Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Surrender to the Now
I was supposed to be on the road tonight, heading for Vegas to see my family. A long weekend of lots of love. It's my oldest son's birthday. He's thirty-nine. Wow! When did I ever think that would happen. Surrender to it, Mom.
But, hey, I'm not on the road. It started to rain at about three o'clock. I was heading out to teach my sixth class today, but it was a tango lesson to my friend, John, and I was so very happy to mix it up today with all of my yoga classes. I decided to dismiss the rain and carry on with my plans to leave after class seven at UCLA.
I wanted to leave town. I wanted to see my grandchildren and my sons and my daughters-in-law with a lot of passion. I could make it out of town. I was sure.
As I drove home through Santa Monica, I slogged through the usual late afternoon traffic, it slowly dawned on me as I reached my apartment building that the rain was going to stop my plans to leave. I couldn't even get into my garage from the street. If I couldn't get in my building because of a huge line of traffic, the traffic on the freeways was going to be impossible. My safety might even be compromised while driving. It would take me about six hours to get to Vegas. Maybe I could make it to my son's house by one o'clock in the morning. Maybe.
I tried to drive to UCLA for my class in the Public Health building. I stood still in traffic while going through the VA Hospital. I was sinking with disappointment. It really wasn't that big a deal, I thought. I was just so anxious to connect with family. I could leave the next day at 4 am and be in time for breakfast with the boys, maybe take them to school.
The moment opened up for me while sitting in the car. I had been talking to my yoga classes during day about surrendering, accepting the moment, the now. It was my turn to surrender. It was my time to step back and detach that 10% and observe what was happening to me. Take some emotional distance. Take a rational perspective on the situation.
The practice of the Tao is about daily losing. Our path in life isn't smooth. Stuff happens and sometimes it isn't fun. Sometimes it's downright disappointing. Surrender, accept and there will be no struggle. It's when we struggle that our lives get chaotic and unmanageable. Accepting the struggle leads to a spiritual and emotional discipline that, in turn creates an element of self mastery.
It is truly unfortunate that we are programmed for instant gratification. It removes our thinking from the now and takes us into future thinking. We cannot stay present while waiting for something to self-satisfy us whether it is food or sex or drugs or shopping. Future thinking robs us of the present and we loose a precious moment. Past thinking destroys the joy of the now.
So I'm going to Vegas early tomorrow morning. For sure it's going to be a shorter ride; for sure it's going to be a more pleasant drive. And I'll be living in the present tense.