Going with the Flow

 In Cityscapes, Travelscapes

I am grateful that all these years I have never witness any serious calamities in the place where I stay; I have experienced slight Earthquake in San Francisco while I was there but nothing too serious. When I took this photo in Rome, it was the first time I experienced heavy flooding. When nature decides to do its thing, I felt humbled by the magnitude of the power it brings. It is not something we can control and it brings us back to earth as a reminder when it hits. I am grateful for this reminder when I walked through the wet streets of Rome in the storm.

This will always be a memorable experience for me as I see people clearing up the wreckage and the waters in their house. It wasn’t the sunniest tour of this beautiful city that I was expecting but this trip allows me to have a deeper learning of human existence. Sometimes we are just thrown into situations where you least expected it and in some ways you come out stronger and wiser because of the lessons it brings—going with the flow is all it takes.

We have dreams and great ambitions. We think we can change the world. The only thing is—the world is here before us. We owe the world and not that the world owe us.

“Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day.”

-Zen Proverb

There was a time when I was so full of ambitions and goals. We are taught this way. Parents would say that we must be good for something and not be a useless person. To survive and to be successful, one must be a man of high-caliber. That resulted in a life full of strive, we cannot keep still and we cannot not do anything. Everyday we must be on the move, we cannot afford to be stagnant. This created the notion that to have a meaningful and useful life, one must be somebody.

A question arises when I was seeking for truth on my spiritual path,”Can I die as a nobody?” This means that can I exists as a person that has not existed? I meditated on this question for a while. One of the greatest advice that I came across is to die before you actually die. This phrase has a deep meaning to it: it meant the death of your ego. When the ego dies, the real being emerges and when it does, it will finally allow you to be able to enjoy life the way it should be. Imagine what happens after death, presuming that you are walking on earth as a spirit and nobody can see you, you will realized that the world goes on without you. People would still continue their chit-chatting, their shopping and goes on doing what they are supposed to do in their daily lives. It doesn’t matter whether they are strangers or loved ones, the results are the same. If you are a great leader and a valuable man, people will mourn your passing but in time, you will still be forgotten. Generations later, most young people don’t even know or care that you existed.

Striving against the inevitable is a guaranteed way to suffering. It will always be an uphill battle.

So why all that striving for the inevitable?

Striving against the inevitable is a guaranteed way to suffering. It will always be an uphill battle. Struggling because we want something in our minds and we are fighting to alter the reality of what is in the world; the world starts to owe us for our dreams. Struggling then becomes a way of life. A tense body will never know what relaxation is and being too tense, breaking down is just a matter of time—you destroy yourself from the inside out.

Are we able to relax and go with the flow of life instead? There is really no other way if we are to seek a life of joy and well-being.What is natural? Health is natural. It is unnatural that we fall sick. We do not ask the doctor the question of why are we healthy? It is taken as the norm and the doctor cannot give you the answer for that because it just is. Happiness is natural. Happiness and joy are us, we introduce the suffering and depression as part of the unnatural process that the so-called knowledge brings. Look at the stream where the river flows, the only reason if the stream is not flowing is because it is obstructed by rocks. The stream is already there, what we need or can do is only to remove the rocks. We are the rocks of our lives. Life cannot flow through us because we are trying to be its obstacle. It is also one of the most difficult lessons for me—to unlearn that which I think I knew. Knowledge is the rock, wisdom is the ability to see the truth.

There is a saying that the creator is always there, very subtle but always waiting in the corner so that when you finally open the door, creation will flow through you.

There are many evidence in the world if only we open our eyes to see. The flower does not strive to become the beauty that it is. The caterpillar does not strive to transform and take flight as a butterfly. There are so many miracles happening each day through the intelligence and creativity of our source and the most beautiful and miraculous thing is—the life that has been given to you. It is your choice to struggle or to let life flow through you so that you too can become the most beautiful creation.

Let me end this with the beautiful 37th verse of the Tao Te Ching,

“The Tao does nothing, but leaves nothing undone.
 If powerful men could center themselves in it
 the whole world would be transformed by itself,
 in its natural rhythms.

When life is simple,
 pretenses fall away;
 our essential natures shine through.

By not wanting, there is calm,
 and the world will straighten itself.
 When there is silence,
 one finds the anchor of the universe within oneself.”

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