It is surprisingly to finally notice that there is hardness too, in one’s spiritual journey. We usually perceive those on the spiritual journey with much softness gentleness because the ultimate goal is to embrace the Buddha nature or Christ mind within. That, of course, being the ultimate goal, we can be sure of the many stumbling, falls, victories, stumbling again – a repeating cycle on its own – along the way, except that they may be differentiated from a level to level basis. The journey in truth is never quite a linear one, so we’d never know when in time are we in fifth grade, or back at kindergarten; but the mind; being one of its function; always has a tendency to perceive or picture the linearity of the path, so to ensure that I am moving along a step forward always, in progress, so to speak.
The thing is, I’d never really know. I only know that wherever I am right now, is wherever I am. I cannot be anymore forward or anymore backward, so to accept where my check-in point is right at this moment, is to accept what is and to move swiftly, allowing with the flow of life – much like a moving river stream.
Following the flow of life, we’d soon realize that it is not up to us to decide the direction of the current. Our ‘job’ is just to be willing to be with it and to ride with it; fast or slow; left or right; to flow with it wherever it takes us. There’s nothing to it, even with obstacles on the way; much like the rocks we’d find at some bends of the river. If we were to sit quietly by the riverside, we may observe that even a string of rocks that are laid in the midst of the flow as if blocking the river from streaming towards its direction; the river flows anyway – either around it, above it, or even maneuvering its way in between those rocks just to conjoin with the other parts of the ‘separated’ river to continue the flow of life. And by observing a river too, we may begin to understand how hardness or gentleness of its current, affects the overall flow of the river. In gentleness, we find smooth tide of the river; and in hardness, we may find splashes all over… like in a case where it makes contact with a rock/an obstacles in a gush, the river disperses into little bubbles, splashes, drops – breaking its ‘form’ so to speak for a while, but to come back again into one as they swift pass the rock. There is much adventure and roughness in the latter case although the destination is still the same, that is, we’d still meet at the point where we were meant to go anyway. We are blessed in a certain way, for we are given the choice to decide the intensity of the current. So the question is this, do we flow with gentleness, with ease; or with hardness, with rigidity and roughness.
I never noticed the kind of subtle pressure I was putting onto myself until last night. I became aware of something uplifting from my shoulders when I re-invoked guidance and protection from a higher source. That was when I realized that I had been carrying some sort of hardness in my journey in a very unconscious way, in heeding my path towards freedom. If I was truly heading that way, truly there’d be ease and softness; then where and how did the subtle stiffness become a characteristic of my journey? So there existed a trivial form of suffering, because of anticipation and wanting things to be different.
It is never easy to fully trust and surrender that where we are right now is exactly where we are meant to be; and yet it is vital to acknowledge and release that remorse holding on to expectations or wanting things to be any different for ease and a smooth journey ahead. Through that release, arises calmness and tenderness; already an innate nature within us.
Nature is happening around and to us all the time and it has nothing to do with us in a manner of speaking. Acknowledging it, without interfering or looking ahead to the possibilities of where, how or when we might arrive allows us to fully accept what is in the experience. That is Wisdom, already deviating from our usual route of ignorance. In this manner, the flow of Life; hence the possibility to flow with Life, with the river… And our choice is merely in choosing gentleness over hardness, or vice versa; to trust and surrender, or to attempt control and inflexibility.