In surrendering the illusion that we are in control we must take the greatest risk of all.
The essential challenge is twofold – to surrender both our will and our life.
You are not the centre of the universe, you just think you are.
Most of our judgments and opinions are negative ones. The way of the world, according to us, is essentially disappointing in nature. It has, by and large, failed to live up to our expectations.
We are driven by our egos, our intransigence and our fears, and we are presumptuous, selfish, and self-centered in making judgments about the nature of our world, and we do it constantly, about everything.
We learn much about our strengths and our capabilities when faced with trial and adversity.
George Bernard Shaw once said: “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig, you get dirty; and besides, the pig likes it.” Cute, only this particular philosophical pig doesn’t “like” anything; it just is.
It’s certainly exciting putting on your armour every morning and soldiering off into the world, ready to do battle in defence of the fair maidens that are your rights, your demands, your expectations, your wishes, your needs, and your opinions.
When focusing exclusively on a challenging problem or an emotional difficulty in any area of our lives we tend to become obsessive and stubborn.
What’s wrong? It may be the result of either a desperately unhappy emotional crisis, or a series of inexplicable and seemingly unrelated little ones, or from the simple desire to live a more functional and contented life, or a combination of all three.
There is no guardian spirit or higher power of authority that will validate the choices we make in life.
Certain people have the mechanisms – innate, learned, or divined – to cope. Others don’t, but acknowledging that fact is the first step to doing something about it.
You might think I’m avoiding a paradox at the heart of this relatively straightforward proposal, but I’m not. Here it is:
Denial and misdirection are powerful obstacles. We will either assure ourselves that we don’t have a problem, or that the problem is not us.
If we have an opinion about or emotional reaction to any problem then we are already personally involved.
Despite the best will in the world, we are always liable to undermine the principles of any decision for selfish ends or fearful reasons, and with a solid justification for doing so readily prepared.
What is a decision, and what sort of decision are we making in this case? The famous, elusive, and sometimes derided, “Decision in Principle” is at this point probably no more than a statement of intent, which is a resolution to carry out some action at some future time.
The basic premise with which we began was that much that we experience in life is impossible to control, manage, or direct according to our wishes, and that our failure to admit this fact and desist was in large part responsible for making in so.
The primary cause of our discontent is the incorrect and misguided application of our will.
Accepting things as they are and being OK with it is a statement implicitly about me, not the event or the situation. Whatever it is is a physical fact in the world and our opinion alone does not change it.