photo © 2007 Marcus Södervall | more info (via: Wylio) In the previous post I discussed how spontaneity is as important as control in our lives. I also said that intuitive decisions make us experience big highs and lows. When things go right with an intuitive decision, there is a unique sense of enthusiasm and aliveness we experience. But when they go wrong, it hurts badly too. So is it possible to experience this enthusiasm again and again?
If it is enthusiasm you seek, you will have to develop and hone your intuition. Start listening to it. This will require you to let go of fear. Usually fear and intuition pull in opposite directions. Fear asks you to stay in control, to create security, while intuition asks you to challenge fears, do what you are uncomfortable with. To be in a state of constant enthusiasm, you will have to repeatedly go to the boundary of your comfort level, to do things you fear, do things you are uncomfortable with.
The things we fear most are the ones we most need to do. –Tim Ferriss
This requires a complete attitude shift. Doing this just once won’t change your life, that will only provide temporary enthusiasm. You will have to continually do new things, you can’t settle down into anything comfortable. What you find scary and exciting today, when you do it often, will become routine, normal and unexciting after some time. A life of excitement then, means a life of constant expansion of self.
What do we do about the hurt of failure?
Hurt is something you will have to get comfortable with. There is no other way, and you don’t need one. Hurt makes you stronger, it takes you to the next level. Don’t fear it. The first few times will be hard. This is the time when winners are made. If you can stick through this, you are through. Once you go through the hurt a few times, it doesn’t hurt any more. Rather than being scared of it, you see it as an important and necessary part, you make friends with it, you start enjoying it!
How letting go of control helped my writing.
Letting go of the urge to control helps a lot in creating something. Creativity, as a lot of artists will tell you, is like an outside entity. It’s not the artist that creates something, it is when he takes his ego out of the way and let’s Creativity express itself through him that great art is born.
When I became a writer, I tried to think and then write. Some good articles came out that way. There were some times when I had nothing good to say. I read in a book that a writer should write everyday, no matter whether he wants to or not. So one day, when I had nothing to write, I just sat down and started writing. Since I was not expecting to write an article, I was relaxed and just wrote whatever came to my mind. To my surprise, I found myself writing really interesting things. There were ideas and thoughts that I wasn’t consciously thinking, there were also some ideas I was not comfortable writing, or even thinking about. These came out in a beauty I could not have created consciously. An article was formed. And this was a different kind of article, one that I myself enjoyed reading once I had written it.
Letting my Inner Self express itself has worked for me so many times in the past few months. These articles come out when, I get up in the morning, feel connected with myself and am in a happy, quiet, peaceful and humble mood. I just sit and try to feel what is in my heart and start writing it. I may give it a title or, what happens more often, I may just start writing without a title and see what comes out. There is always a sense of anticipation and excitement with such articles. Once I have written enough and can see the central theme of the article, I give it a title accordingly.
This is not to say that I don’t write deliberate articles anymore. I now mix and match, and I get good results both ways. This also adds variety to my work schedule and, as I like to think, to the feel and character of my articles.
It sometimes still boggles me – when I just let go of control, I get something nice done! It is not something planned but it is still something good, something nice, something I cherish and feel good about for long.
Actions without the aim to control seem effortless and are enjoyable
The thing I like most about this method is that it seems so effortless and good in all ways imaginable. I feel just as good writing the article, as when I have finished it. It is almost like someone else is doing the work, I am just witnessing it happen, waiting with excitement to read the final product.
Surrender : Getting good at something by letting go of the desire to master it.
I have seen something occur repeatedly in my life – I try really hard for something but fail again and again. When I am totally tired, I just feel like leaving it all and quitting. The drive to reach the goal, to be in control would be gone. But if I just continue a little longer, in spite of being totally tired and spent, I start making some headway! It seems to me that, once the ego is gone and I am standing humbly before the task, defeated but willing to continue, it lets itself be taken by me. It seems I am ready only when I let go!
This reminds me of what the Gita says – Do your karma(work) but leave the desire for results.
I saw a similar idea being applied in martial arts. My instructor in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu lay great emphasis on the importance of continuing to roll(practice fighting without using full force) when we were most tired. He insisted that we learnt the techniques best when we were tired. Since our muscles had given up and we were too tired to think of winning and satisfying our ego, we would automatically resort to the only thing that could help us get out, proper execution of the techniques we had been told. I still have the T-shirts he distributed to all students. On the back, there is printed in bold letters – ‘Leave your ego at the door!’
I saw, in my professional career as a software developer, that the best leaders were also the ones who were reluctant. They did not want to control things, as against those who wanted to have the power.
Surrender the desire to control something and it surrenders itself to you.
Lot of people talk about an easy flow, or easy productivity, or being in the zone. I think it is related to the idea of surrender, of feeling one and equal with the task, instead of trying to be it’s master.
Life sometimes seems so unfair. Often we see that the one who doesn’t focus so much on money, gets it. The one who doesn’t try to control. gets in control. The one who doesn’t rely too much on luck, has it. The guy who doesn’t seem to be falling over all the beautiful girls, has most of them swooning over him.
We need to ask ourselves, are we trying too hard? Do we need to relax and let things flow?
Life probably should not be(and cannot be) all controlled. We cannot totally control death, disease, natural calamities and disasters. It will have unexpected twists and turns. The idea of planning everything to the last detail – securing finances, bringing up the kids to be of a certain type, shaping careers, is probably not the best. It helps to introduce a little of listening and surrendering to the Life Force inside us.