Friday, January 18, 2013
Lessons on Mastering Your Life – Letting go of the Fight (#MasteringMyLife)
The essence of #ClaimingMyself is to create freedom and empowerment which translates into the ability to actively create joy and the life I want to live. In that search I read almost continuously, finding inspiration at the oddest moments, triggered by the oddest things. The following story from the Dalai Lama is one that just would not let me go. It just seemed to connect, speaking to the constant struggle and fight that seems to be my experience of life. When asked why he didn’t fight back when the Chinese took over Tibet, the Dalai Lama looked down, swung his feet just a bit, then looked back up at us and said with a gentle smile,
“Well war is obsolete, you know!”.
Then after a few moments, his face grave, he said, “Of course the mind can rationalise fighting back…but the heart, the heart would never understand. Then you would be divided in yourself, the heart and the mind, and the war would be inside of you”
I have never before labelled the turmoil inside, ‘war’, but what if I was at war with the world ? It made sense – the conflict between what feels right and what my thoughts insist is right and it got me asking what it would take to let go of all that ? Could I let go of the fact that no-one seems to respect the traffic laws placing my life at risk speeding and overtaking dangerously ? Could I let go of the need to force the world into what it should be and accept what it is ? What about things that I fundamentally believe are wrong - Murder, rape…all those nasties ? Could I simply breathe in and let it all go ? Imagine not being responsible for changing any of that ? Imagine the freedom, the relief ? Who am I without the fight ?
The possibility of living calm, accepting serenity regardless of what is happening around me is an intriguing one. I recently started to read a series of books based in Tibet by Eliot Paterson (The Inspector Shan mysteries) in which a convicted Chinese ex-party man meets Tibetan monks in the Chinese/ Tibetan prisons. A hard read – in fact I put the first book down, unable to read about the torture and sheer decimation of Tibetan culture that the Chinese have and are enforcing. Then I picked it back up and didn’t stop reading until I had finished all five books. Somehow Paterson was able to weave in the essence of what it means to be spiritually advanced. One of the most telling moments was where Chan is describing the life of the older monks in the prison camp. He says that he wonders if for the old monks they even notice the Chinese guards and the physical conditions, torture and pain connected as they are to another world in their meditations. Their lives are simply about compassion and non-war, no fight.
My life is hardly as extreme, yet the challenge doesn’t seem any smaller for that. Can I let go ? Probably! After a long struggle with myself that exhausts me I will finally find that moment of balance and let go. It is a hard thing to let go of - being right and expecting the world to be better than it often is.
But I can’t seem to let go of it. What if ?
What would open up for you if you let go of the fight ? What would your life be like if you could remain at peace with yourself ? What would it take to create that ?