All of my life, I have suffered at the forces of my own mind and lacked the ability or will power to focus on one thing at a time. Always, my mind jumps to the future. I am good at letting go of the past and letting bygones be bygones, but always, I look forward to the future. This creates much stress and tension because I am unable to concentrate on the whereabouts of my own two feet in the present moment and often I stumble.
As I grow older, bit by bit, I learn to let go of what I cannot control. I have learned that just because I have a plan, does not mean, the results will be as I planned. One blog of a yoga teacher, Karson at happy-u.org of San Diego, describes this feeling:
Every day, I make it the 1.5 blocks to the ocean to grab a piece of perspective. To remember my size in the grand scope of things, to see God’s work in the beautiful horizon, and to breathe in the fresh energy of the Pacific. More often than not, there are surfers out there (see those little dots up there?). And even more often, I see them sitting on their surfboards, NOT riding the waves. They are waiting… patiently waiting and trusting that the waves will come. Sometimes, a wave comes and they watch it pass. Sometimes, they ride it. Sometimes they fall, sometimes, they ride it all the way in. They know that they cannot choose when the waves will come, the ocean does that. So rather than forcing waves, they ride them as they come. And if a wave never comes, they try again tomorrow.
This is surrender… The fifth of the Niyamas, Ishvara Pranidhana.
I find the need “to surrender to the waves” in my life now.
“We are so much more than where we came from, where we live, what we studied, what we have done and what’s been done to us,” Kelly Connor of Sunrose Yoga in Portland wrote. We cling to our stories of our past and to the plans for the future because those images give us the illusion of certainty. I was always uncomfortable with uncertainty. When it is time for dinner or bed, do you have the ability to put down a novel before you’ve reached the end or to turn off the TV before you’ve found out “whodunnit”? I do not. How does someone so uncomfortable with uncertainty find happiness?
When you were a child, did you ever hide and cry when the people in the house were watching scary movies? I did. I remember also, as a child, hiding in a back bedroom in tears while everyone else in the living room was watching a documentary on the history of the creation of our universe on The Discovery Channel. I thought of the universe and all of its uncertainty a scary place.
The day after I turned 20 (years old), while learning how to drive, I drove my boyfriend’s car off a cliff. We took our survival as a sign that our young relationship was meant to be and eloped even though I should have had deep misgivings because I have never believed in taking what was not mine, and his heart belonged to another. I believed naively that I had found my one and only true love. I discovered firsthand, that despite what society may imply, “happily ever after” definitely does not come from marriage!
After the end of that marriage, I pursued what I thought would be a steady career that would end uncertainty. I would find a stable job and settle down and have kids. I had worked my “dream job” for a couple of years and was ready to buy a house and adopt kids when life happened: I lost my job. I was quick to find a new and similar job and quick to lose it as well in a turn of events that I could neither foresee nor control. Buddhist monk and author Jack Kornfield stated,“The realm of form is a realm of change.”
All of my adult life, I have been attached to my status as a married woman or a teacher. I’ve been attached to what I cannot hold on to. I became a teacher to save the world and sometimes I think, I should have studied science because then I could really save the world. Now, I realize I cannot save the world and I do not intend to! The world is not here for me to save. It is simply here to carry and transmute those within It. I choose to trust Our Universal Intelligence in all of It’s mystery, wit, awe, irony, ugliness and beauty to transform and use me as It sees fit, accepting the world and those within It as We are. I choose to live as much as I can with the wonder and wide-eyed infectious joy of a child inspired by each ray of sunshine, each moonbeam, drop of rain, each imbuement and curve of the rainbow…
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”