Going with the Flow

Much of our pain is caused by failing to heed the following rules of the road. Peace comes from recognizing what we can and should do, rather than what we “need” to have happen. It is not inaction as is pointed out, but taking the right action for the right reasons.

From Fractal Enlightenment

It goes by many names, “the law of least effort” and “going with the flow”, to name a couple, but the path of least resistance is a theme we hear about in many spiritual texts. At first glance, it may go against everything you have ever believed was true about following your dreams and achieving your goals. Is this concept actually implying that doing LESS work, putting in LESS effort will help us achieve things faster? Not exactly.

The path of least resistance does not suggest that you take NO action, but that you take PERFECT action. For example, the biggest thing we can observe applying the path of least resistance is nature. Everything in nature has a sole purpose, and 100% of the time, without fail, each thing in nature sticks to their purpose and therefore takes perfect action.

A tree grows towards the sun, takes in carbon dioxide and releases oxygen… always. A bee pollinates flowers, or makes honey…. always. You wouldn’t see a tree struggling to swim like a fish or a bear struggling to be like a cloud. Each thing knows its purpose and place in the grand scheme of things, so no effort is put forth into being something that doesn’t come naturally.

However, don’t worry if you don’t know what the “perfect” action is for your life. As Eckhart Tolle says, “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for your evolution of consciousness. How do you know that this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.” Which means that every action is perfect, nothing ever goes wrong per se.
the path of least resistance
We create problems for ourselves when we sit in resistance of a situation, we believe in our heads that things should go a certain way and when they don’t go that way we are frustrated. Or when a situation has repeatedly shown us that things are not working out, we may continually try to force what we believe to be the way things should go on people, places or things only to be disappointed over and over.

The greatest thing about the flow of our lives is that it is always trying to push us forward. We create dams and blockages for ourselves by our limited belief systems. So how do we know if we are following the flow or going against it? Here is path of least resistance checklist to help you out:

1. Am I listening to my thoughts about a situation or my body’s cues?

Your thoughts will lie to you. They will tell you eating a quart of ice cream is a good idea & then after you do it, they will tell you that you should be ashamed of yourself. Your body-mind cannot lie, it’s the tension you feel in your body when you are around certain people, the upset stomach you get when you are in a stressful situation, the tightness in your chest you get when someone or something makes you uneasy, etc… When you pay attention to your bodies cues instead of your thoughts you can decipher which situations make you FEEL good which will guide you only to things that are ultimately going to make you more fulfilled and happier.
path-of-least-resistance
2. Do I accept situations as they are or do I find myself wishing people/places/things would change to meet my expectations?

There are going to be things in life we cannot change. We can’t change who is in our family, we can’t change the past, we can’t change the way another person behaves. When we learn to see the difference between which things in our life we can change vs. which things in our life are unchangeable, we learn the power of acceptance. Also we empower ourselves to change things in our life that make us unhappy, and accept the situations that we can do nothing about. When we accept things we cannot change, we allow ourselves inner peace because we are not living in the how we think things “should be”, and instead are living in the how things are.

3. Am I motivated by fear or love

When love is behind our actions we will know it. We will feel good and happy and joyful when we are engaged in those activities. Fear is tricky, because many times it will disguise itself as love. For example, a person may stay in an unhealthy relationship too long under the guise of “but I love him/her.” Even though they know they are unhappy and the other person is as well, the fear of not wanting to be alone outshines the love they should be showing to themselves.

When we switch our motivation to love we naturally attract situations to us that make us feel good. Being in love with life will help us progress with the forward flow of life more quickly than staying in unhealthy situations a little too long.

4. Am I too attached to the “how” something will happen instead of the “what” I want to happen?

This is a huge one. Our ego/thoughts are always trying to make sense of everything, so when we choose a specific goal that we are trying to work towards our mind automatically starts coming up with a plan of how it is going to happen. And if a goal sounds too unreachable your mind may also tell you to forget about it, it’s not going to happen. These types of thoughts create roadblocks in our path, because if we don’t believe it is achievable, it won’t be. When we follow the path of least resistance here we open ourselves up to limitless possibilities, instead of closing ourselves in to exactly how we believe things should happen.
determination
5. Can I find purpose in my day to day existence?

It doesn’t matter if you are a garbage man or a stay at home mom… every job has a purpose. When the perspective of our job is how much we hate it we are in resistance all day long. No it does not mean to work at a job that is unfulfilling your entire life, what it means is that for the time being, while you have to work where you work, enjoy it.

Focus on all the ways what you do helps people, or makes them happier, or makes their life easier. When you see your job in these terms, the day flows faster, because we are happier and sitting in acceptance. Not only that, but when we are happy we attract to us more opportunities…which may eventually lead us to our dream job. When we go with the flow of our life instead of against it our life runs more smoothly, and progresses more quickly.

