“some moments are nice, some are
nicer, some are even worth
― Charles Bukowski, War All the Time
I know what you’re thinking.
You mean, give up?
But not to life, but the life where you live out of your thoughts in contradiction to how life is.
I think it was Thomas Merton who said, “Stand on your own two feet, Brother.” It took me a while to understand what he was driving at. I thought he meant be yourself, but these days, I think he was saying let go of past conditioning, wishful thinking and attachment to your thoughts and accept this moment as if you’d chosen it.
And that’s the point.
When I surrender, I mean to accept life rather than trying to constantly wrestle it to the ground, and shape it to something that it’s not. In most cases that means a life of faux happiness. When I say ‘faux’, what I mean is one we contrive to create — we only want things nice and sweet — and not everything that is life, i.e the light, dark and the shade.
Again, you’re probably thinking, “Are you stupid Summerhayes? Why would I want to feel sh*t about myself, particularly if I can engineer happiness through dint of my own efforts?”
But in case you hadn’t (yet) worked it out, it never lasts. Your egoic identity sees to that.
The thing is when we’re identified with our thoughts (i.e. the inner critic), life’s a bloody rollercoaster. Not when we let go, and surrender.
It just is.
And no, I’m not suggesting you have to close your eyes, hum some stupid ditty and hope for the best but instead rest in awareness, watching or observing your thoughts come and go (and do it all over again) and not get attached to them. Better still, you might understand that you’re bigger than you know and are innately well, whole and at peace. If you can’t imagine that space, put yourself in a position where you recall a period you weren’t anxious or had a lot less on your mind — those damned thoughts. You can feel it can’t you. It feels peaceful, eh?
If all this seems too spiritual, too woo woo, then that’s fine. But trust me, the longer you keep striving for the next fix — the last one having worn itself very thin — the less likely it is you’ll get close to who you are. And by god, you’ll find that tiring. In fact, you’ll never be able to relax to what life has to offer in its purest sense. You’ll be uptight, constantly.
I know there’s a huge distance to travel from your current ‘always on’ way of seeing the world, and accepting (not because I said so) that to be happy — in the most expansive sense — you have to surrender completely to what life has to offer, but, trust me, as someone who’s chased more than a few shadows over the years, there’s no other way to be.