Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?
– Lao Tzu
There’s no denying that life can get hectic at times. It seems to be the nature of this particular beast.
If our day to day events and interactions weren’t enough to contend with, we also face a barrage of noise and distraction through things like technology and mass-media. We’re wired and connected like never before. I should know!!
Granted, challenges and excitement are an integral part of this amazing roller-coaster ride we call life. And yes, it is the challenges and life outside our comfort zones that help us learn and grow. Yet, I’m no fan of the hectic lifestyle. I guess it’s a personal thing, but I like calmness and clarity. It’s especially important to me as I am more productive and creative when I am not feeling rushed or overwhelmed. I also find that I relate better to others and that life even flows better when I am calm and centred.
A hectic life can result in a turbulent mind. This is certainly the case for me. When life happens, it affects how we feel and how we act. The way we feel and how we act, in turn, affects life. It is a cycle and cycles are prone to repeating themselves, unless we do something to break them. Enter my secret weapon: chilling, taking time out, simply ‘being’. This can take many forms from taking a nap, to exercising or simply taking a long walk.
We are taught that action is the way to making things better. From this perspective, taking time out might, at best, be seen as a luxury that we shouldn’t indulge in, or at worse, as a complete waste of time. Yet, more frantic trying rarely helps to make things better. Often, it only make things worse! (These observations are based on my own experience and I’ll accept that it could be different for others). In my experience, the best action in times like these seems to be inaction. Just being still. ‘Chilling’.
This brings me to the picture. I just took it today – I had this post in mind when I created it. I have to confess that the idea is not mine. I actually came across it while reading one of my wife’s books on meditation. The metaphor was so perfect and really drove home the point for me. I decided to make a picture out of what I had read and share it with you.
So back to my mind as it stands today – it’s definitely the jar on the left. Yes, the turbulent and cloudy one. I know what I want. I know what I have to do. I’m going to take a long walk to Kingston and back (that’s 3 miles each way). I will return calmer and better placed to create my life and to appreciate it.
What about you? How do you handle situations like these?