FAITH MONTH: DAY 4: “To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.” ― Alan Wilson Watts
When I trust life to be exactly what it is supposed to be, with or without my permission or pleasure in it, I am free. I am not grasping or attempting to hang on to what is happening around me. I can live each moment as it unfolds and be present to life.
We miss a great deal when we are grasping and controlling. We are so concerned with what the outcomes will be of our little schemes and plans that we completely miss out on most of life. We are so busy working on the stories of the past and re-creating them in the future that we are miserable and unhappy and cannot understand why our successes feel so empty and inconsequential.
We may have the careers, the homes, the cars, the accoutrements of success as our culture views it, but we are not happy in our lives, miserable in our bodies, and dying in our relationships.
I am horribly uncomfortable with the word “grasping.” In the literature of recovery, we are supposed to be “grasping and developing a manner of living…”
I much prefer the idea of letting go. When we grasp, we are contracting; and this creates stress in our hearts, minds and physical/emotional bodies. No good. No happiness will ensue here. We need to flow, to float in the water, as Mr. Watts is suggesting. One of my gurus; he has been a great teacher for me.
I also love the idea of just ALLOWING life to be life, unfolding as it will. I must only prepare myself by opening up, instead of contracting.
Those who have pain conditions are familiar with this, if they are truly working to heal themselves, will discover how to use breathing and diet and exercise to do so. This is how we trust ourselves to the process that is life. I love it. I love that life has handed, and keeps handing me, these pieces to learn and change and open up to.
So many addicts are stuck in the notion that others are supposed to do this healing work for us. Pharmaceuticals and doctors and therapists. That is not how it works. They are our partners in healing, and we can do (or not do) what they suggest. But the work of healing is ours to perform.
There is no other way for these things to happen. We learn to relax and float or we live our moments in exquisite torment because we are fleeing and resisting and grasping and attempting to control it all.