“’Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain. Breathing out, I feel solid.’ Solid as a mountain, that is our practice. You learn to be solid in your sitting position and then you will learn to be solid in your way of walking. You will be solid in your way of driving. You will be a solid driver. When you cook your dinner, you can practice your solidity, also.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
“Don’t hate the circumstance, you may miss the blessing.” ~Marshall B. Rosenberg
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you- A joy.” ~Rumi
“Classifying and judging people promotes violence.” ~ Marshall B. Rosenberg
Autumn is happening. It’s so human to assign a separation to the cycles of the year when really, there is no beginning of Autumn. Autumn would begin with the birth of the trees and the first rotation of the planet. When we look at what we think of as Autumn, falling leaves, cooler temperatures, shorter days, we see the origins in the inevitability of creation. Truly there is no start and end date, only constant transformation. In the words of the French scientist Lavoisier, “nothing is born and nothing dies.”
We want to separate and make solid. This can give us the feeling of ground beneath our feet in this fluctuating world. One aspect of this that came up for me this week was control. I am working on a group project and found myself wrestling with the demons of wanting to control the finished product. There’s a rigidity and a correctness when we want to control. There is a lack of trust and release. Holding onto control when the events and situation are beyond our jurisdiction is incredibly painful, so why do we do it?
As far as I can tell, it is part of our primitive biological adaptation. In the primitive mind, there are only two states, safe and not safe. When our senses tell us, there is anything remotely painful or concerning, we have a strong reaction and resist. We believe that we can protect ourselves from annihilation since that’s what unsafe means. For me this week, unsafe means compromising on a written report, certainly not a life-threatening event, but my mind doesn’t see it that way. When we get sucked into the vortex of wanting to control, we forget that we do have a choice. A dear friend of mine told me years ago, “It’s my habit to be a victim. I forget that I always have a choice, even if it is to do nothing. That’s still a choice.” I need to remember that.
When I recognize that I have a choice and see the reasons for engaging in the activity I am in, it releases me from victimhood. I have agency. I can always say no. I can always choose to do something else, or recognize my desires and needs beneath the task that seems to be thrust upon me. The creator of Non-Violent Communication, Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D. writes, “As you explore the statement, ‘I choose to . . . because I want…,’ you may discover the important values behind the choices you’ve made. I am convinced that after we gain clarity regarding the need being served by our actions, we can experience those actions as play even when they involve hard work, challenge, or frustration.” When we remember our sovereignty over ourselves, we recognize that we are not powerless children and despite all the vastly changing conditions and uncertainty, I do have a choice about the quality of my mind. If I can release the grip of what is outside my control and come back to choosing to be peace, choosing to be aware of the tension and relaxation in my body, and this breath. In that moment I become a free person.
May we all trust our light,