One of the greatest teachers of my life faced my incessant requests to learn “Flow.” He had been a monk in Tibet, under a vow of silence for eight years, before he went on to the University of Vienna to teach philosophy.
When my professor finally conceded to my insistence, and said that I should stay with him for 3 months at his farm. Each day I anxiously awaited to learn his insight, and each day he gave me chores to do. At night, after an entire day of indentured servitude, tired, hungry and fatigued, I would shower, eat and attempt to keep my head from collapsing into my bowl awaiting a glimmer of wisdom from my deceptively vibrant, old professor.
Days, weeks and then months passed with the same routine. Finally, out of the deafening silence, I exploded while once again shoveling horse manure, “All I’ve been doing is shoveling CRAP for months, and I haven’t yet learned a thing about flow!” He shook his head at me smiled, and said I was, “You’re absolutely correct, Mr. Sonnon.”
Reflecting upon his lesson of missing the flow within each moment, of loving being here now even in the most mundane activity, I only wish I could express my gratitude to him. Growing up on a farm, I still find it nostalgic when I encounter a teacher who values simple, hard, quiet work. But it took that one teacher to make me realize that the process of hard work was a gift in itself.
Coming from my shallow end of the gene pool, impoverished and uneducated, I only had my work ethic and will power. If I wanted any change in my life, of course I prayed, but then busted my butt anyway. Sometimes neither prayer nor hard work seemed to bear fruit; and thankfully so, because looking back, had I “succeeded” in certain situations, I surely would have fallen short of the progress I’ve made over my life to where I am today.
If it’s one thing I’ve learned, personal accountability solves most riddles. No one to blame. Not my family’s financial situation. Not the socio-economic recession of the 70s. Not even my genetics. They’re just contexts for choices. I could have believed my teachers and doctors (and family) that I was never going to amount to anything. I could have believed the horrible things I was called when released from the children’s psychiatric hospital. I could have identified WHO I am AS the friction causing those contexts, rather than identifying with the flow which envelops around them.
If you want something, certainly a teacher can guide you to see the specific challenges you must face and even encourage you to believe that when you jump across that fog filled chasm, you will be safe and successful. But you alone must take that leap. No one can hold your hand. If they’ve already leaped across, you can’t even see them there.
Confidence only comes after you’ve taken a leap of faith and earn evidence that your courage paid off. You get only courage and faith to do it before you have the confidence of having done it. Sometimes you even lose faith, and have nothing but to suck it up, know that it’s going to probably hurt, and do it anyway. Like my grandfather told me once when I was very young, “Be courageous when you have nothing but fear, because it’s up to you alone sometimes.”
You have to believe that you’re exactly what you need right now. If you want flow in your life, you have to just accept that you’re already everything needed, even if you have to fake it until you believe it.
I pretended to myself that I was all that I needed to make it through for much of my life (because I did not see at the time the divine hands guiding and protecting me.) Many times I had no clue what I was doing. I only knew that I had to do it, or no one would for me. So, I just did the thing that needed to be done, pretending that I was competent to do it. Many times I fell flat on my face and it sucked. But two out of ten times, I was totally competent each and every time. :) I just had to go through 8s to get to my 2s.
Teachers will give you the challenges you require in order to make the discoveries you must, but only you can act upon those discoveries. When you see the need for change, no one will come to your rescue to change it. Don’t hope and wait for someone to make it any easier. You can’t even make it easier yourself, until you start doing something about it. 100% of what you don’t start today will never be finished tomorrow.
Even if you think it’s too much, even if you think you’re incompetent, if you see something that needs to be fixed, it’s because you’re ABSOLUTELY THE BEST PERSON to do something about it. Only you can be the flow you want to see in your life.
PLEASE SHARE THIS MESSAGE WITH OTHERS WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM IT!!!
(My book ON SALE FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS details the tools and techniques that I evolved from my teachers to help others “Be The Flow You Want to See in Your Life!”