolds. It flows with what is. When it’s sunny a flower open its petals, when it’s dark it closes them. No recriminations, none of this ‘life isn’t fair’ mentality the human mind so easily slips into…it just accepts and rolls with it.
This approach helps greatly in dealing with life’s bumps and bruises. Whenever I feel lousy and am about to descend into a whole load of mindcrap, engaging in all the old stories “this isn’t fair, I should be feeling better than this, I should be in a different place doing different things, this shouldn’t be happening…” I usually manage to stop it and just come back to the simplicity of what is. The fact is that IT IS! No amount of argument and complaining will change that. I try to accept. Then, if there’s something I can do about it, I do it. If there’s nothing I can do, I just have to accept it all the more.
Arguing with reality hurts…and it’s not an argument you’re ever going to win.
Again, that doesn’t mean becoming apathetic and nihilistic. I guess that’s a trap you could fall into, but ultimately you need to find a balance. The trick is to be in a state of non-resistance to what is (because frankly resistance causes pressure and it hurts — and ultimately exhausts you) and yet also do what you can to change an undesirable situation if that’s what you want to do. I try to do what I can to help various causes, mainly relating to cruelty perpetrated against animals and our fellow man and the environment. At the same time, I have to try to accept it to begin with, because when I get upset about it I lose balance, my energy dips and energy that could be better spent helping is wasted on grief and despair. So I accept the inhumanity and then act to change it, signing whatever petitions I can, writing whatever letters I can, raising awareness, then letting it go.
I guess the lesson I’ve learned from it all is a simple one, yet one that’s worth its weight in gold: accept what is, stop fighting life, yet follow your heart and do what you feel you must, while remaining in a state of inner non-resistance.
You have to bend with life. Resistance exhausts and eventually cripples you.
The strongest trees are the ones that bend in the wind, whereas older, more rigid trees are more likely to be broken. Another lesson from the Tao. Life can only break you when you’re being rigid and unyielding, when you’re resisting and trying to put up a fight to stand your ground. Let the wind blow you around a bit if it wants to; you won’t stop the wind by putting up a fight. Allow it to be there and allow it to pass. Don’t let life break you by your own rigidness and inflexibility. It is what it is, it happens as it happens and it passes as it passes. Even nature in all its might cannot create a storm that will last forever, or even for very long at all.