The Moment Is Our Only Guide

I had a woman ask me recently how she can make a decision when she doesn’t know what the immediate future will bring. As for many of us presently, there was an inner as well as outer sense of unrest in her life.

It was demanding her growth through some challenging circumstances beyond her control. It can be taxing in a culture that fears change and breeds complacency to constantly listen to the inner voice and not to run on autopilot.

A great example of this is our melting economy and how we are all being lulled back to sleep into an unsustainable cycle of consumption and debt as if everything is back to normal. We have to recognize that this inner as well as outer chaos is not something to be feared but rather something to befriend and be informed by. Chaos does bring with it a message and direction that will lead to a different way of being within and without. I find that at this time we need to have the patience, courage and wisdom to leave open the space and live with the unknown before the new reveals itself. We usually get one piece of information at a time when we are moving to a more authentic space. For example we might get that we need to change our job, home or relationship but no other information. Generally, we need to act on that one piece until the next piece is revealed. This is not some cruel joke or test by our psyche but rather the only way something new can be revealed. Otherwise we will be back where we were internally but with new surroundings. This is difficult for our egos since our tendency is to want to fill it with the old as soon as some neurotic behavior gets loose from its mooring and we feel uncomfortable in the newness or unknown. It takes courage and constant vigilance to live empty until the new reveals itself unto us, one piece at a time.

Let me explain what this can look like with a pedestrian example in my own life. Last week I was holding a meditation gathering at a temple where I have been holding it for about a decade now. A mass email was sent out several days prior for the Sunday evening event. I usually tend to get there an hour before to prepare the space and it was at this time that I realized I could not find the key to the place. The person whose space it is was traveling in India and I was not sure if he was back yet. Several unanswered phone call later I was still without a response or the key. In that moment, I had to surrender to the two pieces of information that I had: there was a gathering to be held with no way of reaching every one in time to tell them of the predicament and that there was no way to access the space. As I checked in, I got that I just need to go and sit by the door of the temple. I have learned not to limit the possibilities so I just sat in front of the door of the space and informed people as they were gathering that there was no key. There was fifteen minutes left before the start time and one of the attendees had managed to find a space for the group that can range from twenty five to eighty people several blocks away. Not an easy task on a Sunday evening in Manhattan within a fifteen-minute time limit. And another was on the verge of finding another space when I got a call from the man with the key saying that he had indeed just gotten back from India. After a rush dash to and fro, the space was opened five minutes after the designated time.

So to break it down: I get that it was time to hold a meditation gathering and send out a mass email. That is the first piece of information. Then the day of and several hours before I find I have no key. That is the second piece of information and the place where I have to surrender into helplessness and work on not getting anxious about it since after all, I am helpless. I check in again and get that I need to show up at the temple’s door, but I have no solution or expectation. That is the third piece of information. Then the situation resolves itself. It could have just as well been that every one had to go home, then that would have been what was needed by the group psyche. The tricky part is to get the ego’s desire of what resolution needs to look like out of the way.

The important thing here is not to limit the outcome; not to see a worst or best case scenario. We do all we can with the information at hand, making room for our helplessness while keeping an eye out for underlying anxiety. Order, disorder, chaos which then leads to a new order. Our souls are beckoning. How are you answering?

Photo by Courtney Somer

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