Often, events in our lives guide us to the answers we are seeking. When I was on a month long road trip in California, I had an experience that showed me, with perfect clarity, how being present in the now can destroy anxiety and doubt.
I spent an entire day in Trinidad walking and taking in the sites. It was breathtaking everywhere I looked. I spent time walking in the ocean and then took a mile hike around the point, with stops all along the way. I took my time and paused at every viewpoint, and there were a lot! I also enjoyed meditating on the beach to the sound of the ocean. Finally, after preparing and eating a meal in the park, I headed for Ashland, as I suddenly felt compelled to drive there.
By the time I left it was 4:40 and it was a 3 and 1/2 hour drive so I knew it would bring me into town just in time to find live music. I had a nice drive over there, found a great place to park, and walked right to the perfect pub with a band playing that I loved! It seemed like perfect synchronicity! It was a great example of following my feelings as to when, and whether, to leave town and head for a new destination. I was undecided until early evening, but after a quick search for music I decided to come here. And I didn’t look back!
While I listened to music I had another “synchrodence“, which is a term I like to use for a synchronistic event, as I no longer believe in coincidence. When something occurs that seems like an incredible coincidence, I simply refer to it as a synchrodence. Anyway, I got up to compliment the female singer in the band, as I had already talked to the male singer. However, as she was talking to a woman at the time it felt awkward, so I pulled back and sat back down. I wondered whether that was really what I wanted to do. Was it ego-based fear that was doing the choosing? I just sat and let it go.
Then an interesting thing happened. Instead of leaving after the set, the singer turned and went back to sit down, providing me with a potentially better opportunity to start a conversation. I found myself looking at the group sitting near the door, which included the band and a few other people and I wondered how to approach them and join the group. I felt like I was in high school again, wondering how to join the “cool” group. I immediately recognized the ego in me and laughed out loud!
It felt as though I was being given a lesson in grasping. People from the group started leaving and the next band had yet to show: I felt a sense of disappointment. The band had just walked out the door and I didn’t get a chance to speak to the other singer. However, I saw them leave so once again, I quickly let go of the feelings. Amazingly, or not so much, the two singers walked back into the pub and walked right past me, providing me with the opportunity to talk with the female singer and express to her how much I enjoyed their music.
Interestingly, I felt the energy build again as I waited for her to return from the restroom so I could talk with her. I remembered to be present for those around me, and found the calm center immediately. Then, she came out as I was thinking I would know when she was near. However, as I was in thought, she nearly walked right past me, as if the universe was reminding me of the value of being present. I had to reach out at the last minute to tap her on the shoulder and give her the thanks and gratitude I had wanted. And I am glad I did because she seemed to really appreciate the gesture.
Right after that I read the following paragraph written by Allan Watts:
“Man’s identification with his idea of himself gives him a specious and precarious sense of permanence. For this idea is relatively fixed, being based upon carefully selected memories of his past, memories which have a preserved and fixed character. Social convention encourages the fixity of the idea because the very usefulness of symbols depends upon their stability. Convention therefore encourages him to associate his idea of himself with equally abstract and symbolic roles and stereotypes, since these will help him to form an idea of himself which will be definite and intelligible. But to the degree that he identifies himself with the fixed idea, he becomes aware of “life” as something which flows past him – faster and faster as he grows older, as his idea becomes more rigid, more blistered with memories. The more he attempts to clutch the world, the more he feels it as a process in motion.“
I connected it to how I was seeming to grasp for the experience of talking to members of the band; how I noticed it, and let it go.
What I was doing, and what we are always doing in situations such as these, is letting go of the psychological self in the moment, the one who encourages us to grasp for experiences when they present themselves for fear of missing out. That is what we do when we “let go.” We drop the thoughts and emotions of the psychological self and accept what is. Then life flows.
In the example I described, the moment I let go of thoughts and emotions everything flowed perfectly, in its own time and way. And all I had to do was allow it to happen.
This was one of the most valuable lessons of the month long adventure. I have gained a much better sense of what it means to let go in each moment, and of the potential benefits of doing so. It makes life SO much easier, and more fulfilling. So let go and let life lead the way. It does anyway, with or without our consent.
If we do not give our consent we suffer, but when we say yes to what is we thrive. Go Life!