And the great thing is that it’s never too late to start following the path of least resistance. In fact, it’s probably the easiest thing you can do because you do what comes naturally instead of forcing things to go how you think they should. This path opens us up to the intelligence of the universe instead of the “intelligence” coming from our own ideas and thoughts, which means we become open to the limitless potential that exists in the universe… which can be an amazing thing as long as we allow it.

 

Fear Eats Your Happiness

fearWe are all prone to spend way too much time worrying about tomorrow. As we all know, only this moment is truly ours. To ignore NOW because of what may happen, is truly silly. Yet we find it so hard to stop the noise in our heads. For all those who are worrying about something, you might want to read this:

From Raptitude:

If you’re a normal person, you probably suffer about a hundred times as much from fearing bad outcomes as you do from the ones that do happen to come true.

And it’s unlikely that the sleepless night spent fearing a bombed job interview served as useful experience for when it did happen. It probably made it worse, and maybe even caused it to happen in the first place.

You probably didn’t notice that the 99 other things you feared that day never became real. If you had a ledger for all the fears in your life, and on the left you wrote down the what you feared would happen, and on the right you wrote down what actually happened, anybody reading it would laugh.

There are no real outcomes anyway. We worry so much about “ending up” in a particular bad way. But even the fears that do (more or less) come true have no finality about them, they’re just a new place from which to work for now. For all you know this new place sits on a better path than the result you had hoped for.

Was sadness and disappointment the final, permanent outcome of your rejected novel? Was it the end of happiness in your life? The “outcome” of any particular endeavor is just another middle chapter, just another starting point for something else. There’s nothing damning about the middle of any story, and unless you’re dead, you’re in the middle. (So I guess there is one true outcome, but there’s no uncertainty about whether it will happen, and it has the virtue of ending all your worries anyway.)

Everyone has a past riddled with bombed exams, awkward job interviews, bad dates, lost wallets, and birthdays with low turnouts, and few of those fears-come-true continue to cripple us today. Mostly they consist of an awful few minutes followed by an ordinary bad mood, maybe an inconvenient new errand to complete or a new parameter to work under, and some unpleasant rumination later on, if you choose to bother with that.

Of course, most of the unpleasant developments in life are the ones it didn’t occur to you to worry about anyway. They “blindside you at 4pm on an idle Tuesday,” as Mary Schmich put it in her famous column-turned-book. (The one about wearing sunscreen.)

When you decide you’ll walk into your moments of truth — your project launches, race days and blind dates — with an unconditional willingness to see what happens, fear doesn’t have much to do.

For some reason we interpret the presence of fear as a trustworthy reason to be tentative, to delay our arrival at a result. This gives fear time to make the unhappiest possibilities bigger in our minds, seemingly more worthy of respect. Yet fear is your mind at its dumbest and least articulate. All it knows how to do is shout “Get away!” 

It designs endless disaster scenarios, not just of failure or setback but of complete ruin. It understands your options only in terms of how they could bring on your annihilation, and therefore is blind to everything else that your experiences can do for you: wisdom gained, doors opened, and particularly the possibility of success. It just doesn’t see it.

So it always bets on death and irreversible consequences without even reading the odds sheet. But like any idiot conspiracy theorist, when it guesses right its confidence explodes, and you can’t shut it up. (“See! They didn’t like your poem! How stupid that you tried!”)

When you point out any of the million instances in which fear was wrong, it changes the subject to its most recent victory, or it makes a brand new prediction. If you’re not thinking for yourself, you’ll start to parrot its paranoid convictions — “It doesn’t matter what I do, things never work out for me! Nobody can love me!” and other beliefs so asinine they would require a global conspiracy to be true. You might even find yourself actively looking for evidence to support fear’s claims, not for any logical reason, but because you wish you were as confident as it is.

And once you’re confident fear is usually right, you’ll be right so often that you’ll never want to bet against it. That’s the great irony of fear: give it too much respect and it becomes the paralysis and annihilation from which it ostensibly protects you.

We are smarter than fear. Walk into the thing it tells you to cower from — or “Feel the fear and do it anyway” as Susan Jeffers would say it — and fear dies, because you ignored its only wish, which is to keep you from going certain places to see what’s actually there.

Unless you have a rational expectation of grievous bodily harm or financial ruin, respond to fears with curiosity about what life actually looks like beyond the moment of truth. Pass through the door and see what’s there. You can take it. The sky has fallen a thousand times already.

Even if you do find what fear warned you about, you’ll notice it had none of the details right. It doesn’t look like, feel like or require of you what you thought. That’s because fear doesn’t know anything about the future. Fear only ever has old material to work with; it makes its predictions out of the past. It’s desperate to prevent you from getting to the future to see what’s really there, because then it will quickly lose your respect.