July 29, 2010 § 1 Comment
We take such liberties with those we love. Why is it that, at a random point in our relationship, we suddenly decide that our way of doing things and our choices must be those of our partner? Maybe, for some of us, that perspective, that we must know best at all times, was always present- dormant, simmering, ready to spring to life as soon as we decided that we’d achieved a deep enough level of intimacy with another person to be able to start influencing their lives on a regular basis.
The reasons for this egoic projection onto the ones we love are usually important in order to cease its continuance but whether or not we ever understand why we project our fears and desires onto others, the unavoidable, sometimes unpalatable truth is this:
We don’t know what’s best for someone else.
That can be a tough one for some of us, this writer included. How about this doozy:
No one’s path is the same as ours, nor is their way of walking it.
Would we want it any other way? Would we want someone telling us how to live our lives, judging and criticizing us for doing things our own unique way?
Of course we can have good ideas and suggestions for others that may help them to make optimal choices related to the expansion and richness of their lives, but ultimately anything we can tell someone else has to be personalized by them, for it to be of functional use. We all potentially have wisdom to share that may be of benefit to someone else, but even in the event of their receiving it, they still must internalize, personalize it and make it their own and therefore will apply it in their own way which by necessity will make its external manifestation different to ours.
This is the miracle of individualization. The miracle of life manifesting itself in untold, infinite ways. No drop of water will flow in exactly the same way, given the freedom to move in any direction. When we live from this perspective, fascination can flower within us and judgment swiftly ceases to be an exercise worth indulging in; instead, we open our minds and hearts to the reality as it is of others, not as we think it is supposed to be.
I took surfing lessons a year ago and two moments, repeated over and over again out on the water, stood out to me. The first is how patient the other surfers were, sitting out there on their boards. Having caught a wave, they would then return to their spot and wait. Just wait. I marvelled at all of these people, quietly and contentedly looking out to the horizon, their faces soft and peaceful. It seemed to me that they had accessed that inner state of acceptance. No amount of inner argument or screaming at the gods would bring them catchable swells any sooner. I asked myself, “how many of these people will get in their cars and start blasting their horns at other drivers? Exhale in frustration at amber lights turning red? Stew in dissatisfaction over something concerning their partners, friends, family?” What would it mean, I wondered, to take this easy respect and acceptance of the moment into their daily lives?
The other phenomenon that occurred, was a high degree of fascination. This, to me, is one of the most valuable and rich states of being that we can achieve and, sadly, is most often lost as children move into adolescence and adulthood. A heightened state of aliveness arising from a fascination of and excitement about the living moment, the reality occurring all around us right now that is wholly unique. For the surfers, each wave would bring its own challenges and opportunities. They could and did not want to take any moment for granted; no wave would be exactly the same, and they wanted to experience the journey of each uncommon ride fully. This may sound obvious but what would it be like to live more of our day to day lives in this state? To embrace the notion, which just happens to be absolutely true, that no moment is like any other. No person is unlike any other. No choice the same. No perspective.
We rise to these heights occasionally- in moments that we perceive to be of great import, either due to events that we find desirous or dangerous. But it is the moments in between that may matter more: really hearing our lover when they express who they are in each moment, seeing our friend as if for the first time, taking every possible opportunity to let go of all the noise and be sensually mindful no matter where we find ourselves. A greater practice of this art will allow us to feel more alive and to sense the immense potentiality of every moment that is given to us. It is the paramount antidote to ‘same shit, different day.’
Acceptance. Fascination. Wonder. May we all be as curious and non-judgmental now as we were when we were children. We live in a world that has swung in the direction of defensiveness, cynicism and an all too frequently jaded view of life. But the joyous, spontaneous, fascinated part of us that is always ready to dance is always present, even when seemingly buried. It is present in us all right now, no matter how many ‘cares and responsibilites’ we may think we own, or whatever reputation we think we need to protect.
Cynicism grown from life’s challenging, difficult lessons transforms into wisdom and vulnerability and openness from something perceived as weakness into great assets, allowing us to have richer, more meaningful inner lives.
We need only make the choice.