We've heard the phrase 'going with the flow' since the 60's... a pleasing, easy going, nice little phrase that our minds never objected to. Somewhere along the line, we heard or read that we should apply this aphrorism to our dailylives. That seemed reasonable and it certainly didn't seem to have any connotations we would object to. But did we really understand what this pleasant little phrase meant? Maybe not. Let's do a little analogy here, OK? OK...
In your mind, imagine a stream like the one pictured .... Imagine yourself as a tiny little sailor aboard a tiny little boat going downstream. We will skip over 'past sailing experiences' for this little analogy type story, just Be Here Now.
You are sailing along. The sailing is going smoothly even though you sometimes tend to over-focus on some mishaps from the past. But, it's a nice day. Suddenly you see a large twig in the water in front of you. Nothing serious. You push it out of the way. Sailing. Sailing.
Oops. There is a rock right in your path and you can't avoid it...crash! You become angry. Not fair, you cry. Who put that stupid rock there! You could have get around it more easily, but you refuse to stop being angry. You scream and shout...Finally, getting tired of fighting the stiuation, you work on steering around it...Wisely, you take the side that is easiest to navigate....Ah...smooth sailing once again.
Then it starts to rain. Grumpily, you find some shelter, bemoaning that you won't reach your destination before sunset. Your mind starts constructing all these negative little scenarios about what "will probably happen' as a result of your interupted schedule. You sit there so caught up with your focusing on bad outcomes that you don't realize the rain has stopped... You wise up. Head out for the middle of the stream again. OK... not so bad. Okey dokey...
You look overhead and see these big govcorp fish that like to gobble up everything in sight. Bad fish. They shouldn't exist. All they do is cause trouble. You start yelling at them and get the attention of the biggest gobbler-upper of all!...NOW he is coming straight toward you. You start paddling for shelter as fast as your teeny little oars will allow... Fortunately you escaped. Probably should have just let them be instead of making so much noise and attracting their attention, eh? Probably so.
Once again, you are on your way. You stare straight ahead -- where is the stream!? OH NO...it's a drop off!... what if you overturn and drown! You fret and stew and just know its all hopeless; after all, you HAVE to know what lies ahead, right? You feel a little drop. Nothing too upsetting...that was it. All your agonizing was for nothing. But after all, it COULD have been worse!-- you say, justifying your overreaction...
You realize you are being passed up by other tiny people in a bigger boat. Are they laughing at you? Are they talking about you? You are a good tiny person. You deserve a bigger boat, too. Life just isn't fair. Now you are in a bad mood and not watching where you are going and you crash right into a beaver dam! There you are! Stuck. It was those other tiny peoples fault. It takes forever to dislodge your little boat and then when you do, you see damage! You refuse to accept that all you'll have to do is make some small repairs to your boat. You tell all the passerbys that stop to chat all about the beaver dam...Dumb beavers. Other tiny people really don't seem to care. They are just not as spiritual as you are. Dumb, unevolved, tiny people. They are insensitive to your situation, otherwise they would care!
Minutes, days, weeks, months pass (see...in this story time-lines are not important...) You have been sailing along and once again, all seems well. Then you frown. You don't like the looks of the area you are approaching. It's dark, hard to see the rocks and where the drops and other dangerous obstacles might be hiding. Huge shade trees overhead block out the sunlight. You can barely see a thing. You just know something bad will happen.... and sure enough...you find yourself high and dry...on a pile of pebbles. Life is just not fair. You struggle with decisions...The wrong move could destroy your boat... You just lose it, and keep crying WHY ME? WHY did this happen! This drains so much of your energy you can't evoke any calm or reasonable decisions... Finally, you free yourself and are once again afloat.
Its so dark and you wonder what will happen next. Tears run down your tiny cheeks. Some gigantic monster of a bird flies overhead squawking...It literally scares you out of your self-pitying moo. For awhile you concentrate on how lucky you were to escape that big bird. But--Why did it happen? Life sucks for tiny people. If you ever figure out who to blame you will hold them accountable. Probably the ones that governmentally rule this stream. After all, it's there job to make things easier for you. Baaaad rulers!
