To Trust Life is to Trust the Natural Laws of the Universe

Our TLT story today is half philosophy, half story – - told to me by a grown man, reflecting back on an experience he had at age three in his native country of Japan.  This particular friend has been an extraordinary teacher to me, a mentor really.

As we settle in to my favorite coffee/tea house, both enjoying egg salad sandwiches with a mutual friend of ours, I can feel myself begin to eagerly anticipate what I know is just minutes away: a story which is sure to be meaningful to me (and hopefully to you as well)…and the teaching that I know will come with it.

But before we begin, I’d like to remind you about the language I referred to in my article of Jan. 28th, entitled “Just What Do I Believe?”  In short, we all use different terminology to, at times, convey the same idea, depending on our background, culture, etc.  Please do not get caught up on language (for more detail, simply refer to paragraph 3 in the aforementioned article).   I am specifically referring to the verbiage of ‘Great Intelligence’.  That doesn’t speak to you?  Fine.  Substitute with God, Our Creator, Universe, etc.

Enough set up.  Sandwiches consumed, sipping tea, my friend begins:

“I feel my story will be better understood if I lay some foundation before I tell it.  Human beings have struggled for millions of years for survival.  The whole process of survival has led to the conditioning of the mind.  That is to  say, there is a fixed stimulus – a response reflex, some are simple and others complex.  The fight for survival as an individual, family, clan, tribe, nation, religious entity, and so on, has divided mankind.  The conditioned brain has become dependent on thought process, memory, and the ego for its survival.

At this point, you must be wondering, how else would we survive and what else is there to be dependent upon?  To me, Trusting Life is to trust the natural laws of the universe governed by the Great Intelligence.  Just look at the planets revolving around each other in perfect harmony.  Look at the existence of all those beautiful planets.  Look at the operation of the natural laws at all levels – - sub-atomic to the entire universe.  We realize it is all governed by the Great Intelligence.  Just looking at the natural beauty that surrounds us, it gives us a glimpse into that magnificent Intelligence.  We can see how it is taking care of the whole universe and how the whole universe is Trusting Life for its survival.

After saying that, I see that all we have to do is Trust Life, or that Great Intelligence, to guide us moment to moment, as it guides the whole universe.  Which leads me to my story:

I was raised in a small town in Japan from birth until I left for college.  When I think of my early childhood memories, I am reminded of my favorite pastime: appreciating the beauty of nature.  I would sit for hours totally absorbed, looking at the rain, watching the sunset or sunrise.  I would wake up early, just to gaze at the bright stars on the dark background of night.

The best time for me to watch nature was around sunrise.  I used to walk around the grounds outside my house, even as early as three years old, enjoying the nature that surrounded me.

One morning was very different.  I saw a man cutting the clothesline attached to the poles in the field in front of our house.  It seemed very odd to my three year old mind.  I finished my customary walk, and came back inside my house.  But all of the sudden, and completely outside of my normal routine, I felt a strange urge to go outside again.  This urge led me to the front of our next door neighbor’s house.  Right before me, in their front veranda, I saw the same man hanging with the clothesline around his neck.

I had never seen anything like this before – not on television, not in movies.  I didn’t have the thoughts to even process what was going on, but I knew this was serious.  I ran back into my house to wake my father and uncle.  After great effort (they were both sound asleep), I took them and showed them what I had seen.  They got a knife and jumped inside the veranda, re-stacked the chairs the man had used to “kick off” from, and my father started cutting the clothesline while my uncle supported his legs.  The man dropped down to the floor.  [I was watching the whole ordeal, knowing the man was going to be okay; I just knew.]  As they sprinkled water on his face, the man started to breathe and move.  Although I knew he was going to be okay, I still found myself feeling relieved.  The man was taken to the hospital and I saw him a few days later, walking around with no obvious damage.

On that morning, I feel I was guided by that Great Intelligence.  The man’s days were not over.  I feel because I was in tune with the moment, thus in tune to the guidance by the Great Intelligence, I was aware of the space around me.  I must have felt this man hanging himself even if I was not seeing him do it physically.

I have observed that inner silence, stillness, quietness, and trust are the key to let Love, Intelligence, and Sacredness flow through us without the static noise of our ego, conditioning, and inner chatter obstructing them.  Also, I must say I realized from the article, “88 Cents (Part 2),” that sometimes we go through the struggle and conflicts to learn the lessons of Life and at the end, surrender for The Guidance and Intelligence to work through us.

Thank you, Leslie for giving us an opportunity to share our ideas and stories with the rest of our fellow human beings and learn from each other.”

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Wow.  What an incredible story, as well as the teaching that set the stage for us.

