When a wave of negative reactions comes along, something in us that believes itself to be apart from the wave, steps in and tries to mitigate or resolve it… and it never works! As long as we run into the wave, try to fight with it, change its direction, or evaporate the ocean, there’s only one possibility. What’s the possibility? The continuity of conflict. That’s the only possibility there is. The reaction actually drives the situation deeper and strengthens the idea that: “I really don’t want to be an unhappy person. I really don’t want to worry, but I just have to!” We have to realize that’s a lie.
If we really understood that, then what position would we take towards our painful reactions? What would be our conscious choice? It would be to have no position at all. None. We would just be watchful instead of being tricked into being willful.
Have you ever watched a little cloud in the sky until it disappears? Where does it go? It changes form. It lives in a concurrent relationship with a host of forces acting upon it, and the very purpose of the whole relationship is to change the forms those same forces produce. When the cloud disappears, nothing is lost; it has simply taken on a new role. The role that it takes on will change again and again, and eventually it will appear as a little cloud again. That’s the nature of life.
What would happen to us if we understood that our true nature, relative to these reactions that we have, is as this broad body of concurrent forces is to the awareness of the cloud? I’ll tell you what would happen. We would stop trying to make something out of what happens within us and allow instead something to make something new out of us.
To change our relationship with the forces that affect us, we must change where we place our attention, so that instead of being the captive of a flood of reactions, we become the very close observer of them. It’s such a beautiful idea if we can see it.
What if it were possible for me to know (and only you shall know the truth of this if you’re willing to find out), that when a fear comes, the real possibility isn’t in finding a way to protect myself from him, her, this, or that outcome? The real possibility is for me to let the wave go by so that as the wave goes by, I become aware of the sky instead of crying over the wave. I become aware of the fact that, I really don’t have anything to worry about because I can’t lose anything. I have understood that no one can take anything from me that causes me pain unless — without knowing it — I’m clinging to it.
When we understand that nothing that we can cling to can complete us, and in fact creates the opposite effect, then we begin to understand the true nature of this observer. The true nature of the one who watches is this completely different relationship with our own reactions, with our own thoughts and feelings, because we realize they do not profit us. There is no gain in trying to control something. By trying to control, we have decided, by the very act, what the best outcome could be! And we can’t know the best outcome of this moment. God alone knows the true positive outcome of this moment.
As that becomes clearer for us, a completely new kind of confidence sets in. It’s not confidence based on images that we keep hauling around with us about who we are, what we’ve been and what we’ve done, all we know, and all the rest of that. Because every last part of that is conflict waiting to happen with someone who challenges it. Instead, we become recipients of the knowledge, of the understanding, that everything that comes is a gift given to us for the purpose of introducing us to a world in which there is no limit to the possibilities.