While it can be said that the universe is neutral and impartial, that is a good thing. It is in fact the greatest equal opportunity provider. It plays no favorites, nor does it discriminate. However, when we examine life’s natural processes, we recognize that they work for us, rather than against us. In doing so, we come to realize that the universe will in fact provide as long as we abide in a cooperative way yielding its natural secrets of success. Through this understanding, we become respective of, as well as receptive to the natural forces that are intended to sustain rather than drain our lives. More importantly we become responsive to these force as we gain new strength in the insight that, we can in fact change the nature of our self.
All living forms are found in the environment that suits them best for their successful development. Fish swim in the water, birds fly in the sky, and we humans walk this earth. They are found there by reason for their survival and to serve, not only as participants but as contributors to a larger inter-connected living, dynamic system. They are there on purpose, for the purpose of fulfilling their purpose.
All living forms must face the naturally occurring challenges to their survival, present in their environments. A bear that has wandered from its natural wildlife habitat into the city limits must be returned to its proper domain for its survival. A fish that finds itself out of water suddenly has the startling realization that something very essential is lacking. The bird that loses its freedom of flight becomes disoriented and displays panicked behavior as it searches for a way out of the confined space. The same experience holds true for people when one feels a lack of purpose and meaning in one’s life. We can lose our way through the course of our living. However, all living forms from the tiny seedling to the human, with the proper cultivation of certain essential elements for their growth, have the opportunity to become what they are intended to be and they cannot be denied their destiny. After all, life is not destined to fail in this grand design. We wouldn’t be here if it didn’t support our life. We wouldn’t be given the inherent capacities and qualities we possess if there wasn’t a reason for our being to fully become.
We cannot thrive in an unwelcome environment where we feel out of place, nor are we intended to live a life “gasping for air” or “confined in a living space” that limits our freedom. We are intended to know ourselves in a way that is life promoting not self-defeating. Life cannot be lived part-time as we must be fully engaged in our lives. Engaged in the participation of the waxing and waning, the churning and bubbling of the twists and turns, the white water rush as well as the stillness as we go along with the flow of life. We must throw ourselves back into the water!
Flowing within the Life Stream
“I don’t know how old I am. It is like floating down a river. Each year passes by, and its just another season of winter, and time goes on.” Pauline Whitesinger Arizona Navajo
Beyond survival, it serves us well to have an understanding of the characteristics of life that influence our very being on this earth and affect us for our entire lives. Vital also is a new realization that we can work with life’s characteristics and as a result assume command over our inner lives. Rather than attempting to control these natural facts, we learn to work in confluence. That is, we join as one within the life stream and we become an emerging force. We then experience intense focus and heightened involvement in our actions. We’ve all experienced these moments where life seems to come together perfectly, there is unity and our effort flows without restraint. However, as our realization of the experience sets in it is gone as we’ve changed the nature of it by introducing our thoughts. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author and psychologist, called such activity: “flow.” He characterized this experience as a “breakthrough to new levels of thought and behavior that occurs without social reinforcement and immediate rewards.” The motivation to do is derived purely from the intrinsic value gained above any external benefits. Furthermore, he has found that this “flow” can be practiced.
Flow is an example of the self organizing process in action, as one becomes self-generating, and changes occur from within rather than controlled or imposed from the environment or an external system. Paradoxically, nothing on the outside of your self can make this happen, yet it occurs without the self, or at least the common self that we know. It confirms the notion that the only one that can change you is you, yet the self that undertakes the change going in is not the self that will emerge at the other end.
Something magic-like happens when true change takes place, a sort of divine intervention, as you emerge differently and in essence a new you is born! It is like the alchemy of creating a golden moment out of a melding of ordinary ingredients that can transform your life from the common to something special. Higher principles are at work and they mix with the ordinary moments and the every day living experience to produce extraordinary results.
These higher principles are what Csikszentmihalyi describes as the main dimensions of flow that include deep concentration, clarity of goals, loss of a sense of time, lack of self-consciousness, and transcendence of the sense of self. In other words, we rise above as we lose our usual self and in the process we gain a new and strengthened higher being who is doing. As a result, we begin to experience a sense of freedom, a tremendous power of will in self-direction, and welcome relief as we abandon our efforts to control. We plug the psychic holes in the leaky bucket of a false self that drains our inner resources that are spent on trying to change the things that are unchangeable. We relent, and stop working against the current. We join in the natural movement of life in sync and in harmony. We go with the flow of the currency of what comes along with what life has presented. And just as the banks of a river are there to guide the deep and earthly waters on its way, we realize that there are natural boundaries for guiding our deep and eternal spirit in the proper direction. Just as the river returns to the ocean, there are natural forces that help us on our way as we flow to our intended destination in a return to something bigger than ourselves, to the source of where we find our original self and a wellspring of pure potentiality awaits only our attention to stir it to life.
As we do our part as a participant and a contributor, we can proceed with faith and hope as we rest assured that the natural powers that exist will reliably fulfill their eternal and universal applications. As a result, we come to a most empowering principle that shifts our mindset from believing that “that’s just the way life is” to one that triumphantly states, “that’s the way of life by my choosing!” Most importantly, we understand that we are in fact personally responsible for our own way, and as a result hold only ourselves accountable for our actions as well as for the outcomes of our behavior. We learn the importance of self leadership to direct our lives in a more natural way that promotes a healthier mindset. The ancient and powerful principle that states, “as ye sow so shall ye reap” is in fact at the core of true personal empowerment dwelling in our innate ability to cultivate our own life through the inner resources we’ve been given.
We in fact have within a fertile ground to grow our seeds of pure potentiality. Just as the seed in the darkness of the ground must move upwards to seek the light and fulfill its promise of what it is destined to be, so too is it in our nature to grow up and become. It means the life we live, is entirely up to us with respect to what has been provided for our own well-being.
We in fact can nurture our nature. We have the power to grow in any way, in our own way! We only have to realize and exercise these true powers, and most importantly organize our self such that we remain an open system to allow the flow its proper course. It is how we break through to become something more, as we dip our new bucket into the flowing abundant life energy source for refreshing renewal. Help yourself through the natural acts of success, as we let grow and move on! In my next writing I will explore the Natural Act of Letting go.