Life Is Neutral
Life is neutral.
It is not good or bad. Right or wrong. Negative or positive.
It simply is. It’s whole. It’s moving. It’s dancing. It’s an intricate web, simply unfolding, moment by moment. Just like a flower. Opening outwards and upwards. Growing. Evolving. Ever changing. Never standing still.
The only thing that deems events to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is the mind.
Our own interpretations about the way things should be. Our beliefs about what should or shouldn’t happen. What’s fair. What’s not. When these beliefs we hold are not met, they stir up emotions in our body. If the belief we hold is vastly different to the reality we are experiencing, we are left feeling uncomfortable inside.
But the truth is there is no right way.
Life just keeps on blooming. When our interpretations decide that there is a right and wrong way, we build up resistance within when events in our life don't unfold as we think they should. This creates friction where there was none. Friction that causes heat in our body, which we experience as pain and suffering.
I know, because I am caught off guard at times too.
If I’m caught in the stories of my mind and an event rocks my world, I will flat out reject my experience: How can this be happening? What is wrong with the world? What did I do wrong? These stories in my mind try to force away the experience I’m having. Telling me: This shouldn’t be happening. But the truth is, it is happening. Whether I believe it should or not, is irrelevant.
Three weeks ago, the novel coronavirus hit my hometown of Perth.
Things have been changing at lightening speed. Today, I went to the supermarket to do my weekly food shop. I was greeted with what seemed like 50m long queues out the front of the store, everyone standing on green dots, 1.5m apart. What is going on? I thought to myself. What now?
Today stores were told they could only allow a set number of people in, to keep to social distancing laws.
When a shop was full, we now had to line up to get in. One out, one in. It reminded me of my nightclub days, waiting in long lines to get into the best clubs in town. Albeit back then we waited excitedly, in anticipation of a fun night ahead.
Once inside the store, I noticed staff acting as security, policing how close people got to each other. Reminding us to practice social distancing. Many people donned gloves and masks. Most items were available, but some shelves were bare.
There was still no toilet paper. No pasta, no rice, no flour.
I was only allowed to buy two tinned products maximum and one of most other items. It’s almost impossible to make it through the week with these restrictions and a family of five to feed. 2L of milk can stretch to two days, meaning I would have to go to the store three times a week just for milk. To make a pot of pasta sauce, I had to visit twice to get the tinned tomatoes I needed. Luckily there were no restrictions on fresh fruit and vegetables.
It was hard to comprehend that just three short weeks ago I did all my shopping online, as I did every week, without ever setting foot in a store. I could order to my heart’s content and the lovely delivery driver would bring everything to my door six hours after I placed my order. Now the online deliveries were reserved for the elderly and the sick.
There have been times during this pandemic, which is only three weeks in, where I have crumbled. Where I have found myself curled into a ball, hugging my legs tightly and crying tears until I couldn’t find anymore. Life does not feel neutral right now. The world has changed so rapidly, it’s hardly recognisable. It’s easy to tell myself stories about what has gone wrong. About how bad the situation is. But, I do my best to come back to my centre and remind myself that life is neutral.
What’s happening, is happening.
If I stay aware of what is going on in my mind, I notice when resistance arises. When I am in opposition to the as-is-ness of life. Then, like today, I can pause. I can take a deep breathe in and let it out slowly. And I can drop into my body. Eckhart Tolle has released some new videos on managing fear and uncertainty during these times and shared a brilliant practice. It is similar to one I was introduced to many years back by Deepak Chopra.
When you notice you’re caught up in stories in the mind, shift your focus to your body.
In particular, your hands. Close your eyes and feel the energy in your hands. How do you know they are there? What can you sense? Can you feel the energy pulsing through them? Can you feel your heart beat in them? Can you feel them come alive? You can do this same practice with other parts of your body; your face, your feet, your legs, your neck, your shoulders; until you can sense a deep aliveness pulsing through your entire body. I find my heart is a good place to start too, tuning into it and feeling it beat in my body.
When I am aware enough to notice my thoughts are creating dis-ease in my body and I drop into this practice, the suffering in my body melts away.
I feel calm and peaceful again. Then, I can reflect on the event. What triggered me? What am I resisting? And what is it that I am being asked to let go of, in order to transform? To regain wholeness and peace in my heart?
For me, today, I was being asked to let go of my beliefs about how the world should be.
That I should be able to buy whatever I want in the supermarket. That I should be allowed in, no matter how many others are already in there. That I shouldn’t have to go to the shops at all and should be able to do my shopping online, as I always have.
The fact is the world is different right now, and I am being called to act differently.
We all are. But it doesn’t have to cause us suffering and chaos in our hearts and minds. We can maintain a peaceful heart, no matter what, when we accept what is.
It seems challenging, sometimes impossible, but it can be done.
It’s all about practice. And we must build our muscles, one step at a time, starting with little things. The more we practice, the easier it gets. Just like with any skill. We can’t expect to be at the top of the game the first time we try something new, we need to take things slowly. We need to be kind and patient with ourselves.
There are no enemies ‘out there’.
Life is always unfolding beautifully, perfectly, just as it is meant to.
* Notice when you hear stories in your mind about what is good, bad, right or wrong. See if you can suspend your judgement of the moment and find acceptance for what is.
* Life is neutral. It is not good or bad. Right or wrong. Negative or positive. Life is. An intricate web, simply unfolding, moment by moment.
* The only thing that deems things to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is your mind. Your own interpretations about the way things should be.
* There are no enemies out there. Life is simply unfolding just as it’s meant to.