Passion’s Flow — passion for life is all about what we look at… being alive not as difficult as it seems. Featuring ideas from my most popular book, This Endless Moment 2nd. edition
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“Underneath all the wanting and grasping, underneath the need to understand is what we have called “the body of fear.” At the root of suffering is a small heart, frightened to be here, afraid to trust the river of change, to let go in this changing world.”
After the Ecstasy, the Laundry,
Jack Kornfield, p. 213
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I remember an interesting moment with a friend of mine.
We were discussing a mutual friend, and she mentioned that the mutual friend was really concerned about something or other — was making herself sick over it –
that there was this big, deep problem. She asked me how I saw the situation.
I replied, “Yeah, I do remember her saying something about that, but I didn’t really listen, and I don’t much care.”
My friend, I think, had a moment of not really liking me. She was incensed at what she saw as my unfeeling and uncaring attitude.
I said, “And now you’re upsetting yourself over my reaction to a situation that’s not about you. I don’t care because the situation, while is seems critical, isn’t all that important. Knowing her, next week she’ll be miserable about something else.”
There’s an old joke about this new psychiatrist who rides up in the elevator each morning with an older, practiced psychiatrist. At night they ride down together. For months, the young guy notices that the older psychiatrist seems unruffled, whereas he feels like he’s been through the mill. Finally he speaks up, “How do you look so fresh at night having seen clients and heard all of their terrible tales?” The older psychiatrist says, “Who listens?”
OK, I’m being flip here. And yes, I do listen. I’m noted, in fact, for my memory. I’m not trying to be smart when I do this. I’m trying to point out the inconsistencies of life, due to time and change.
One of the more interesting life lessons is learning to swim in a sea of change. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus reminded us that you can never step into the same river twice. Many people fervently don’t want to hear this. Acceptance of this would require doing away with two things:
- the belief that we can control the world by making it stay the same, and
- the belief that we know anything at all.
Or, as it’s said — wisdom is being, not knowing.
Our topic — living life more passionately — is actually a walk into “not knowing.”
We all have things we wish we didn’t do; things we wish we did — and we want those behaviours to change — forever. But as we said last week, none of us can change our nature. What we can change, moment by moment, (if we choose to,) is what we do this time.
That was why I didn’t take my friend’s distress seriously.
I laugh a lot about my dramas, and I hope that others will laugh at theirs. My friend had a pattern of making every situation awful. That’s her baseline, her non-changeable self. What she misses or “forgets” is that all situations change.
Something happens, boom, it’s awful. Until the next awful thing comes along. Then she forgets the first one, and the new thing comes “front and centre.”
To her, it seems that she is forever trapped in a relentlessly awful life — and she had trained our mutual friend to buy into her belief.
By stepping back, we can see that there is a river of experience flowing by. Nothing is the same. Experience upon experience. And each experience is neutral. Until she grabs an experience and “awfulizes” it.
Now, the opposite of this would be to simply be with each experience as it emerges, and to choose what, if anything, to do with it.
I know people who endlessly resist change, resist not knowing. To do so, they universalize. “He always treats me …” She never want to … ” “Everyone thinks I’m …”
There people want me to buy into their belief that there is no choice. In truth, there is always choice. If we choose …
It’s not that nothing is happening and everything is the same. The question is, are we willing to notice the flow of experience?
Our lack of passion for life, our lack of passion in loving, is about our pre-judgement (prejudice) that nothing will ever change. As soon as we allow for change to be possible, voila, we notice that change is all over the place.
This sort of choiceful looking occurs all the time, if we will but open our eyes and pay attention. A friend wrote:
I was watching the sky tonight as I drove home and the beauty brought tears to my eyes. The clouds were at all different levels and the sun was setting…vibrant blue sky with big puffy and layered clouds of dark and light purple and pink and orange and…ahhhh, glorious indeed! I was also noticing my thoughts…ranging from scaring myself to creating immense peace and joy…this is real living…a slice of life as a dear soul once described to me. I felt like I was expanding into the sky. I don’t think I ever created that experience for myself before.