“Going with the flow” is an expression we often hear and often tell ourselves we are doing. But is it really something we do? Isn’t it perhaps simply a way of being in which we are receiving life as it is without succumbing to the resistance our thoughts entice?
This past week I had the exquisite pleasure of being on retreat, an entire week devoted to exploring the nature of experience and deepening the knowing of that which we are. Going into the retreat I decided I would just go with the flow and then notice what was revealed. I also decided to re-contextualize what I have believed about ‘choice’, and instead of thinking that it was me (my mind) making choices and in charge of everything, that I would notice how my experience changed when I surrendered the perceived power of the ego to choose, and instead allowed choice to be known simply as a response to any experience life was calling for. In other words, choiceless choice.
It went something like this:
I answered the call of the ‘night-crawler’ and took some long, slow, late night drives along the river and enjoyed looking at the lights reflecting off the water…and it was peaceful.
I answered the call of a latte and found it 10 miles away in a Dunkin Donuts (with extra sugar) and I noticed the creaminess of the whole milk, the froth tickling my lips, and the sweetness of the sugar…and it was peaceful.
I answered the call of the snow and went snow-shoeing and experienced the silence of the snow, the quiet of the wooded hillsides, the openness of the fields, the effort of hard breathing in my lungs, and the wetness of my shirt as I perspired…and it was peaceful.
I answered the call of the daily 2 hour morning meditation sessions and was present to the fatigue from previous nights of interrupted sleep, to the subtle movements in my body as I breathed, to the sounds of myself and others swallowing, to the sensation that is my body, to the thoughts that rise and fall, to the love that emanates from my being…and it was peaceful.
I answered the call of the daily 2 hour discussion sessions and immersed into the inquiries and explorations of those things that veil our knowing of our true Selves, experienced the relief as questions evaporated into understanding with the subsequent feeling of roots spreading deeper and wider…and it was peaceful.
I answered the call of glasses of wine one evening with a group of people and we swam in laughter, stories and caring…and it was peaceful.
I answered the call of silence and spent hours alone in my room, staring at nothing in particular and being fully present to my entire world that began and ended inside those four little walls…and it was peaceful.
What I noticed was that the less power I gave to my mind, meaning the less I was attached to it as a reflection of who I truly am, the more humbled and expansive I felt. Peace simply can’t be squashed into the finite mind, it exists permanently and eternally as the true nature of that which we are, and regardless of the circumstances, when we are not in resistance, there is peace.
You might think it is only easy to go with the flow of pleasant experiences, but this is not so. My most profound experience of surrender, of going with the flow, was at the depth of my illness experience…and I was instantly at peace.
Go with the flow, surrender to life as it presents itself, and experiment by giving up the belief (even if just for a few hours), that you are choosing. You will be stunned by the grace you are.