Back in the sunlight after a strange night of the soul. You won't soon forget that! You'll tell all your friends (the tiny people who are 'evolved') all about your troubles and narrow escapes. THEY will understand.
Smooth sailing once again, you start to relax...THEN!--you can't believe your eyes!! You knew something was up because your boat stopped moving...Stagnant water. So many people talked about the troubles and woes of Stagnant Water. This is bad. Really bad. This time there is good reason to be really upset....You paddle around the corner and lo and behold! --a giant group of boulders is blocking the stream. There doesn't seem to be any way around them...You are afraid and anxious...All you can see are those huge, mountainous boulders. You can't go back...you furiously paddle around, looking for an escape route. What was that? You hear someone calling to you! "Hello there! Come over here! Here we are!" You squint and keep staring until you see a group of tiny people waving to you from an outjutting rock. Looks like a whole community of tiny people!
Curious, you paddle towards them. They are anxious to speak to you and they welcome you. You find yourself drinking coffee and talking with other tiny people who have had your same lousy, scarey experiences...some even worse! One says: "We just gave up. We live here now. It's not what we really wanted, but we're making out OK." You are simply amazed. You ask if they don't want to go on. No. They are satisfied. Nothing is worth the risk or taking a chance. Have others escaped from this place, you ask? Well, yes, some...but we don't know what happened to them. In some ways you think this is all good. But something about it bothers you.
You decide to live with this stranded community of tiny people for awhile. What seems to hold you together is sharing your bad luck. At least they understand! It all seems OK to just stay and hang out.
Once inawhile a tiny people with come around to talk to you about how to leave this place. When you are quiet and listen...they are there... But they disappear when the familiars come around. It's not that you dislike these people. They are quite accomodating. Some have built luxurious little dwellings. Food is abundant. The entertainment is boring, however...and you long for some kind of stimulation. It is then when the UNfamiliars speak to you and encourage you to search. Sometimes you feel inspired to do so. Sometimes you think you have found a way out. But you don't believe you can make it. It feels like you have stuck your oars in the mud and are refusing to go anywhere. Plus, you are tiring of everything in this little town of Blamaulstance...a word derived from other little communities of Blame and Fault and Circumstance.
You tell the tiny townspeople you are moving on. They think you are making a mistake. You didn't really expect their approval... but strangely, their disapproval actually feels encouraging! You thanked them, and left. They said you'd be back.
You work hard at finding a way and discover the more upset your are the worse things become. You are also beginning to see that they way you think is actually influencing what you DO see! Strange! But, hey... kind of interesting, too. Realizing you can always 'go back' and start over,--and that its actually OK!-- you start to relax. You start to dream, to imagine, to think thoughts of what it could be like on 'the other side of these boulders.' Soon new passages, new routes begin appearing... Wonderful! You feel a bit of excitement. Accepting that it is OK just to be exactly where you are is very freeing and seems to help a lot! ...and it doesn't drain your energy. This feels good.
You close your eyes, lay back and relax. You know there will be rocks and twigs, and dams, and big birds in life but!--right NOW everything is just fine. So why not enjoy it.
The sun feels very warm. You sit up and look around. Where are you?!... You are floating in the middle of a beautiful and sparkling stream...You look around. Where are the big boulders? You should be able to see them for your position...but you can't. Weird. You look ahead and start to...no!! You are not going to worry, fret, or stew about what's ahead. Here is beautiful. This counts... You espy a few other boats. Tiny people wave to you. 'Nice day," they say. It's nice to have company. As you draw near them you realize something really feels good about these people. This is good.
"Where are you headed?" you ask some of them. "They all say we are all just going with the flow... "...and some are going to have a picnic, and some are going to work, and some are shopping, and some are ... well, you know how life is.
Going with the flow. I like that, you say to yourself...and smile.