Robin Williams had a way of bringing our anxieties out into the open so that we could see how absurd we can be! Laughter enlarges vision.
How often do we dread that “awful” thing just waiting around the corner for us? We live in the fear of what might happen next, when we really do not know what the outcome will be.
Predictions are really unreliable regardless of the present facts.
What we can be sure of is that something will happen!
We can also know that whatever is happening at this moment is in the process of disappearing at some point along the way.
But does this equate with a dire outcome?
When we believe our fears and anxieties, we suffer.
Are we aware that when things leave something new that will prove to be beneficial and wholesome is on the way? It just isn’t visible yet.
The truth is that we don’t know the actual outcome of anything that is taking place at this moment—even sickness or death. We only guess.
We may think of death in two different ways.
Perhaps we want to escape from what is painful, or we fear death as something most undesirable, disastrous, and the very thing we try in every way to avoid.
But we don’t really know what happens when we leave this body.
We don’t know the outcome. It’s unknown.
Since not knowing makes most of us uncomfortable, we often just want to latch onto something, however unsatisfactory or untrue.
The safest, sanest thing we can do is to let go of whatever we think will happen, stop, breathe, and remember we can only live in this one moment. This breath.
Nothing happens next.
This is a great though often ignored truth. The future hasn’t yet arrived and the past is gone.
But how often do we rest ourselves in the present moment without jumping into what we imagine may happen next?
When the future arrives it will be NOW. The future is a figment of our imagination. We can’t live in a “next” that is never present.
We can pay attention to this moment in new ways, however.
By that I mean pay attention to what we normally don’t see. Look for what we are missing. See with new eyes. This is wise attention.
The Buddha has called this “beginners mind.”
Sometimes in the midst of a very painful experience we think, “This will never go away. I’ll always have to live this way.”
How do we know? Of course, we don’t.
These thoughts causes suffering, for they are filled with dread. And when we pay attention to what our body is doing with these attitudes, we find that it is contracted and under stress.
Also when we are in a pleasant state, we might want it to last forever and try to hang onto it—or create another just like it.
This too is painful, for nothing lasts. Check out the body senses and find how it is straining with the effort to make clutch onto something that is impermanent.
All we have to stand on is reality itself, which is right here, now, and is always changing, dissolving with every exhalation.
Each moment as something leaves, something new is being born.
The truth is that the way things are right now is the only way they could be, given the causes and conditions out of which it has formed.
Things could not possibly be other than they are, whether they please us or not.
We can’t “unchoose” whatever is happening this moment.” It’s already here!
But we can plant new seeds. This is our innate power!
We can plant a seed of trust, of lovingkindness, of appreciation for life, and nurture it. It will grow, and into what—we don’t know.
The outcome is unknown.
But all seeds produce after their kind.
What do we really desire? Fear or love? A heart filled with compassion, or anger and greed?
“Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions,” as Hafiz has written.
So whatever our present plans and thoughts might be, I suggest we reach out and give the unknown a real handshake. Invite it in.
And let go of expectations.
Yes, there is sadness and a feeling of loss when things don’t work out the way we envisioned and hoped.
Can we embrace those feelings of disappointment with friendliness, holding the sad, frightened child within us with love and compassion?
Our feelings and emotions need to be acknowledged, experienced and touched with love.
Embracing things as they are and giving up the idea that we know what will come next creates space for freedom and joy.
Whatever is to come is presently unknown by our consciousness
But spaciousness, freedom, is here, and it’s real. It’s so much greater than our fears.
None of us can possibly know what the future holds, but we have 14 billion years of grace behind us.
To me this means we can trust the unknown. It has brought us safely to this moment. Yes, there was plenty of dying and being reborn, but that’s what life is.
It’s how we got here, and this loving energy will take us into the future.