As we enter into 2017, we are experiencing more and more uncertainty in our world. Our attention is drawn ever more to the concerns of what will happen in our divisive political situation, fragile social system and our delicate climate situation. The mind tends to become more frightened and freaked and the nervous system becomes more unsettled. Then we tend to turn ever more towards the media and internet for answers and relief. Technology has brought us many gifts, but what it also does is lead us more into a distracted and fragmented way of being, disconnecting us from ourselves and the peace and serenity we long for.
I would like to pose the subject of making friends with the unknown and dancing with uncertainty. I don’t know about you but I have had plenty of that in the last period of my life. It can be destabilizing to not know where one stands, or to not be able to see the path in front of you as things keep shifting and changing.
However this is actually the truth of life. Things are uncertain; they do keep changing. As the Buddha taught; everything is impermanent, and nothing stays the same, as much as we would like it to. If you are like me, the tendency to cling to the way things were and how we would like them to be, is strong
and if you are like me, you will know by now that resisting what is, simply causes suffering. It is wise to learn that letting go is the only way to inner peace.
My father died last year, leaving a huge hole in my life and a light that went out in my world. I miss him terribly, but facing the fact of death has shone a new light on the fact that no one lives forever, and we have to make the most of each precious moment while our loved ones are here. And to come to terms with the reality of our own aging body and approaching death.The only thing that is certain is Death. All life is practice for letting go into the big uncertainty of Death.
The recent winter storms here in California left many of us without power for days at a time. A tree came down in our driveway, leaving everyone else on the street unable to get in our out for two days, until the tree was removed and the power lines could be safely removed. It was an intense situation, learning how to manage without water or power
but it made me feel grateful that I have a home and a fireplace and services that come and take care of things
and I feel enormous compassion for millions of people worldwide who daily have to deal with far more challenging situations in their lives.
Life is uncertain. We don’t know what will happen. When we make friends with the Unknown we can dance with the many changes that constantly come at us, dancing with what shows up and opening rather than closing when things don’t go our way. I am enjoying being able to land in the moment and surrender to not knowing how things are supposed to be; accepting “what is” as it shows up, and noticing when I go into inner resistance and how that affects my level of stress and peace of mind.
Right now, when things are more uncertain than ever, I invite you to take the time to slow down and connect with yourself.
Take some deep slow belly breaths and come back to a sense of sustained presence where you can meet each moment fully, and meet it as a friend.
Embrace yourself and the magnificent appearance of form in constant motion in your life. See if you can simply witness and allow the every changing nature of reality to simply be as it is.
Just for a while, turn off the cell phones, computers and other gadgets, and take some time to be with yourself and what truly nourishes you. Maybe that means being in nature, maybe it is doing a yoga class, perhaps it is going dancing
or simply spending time with friends, enjoying deep conversation (remember those times when we sat around for hours and shared a meal together as our entertainment?) You can return to the simple pleasures of life to remind you of the basic goodness of Life.