After listening intently to my friend, I was reminded of a scientific article I ran across several months ago that discussed a similar concept.  The author, whose name I didn’t capture, was discussing the difference between concentrating/thinking vs. tuning in.  Here is an excerpt from the article that mirrors what my friend was saying above:

Shireen (the scientist being interviewed): “There is a clear difference between concentrating and tuning in.  If I concentrate, I try with all my might to achieve something with my thoughts.  Usually you achieve just the opposite.  What we call “thinking”, is actually mainly about doubting.  You wind up in all kinds of emotions – “I can’t do this, what am I doing here?” – and you don’t achieve your aim.   Tuning in means not thinking, [while] making contact with the information that’s already there.  You become one with the information and resonate with it.”

Author:  “Anyone who thinks that only the Mahatma or the Saviour can do that, now has scientific evidence of the contrary.  Each one of us is capable.  Each one of us is a creator.  Each one of us can change the world.  And that doesn’t have to be an endless, difficult process – just think of the Aboriginals’ ability to heal broken bones.  It can happen today.  It can happen now.”

~~~~

And it does happen daily.  It happened on the morning, all those years ago, when a three year old little boy in Japan felt he was being beckoned to walk outside, for no other reason, than he was tuned in with the moment, with his environment, with IT ALL.  And for the ultimate reason, being responsible for saving a man’s life.

Thank you, friend.  Thank you for sharing your story and teaching.  I look forward to continuing to learn, grow, and share with you.

88 Cents (Part 2)

Our story today continues where the previous one left off.  If you haven’t read “88 Cents (Part 1)”, please stop, go back, and read.

So, back to Kristen’s sharing at the end of Part 1… “And I haven’t even gotten to the biggest point I wanted to make on what I’ve learned with all of this reflection….

“I think that the biggest thing I can honestly say that I Trust, is that the struggle is as important as the letting go.  I Trust that everything will be okay, but not necessarily by letting go today.  Sometimes things will only be okay if I fight first, and Surrender later.

Here’s what I mean:

I have never been a person who sits calmly and says, “Oh, it’ll be okay. Everything happens for a reason.”  That may be true, and I guess I believe that statement, but I fight and struggle and try to exert control and swim upstream all the time.  Sometimes for the right reasons (like when I knew my son needed testing and intervention for learning disabilities and help was slow in coming).  And sometimes for the wrong reasons (like the way I beat myself up about not reaching some impossible standard I’ve set for myself in nearly every area of my life).  Although I’d like to say I’ve gotten wiser and more centered, I make many of the same mistakes over and over again.

I have some friends and acquaintances who are positive, quiet, peaceful souls.  They don’t even need to say a word.  You can simply tell by looking at them that they have a stillness and innate happiness that most of us don’t.  I have at times been jealous, and other times wondered what’s wrong with me that I can’t achieve that level of peace.  I’ve checked into their religious/spiritual backgrounds and have found that they are from all kinds of different traditions.  I’ve looked and looked for an answer and what I really feel to be True is this:

The struggle has something to teach, and for me, that struggle is the only way I will learn and get to the Truth.  Sometimes it will take years, but eventually I will get to a place where I learn something important and it is only then that I can let go.  Perhaps that is how I’m built, and God, who I feel as a loving presence, knows that the only way I will grow is through conflict, argument, and debate.  Maybe He wishes I could learn in a less painful way, like so many of us wish for our own children, but He knows me, and He knows how to guide me to where I’m supposed to be.

I Trust that if I feel like I have to struggle right now, that it’s alright, and that eventually I’ll learn the lesson that is being taught.  And maybe someday I’ll have learned all that I’m supposed to learn and I will be one of those happy, quiet, peaceful souls.  But until then, if I live with openness and the desire to grow emotionally and spiritually, then I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing….and thank goodness I will stumble upon teachers along the way.

I consider you Leslie, one of those teachers and I thank you for giving me the chance to think and reflect and learn.

I hope that my musings are helpful to you;  this sharing of my ‘two cents’ on Trust and Surrender was enormously helpful to me.”

Kristen’s sharing and musings were enormously helpful to me, too.  And although Kristen and I are in the stage of forming a deeper connection/friendship, as I read her words on struggle, I get the sense that we are very much alike in that regard.  I too feel that I grow through conflict, argument, and debate.  A good argument and debate with another, done respectfully, shows me we care enough to address the important stuff.  That we’re not being passive with one another, but rather, caring enough to be real with one another – - and through being real and sharing, we’re growing.

Similarly, I agree with Kristen: the struggle does have something to teach.  But coupled with the struggle, I believe we must be aware enough to receive the teaching.  It is through being open to receive that we are able to learn and grow.  This isn’t to say that we’re open immediately either.  But we get there.  Once we’ve learned what we were meant to learn/experience, I believe our hearts crack open and we are then ready to receive.  At least, that’s how it works for me now, which is much better than it worked for me 10 years ago.  And in 10 more years?  Who knows.

Kristen, from one humble teacher to another, I thank you.  Thank you for being real.  Thank you for sharing and potentially exposing some vulnerabilities.  Thank you for teaching and helping each of us learn and grow through your words.

“I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me.” ~Dudley Field Malone