For the most part, my life is pretty sweet. I have my health, good skin, great kids, a loving husband, an inspiring career, lovely friends, my own home, and a dog who is large enough and loving enough that I could ride him to the store if my vehicle ever broke down. I’m blessed beyond reason, for sure, but I’m also human and occasionally things happen in my life that cause me stress and pain and worry and I can freak out like no one’s business.
I’m kind of having one of those epic freak outs today. It started around 3:00 this morning and is finally easing a bit now that the clock is approaching 11am. It doesn’t matter what the cause of it is (that’s not the point of this post,) but what does matter is how I look at this “crisis de jour.”
A couple of weeks ago, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was on the Today Show. When asked about life crisis and world crisis (like the oil spill,) he smiled in his infectious way and said that he was reminded of the teachings of an ancient Buddhist monk who said, “If there is something you can do, there is no cause to worry. If there is nothing you can do, there is no cause to worry,”
Back the bus up, Gus! That makes a hell of a lot of sense!
My friend, Jill, says, “If there’s nothing to do, do nothing.” Word.
The fact of the matter is that life really is that simple. If you’re freaking out and there’s something you can do about what is freaking you out, then do it. If you are freaking out and nothing can be done about what is freaking you out, do nothing. What more is there?
It all boils down to surrendering to the will of The Divine Light (or God or Elvis or The Is or The Collective Universe or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or whatever it is that is greater than you.) This is part of the 8 limbs of Yoga: it’s the 5th Niyama, Isvarapranidhama. We let go of our sense of control (because, really, control is only an illusion anyway,) and turn it over to a power greater than us which gives us a sense of wholeness, connectedness, comfort, guidance, care, and peace. Om Shanti, indeed!
So, at 3:48 in the morning, I started meditating / praying / turning it over. I put it all out there to the universe. I asked for guidance and intuition. I asked for comfort and patience. I asked for The Way to be shown to me. I surrendered my will and essentially asked The Divine Light to show me what I should do and vowed to do just that. I think I did that for at least an hour as it was after 5 before I fell back asleep.
I got up a couple of hours later and did what I could do about the situation. I did it calmly and quickly and now I wait to see what comes of it all. At this point, there is nothing else I can do, I have already done what I can, and so I will do nothing. I surrender my attachment to the outcome and have become an observer in this situation. My part in the play is over and I have exited stage left. There is a lot of peace in that.
I’m breathing easier now and I feel calm. I don’t need to meddle and tweek and manipulate and toil over things. I did what I could and now I do what I can – let go. I can let go, I can wave the white flag, and I can live without worry.
Like I said, my life is pretty sweet.