The best neighborhood to live in. The top career. The perfect partner. The most excellent time to visit a place, the finest month to begin a project. The preeminent spiritual practice, the greatest teacher.
In a time of fluctuation, I observe thoughts like these- comparative thoughts. They all revolve around a common theme- control. Or the illusion of it. A belief that if I make first class decisions, I will have a most excellent life. As I wrote about recently, the freedom of individualism has come at a cost. The cost is that we are fed an illusion that we are in complete control over our lives.
As I sit quietly in the jungle, I am reminded that it is simply not the case that we really have control. A strange sounds arises from beyond the pond. I am told- “that’s the sound of a snake eating a frog. The snake isn’t poisonous, so it will take a while”. Life and death. Always present.
Relishing in this jungle hermitage retreat, I am reminded of importance of simple, attentional awareness to our moment-to-moment activities. The divine interplay of breath, body, phenomena and the realization that if any effort is expended, it is best directed to accepting this interplay rather than trying to control it.
I leave you with one of my favorite poems from Hafiz, who beautifully expresses this dilemma:
What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?
The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God
And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move
That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”
Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.