Everyone I know wishes they could unload some habit or something persisting that they don’t want any more.
Don’t we all have stuff that would be amazing to be rid of- physical, mental or emotional?
Thanks to the new era of holistic therapies that promise to root out anything from toxic metals to toxic traumas it seems that anything is absolutely possible. But yet, no matter how earnest anyone is to make these shifts, some people succeed and some stay right where they are… just more frustrated for the trying.
I’ve seen- based on experience not just a wishy-craft Utopian desire- that anything can truly be transformed. And there’s only one “secret” to success- beyond taking real action- that has seperated the successful from the frustrated and disgruntled in my own life.
Years ago I was in Mexico in a creative envronment with some of the most incredible artists alive. It was a hot Summer and the heat was on to get done with a massive project with no margin for error and many minds seeking exceptional results. The subject of drugs came up off-handedly… drugs as a way to be more creative. There were no drugs there, so it was more philisophical…
“If you want to take the ride be willing to go on the ride. Once you are on you have to surrender to the trip.”
Durgs don’t appeal to me, nor do I recommend anyone surrendering to the trip of a drug…. but the words stuck with me for 15 years.
“Once you are the ride you have to surrender to the trip.”
That’s been the secret to making things happen where real change is involved.
Real change is a trip. A trip you have to sort of sink into fully.
If you keep fighting it or trying to modulate it or numb it, you won’t get to the other side of it.
This analogy rings true to me. Fill your hands with stuff. Pick up as much as you can hold of stuff you are used to holding all day. Now… imagine you are trying to pick up the one thing you’ve always wanted. Right now, with your hands full.
You can’t. You can’t hold another thing in your hands, in your mind, in your imagination, in your heart, in any metaphical or real place if you are committed to holding fast to the stuff you are holding now.
But…. you may not want to let things go.
If that’s the case, enjoy what you have. Stop reaching so much. It’s probably amazing to have the life you have now and you should enjoy it fully. And that’s the best thing we can all ask for, right?
But, if there are non-amazing things that you are holding onto- worries, patterns of stress, physical stuff that you don’t want to deal with, lots of extras- you are filling your “hands” with stuff. And then all those things you try to start, the new loves, the new careers, the new adventures…. they have no place to be.
Being willing to change means being willing to change.
Your body may fight it madly.
Your habits may chase after you.
Your full hands might hold on really tighly to the familiar.
You might get worse before you get better.
You can’t go on the trip, you can’t surrender to the ride, if you are tense, eager to modulate things or unwilling to sit in the unknown.
I used to think I knew how things should unfold. I plotted it all carefully.
My first Buddhist pilgramage to Japan promised to be amazing. I saw sparks flying, incredible truths being revealed to me, awesome days hanging out in paradise. That was my vision and I wouldn’t have gone had I not so carefully crafted my own transformation in my mind.
It rained 90% of the time. I felt sick for half of it. I was confused, got lost and when I finally had the chance to sit in front of the greatest mandala in the world I started crying and didn’t stop for most of the day. I wanted to go home. I had had enough. No more suffering. No more, no more… But there was much more… grueling days of thoughts I didn’t want to see and no way to easily get out and go home. This did not match the picture in my mind of a life-changing experience, but I started to crave it… I started to see things in full color that were dragging me down for years… The clarity became somethiong beautiful…
One day, it stopped raining. Things were light. The rest of the trip was easy. My mind was quiet. I didn’t feel the weight of thoughts that plagued me before this adventure. And I came home to a world that was so light and bright I was astonished.
From that moment on I stopped predicting how and what I would be willing to experience and started living it. I also became deeply committed to surrendering to the experience of change. My life with Buddhism changed. My life truly ignited.
I see people simultaneously asking for the new and fighting the new all at once. Its common. Having done it for most of my life I now become intrigued to see how universal this impulse is…
Try controlling a relationship and see how well that works (it doesn’t, not at all). Try controlling your creative process and see if that brings you a masterpiece (also, doesn’t work).
Get out of the prediction business and get into the trip of things.
If you want to anticipate or expect anything, expect and anticipate an amazing end to the journey… You just can’t anticipate every step along the way.
My friends sent me to a famous healer and noone would tell me “how it worked.” Had they told me I never would have gone. I would have tried to avoid certain parts of that two hour adventure. I never would have been present for the experience, consumed by fear. I would have missed the life-altering power of the experience that still echoes through me today.
Let things go. Go on the ride. Let it all fly up and out.
You will be so happy you did!
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