Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Letting go of the ground underneath

A few days ago I quit my office job. I’ve been practicing yoga regularly for the past couple of years, and I’ve started teaching yoga recently and now I decided to quit my job and dedicate myself to my practice. Everyone wished me good luck but at the same time they kept looking at me with worried eyes, and asking me questions about how I will earn a living doing this. “There’s no guarantee in this, and you never know what life will bring. There is no specific amount of paycheck at the end of the month, no set time to work, no specific office space to go to. Nothing is certain”. I could see how this uncertainty, and unknowing scared and worried many who love, and care for me. However, I wanted to tell them that one can never know anything, and that there is actually no guarantee in corporate life either. There’s just the illusion of it.
More than half a year ago some changes started happening at work. They let go of my boss and hired someone else as the Head of the Department. They let go of most of my colleagues, and then two of my managers quit. The office environment turned into something completely different than how it was when I accepted the job offer. The new environment didn’t suit me. I didn’t like my new assignments. My workload had exponentially increased due to the lack of resources, since there were only two associates left in the whole department (including myself) with no managers or directors. Did I choose any of those changes? No. Was I in charge of any of this happening? No. Was any of it under my control or happened due to my actions? No. It was all based on the decisions of the higher management of the company, and I had no say. Even though none of this was in my control, it was affecting me on a personal level. What did I have any control over? My behaviors, attitudes, emotions and actions.
You are not in charge of every single incidence happening in your life. Even if it seems as if you are, it is just an illusion; an illusion that lasts only until you experience a happening of life that wasn’t among your plans, such as losing your job, being fired (not due to poor performance but financial crisis or reorganization), or losing a loved one, or finding out that you have cancer. You feel like the ground has been swept under you all of a sudden, and you are just floating in air. You feel groundless. Only then, you realize how much is actually not in your control.
At those times, we usually want to hold on to something. Get the ground under our feet again, and feel in charge again. Because otherwise we feel very much out of control, and we feel lost. We feel as if we’re thrown here and there by life, and we fear it. However, instead of trying to find something to hold onto, or put a ground under our feet again, we can take a minute, and realize that it was all an illusion in the first place. That there was never a ground under our feet, and that we were never in control.
You never know what life will introduce to you every single day. You make assumptions and based on those, you make plans. Making plans is not such a bad idea, because we assume that we have a future. However, it is better not to hold onto those plans so tightly, because then you’ll feel miserable when the events of the day prevent you from realizing your future plans, which happens often than we anticipate. At the end of the day, you may need to roll with what happens in life in the present, today.
Everyday we wake up, and we roll with the day. What we do with what we face each and every          day is our choice, but what we come to face everyday may not be. We don’t have control over every single thing that happens in life. We only control and choose our actions, and attitudes towards those occasions.
I don’t know what’s waiting for me in the future. However, I am realizing that I actually never knew. I just thought if I made plans for the future, I’d know what future holds for me. Not knowing what future holds scares us, and that’s why we keep making plans, and we think that by making plans we have some control over the future. We think we know what we want to do, where we want to go, and we work for it, and push ourselves to make those plans come true. However, we just deceive ourselves by thinking that we know what future holds, and what future will bring. Unfortunately, that way of “knowing” is just an illusion.
We make those plans based on the present. We assume that with what today holds, we can plan our tomorrow. We think that if we continue what we are doing today, that it will lead to a specific point or place. It may, but also it may not. Our actions are only one of the factors that will play a part in those plans coming to life or not. Regardless, we rely on those plans, believing that if we do everything we can, we can make things happen.
Now, all I know is that I don’t know what future holds. I will take a step, and see how life unfolds in front of me. Life keeps unfolding under our feet everyday. Don’t try to focus on the delusional footsteps you have created for yourself by making plans, and miss noticing the life itself unfolding in front of your eyes.
Surrender… Accepting that you are not in control; breaking that illusion of having a solid ground under your feet; quitting the struggle to hold on to something; accepting everyday as a new day and accepting what that day brings to you; having plans to follow through, but acknowledging the fact that your day may always turn out differently; being aware that nothing is certain and nothing is set in stone… Not by knowing, but actually by feeling this within, and not struggling to pull a ground under your feet again will free you. It feels like you are sliding over the rocks and obstacles. Obstacles don’t seem like obstacles anymore. Each one of them is just an experience. Once you feel that groundlessness without the fear, you feel free.