Hello spiritual friends!
Sometimes spirit speaks to us in interesting ways. A few weeks ago, I found myself staring at a wall calendar with this quote on it.
To seek is to suffer.
To seek nothing is bliss
I had been working on a project, and the Bodhidharma message helped me recognize the kind of energy I was running. In that moment -- I was in effort. My body was tired and I was mentally exhausted. My energy was goal focused, and that old programming from my corporate life was saying, "Work harder and rest when it is done"
However, my inner being was craving that blissful state that I often move to when I am doing my creative work. I needed to shift back into the present moment to connect with an open and receptive space to let my creativity to flow. It was a great reminder on how effort dismantles our ability to be present.
So, what's wrong with effort?
Nothing is inherently wrong with effort. Effort gets us moving. We have the desire to create something new and effort helps fuel our initiation of a project or goal. Effort helps us take the first steps to bring it into our lives. But we get into trouble when we want to use effort to manifest our goals and dreams.
Effort is physical or mental exertion. With effort, we energetically anticipate hard work or that the road to accomplish our desired goal will be a struggle. We gather up our strength and prepare to swim upstream to get it.
Fear and control
Sometimes we fall into effort because of a need to control an outcome or situation. There is typically an element of fear associated with control. We may want to control a situation for important reasons, like supporting our families, financial needs, social or political status or even just our own self-esteem about accomplishments. Fear and control tend to feed each other and keep us hooked into the dynamic. Fear of an undesired outcome drives our need to control it. And the need to control a situation amplifies the underlying the fear that it may not turn out in our favor. The cycle continues.
The Bodhidarma called this suffering.
Ease is the polar opposite of effort
Intellectually, we know certain things in life are beyond our control, yet on an energetic level we may still be trying to change or resist them. This is a huge form of the "seeking" in our world today. Letting go of the resistance, which may be thoughts, emotions, memories or even grudges, is much easier than holding onto it. We release the fear, the impulse to control, that old inner critic, and open ourselves into the fluidity of life.
Slipping into the flow
Learning to accept people, life and situations in the world just as they are, is key to finding the flow in life. It creates a shift within us which helps us appreciate and accept ourselves more. Acceptance helps us stay in the present, instead of focusing on the past or future. We naturally feel more positive and flexible to what comes next. If the outcome we want doesn't materialize, we are open to new possibilities, perhaps even better than we imagined. And a new sense of inner peace and trust begins to blossom within us.
Living from intention
Of course, in this practical world we do have goals, jobs, families, projects, households and other life activities to move forward. With more acceptance and inner peace, we can create from intention rather than expectation. We can make a commitment and move forward without attachments to a specific outcome. Without a fixed expectation, the energy is fluid and we can adapt to unexpected events. We focus on the process and dare to trust ourselves. We listen to insights and nudges from spirit to redirect or change course, as needed. We relax into the journey and glide towards the goal with more ease and grace.
Open the door to more bliss:
- Release effort
- Accept life just as it is
- Be in the present moment
- Dare to trust the flow
Blessings to you on your spiritual journey!