"There is never anything but the present, and if one cannot live there, one cannot live anywhere." --Alan Watts
Lately, I've been having some difficulty accepting the present moment. After being diagnosed last week with a breakthrough case of covid, I find myself more reactive than usual and want things to be different than they are. I have the expected physical symptoms, but what's most challenging are emotions that are all over the place. I'm learning it's best to not try to control everything but stay still and quiet as I recover.
Alan Watts, English writer and philosopher said that "The way to become one with the universe is to trust it."
I can come up with a million reasons not to trust the universe right now, but since I recognize the deeper truth in the statement, I have decided that whatever hard thing arises; like a hurricane, devastating flooding in Tennessee, the Taliban taking over Afghanistan, discovering I have no sense of taste or smell and a headache that makes my ears burn, I will take Tylenol, drink water, rest, and stay in the moment with as much equanimity as I can muster.
Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle writes that being is more important than doing. This seems to line up with the Zen Koan, "Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water."
As a student of Integrative Health and Healing, I've studied about the innate wisdom of the body to heal itself. The actual experience of relaxing control and trusting is where it becomes tricky. One of the most relatable explanations I've read is by theoretical physicist David Bohme, a colleague of Einstein. He describes a time when he had to cross a rapidly flowing stream by stepping on stones that were far apart. "I had to jump from one to the next without stopping in between, pivoting on one rock before going to the next so there was no time to think." He said that experience, "made a deep impression on me about consciousness going moment to moment without being mapped out."
Einstein believed the most important decision we can make is whether we live in a friendly or hostile universe. I get it. When I think the universe is benevolent I feel myself relax, more able to trust in my body's ability to heal or at least feel peaceful as I navigate a path to healing. Relaxing control is about unlearning the fight, flight response so we can relearn how to trust the universe and let it unfold.
"Wherever you are, it's the place you need to be." Maxime Lagace