Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be like a child, “yield to the current of life,” “go with the flow,” “unencumbered by baggage?” To travel light as lightest you possibly could? But life, through time, bogs us down or we bog ourselves down with unnecessary things that look necessary to us. We fight, we struggle, we insist on what we want. We kill each other over who’s right and who’s wrong. We don’t have the answers and we ask the wrong questions.
It’s tiring to carry all that. Let me stop and unload, read as much as I can to get garbage out and please stop the garbage in. We wait, we surrender and find the karaoke song that keeps us calm and sane. We look for signs not realizing it’s been inside us all along because we keep looking outward, distracted by the stormy dramas regurgitated by our minds, spat out as catastrophes when they are infinitesimal, except for those that do justify our attention. How do you choose the battles to win the war?
Because the situation is quite unbloggable, let me quote liberally from Mark Harrison’s articles, again.
Developing excellent relationships is often about understanding why people behave the way they do, not from our perspective, but from theirs, and helping them to find a more productive behavior by giving them new resources. Everyone is doing the best they can, given what they have.
If a relationship is going badly, the best approach is always to think about your own behavior and how to change it. At a position of ‘cause,’ you have the ability to improve things – by seeking to understand the other person’s perspective, by listening to them, using their terms of reference and communicating on their level.
Never label people based on their behavior. This is not helpful in developing good relationships. Behavior changes all the time as we learn and grow. Bad, unproductive and ‘stuck’ relationships can be turned around when we take responsibility and learn to be proactive.
I had a problem with noisy neighbors. They live in the apartment above me; they bang about, drag furniture and sing loudly. I don’t understand why they behave this way: I have explained to them several times that I am disturbed by their behavior, and yet, a year after they moved in, there was no change. I don’t see why they can’t try to be a bit quieter but, despite my best efforts, the situation did not improve.
When we submit to the natural flow of things, observing and allowing life to carry us, rather than trying to use force to change things around us, the world seems to become a more peaceful and supportive place. Indeed, submission is the only sensible option. Of course, we tend to think of submission as a weakness -‘giving up’ is synonymous with failure. But, when we ‘give up’ our tendency to label, to explain, to control, things start to work.
From Awareness by Anthony de Mello:
Don’t change: Desire to change is the enemy of love.
Don’t change yourselves: Love yourselves as you are.
Don’t change others: Love all others as they are.
Don’t change the world: It is in God’s hands and he knows.
And if you do that change will occur
Marvelously in its own way and in its own time
Yield to the current of life unencumbered by baggage.