When Moe received the news that she needed routine surgery, she began to worry. Her caution was understandable, she’d had surgery once before and experienced unpleasant complications. She came to me for help with disrupted sleep and for, what she called, a worry knot in her stomach. She didn’t want medical advice, she wanted to learn how to stop worrying.
I could have sent Moe home with relaxation exercises and tips for soothing anxiety. But because she was keen to stop worrying, rather than simply manage it, this told me she was ready to take a look at nature of life and the art of surrender.
I invited Moe to contemplate the tendencies of the everyday thinking mind. Running on ancient conditioning, our everyday mind views our body as separate – separate from others, and separate from life.
From the perspective of our everyday mind, we are always facing a potential threat, so it acts like a control tower – constantly on the look out for possible danger. One of the ways our everyday mind tries to keep us safe is by anticipating events going wrong, and figuring out a plan to survive.
You could say that planning what to do if things go wrong is smart, and brings relief. There is a case for this kind of thinking; for instance, when a new building is constructed, fire escapes need to be incorporated,
but in our day to day life worry energy accumulates in our brain and body, and tips our nervous system into an unnecessary and debilitating state of alert.
In reality the atoms and molecules that spin together to create our bodies are not separate from the air we breath or the flowers in the field. When we allow our perception to shift from looking out of our everyday mind to seeing with the light of our heart, we become aware of the seamless flow of our existence with all of life. It’s then that we begin to sense the faithful, quiet presence of a vast intelligence biased towards nurture and love. We begin to see beauty in situations, people and events that previously we either criticized or were afraid of.
With awakening comes the realization that life is on our side. It breaths us, holds us when we sleep, inspires us when we wake up. Knowing that life animates us with love doesn’t mean that everything becomes smooth sailing, it might, at least for a time, but what it does mean is that we begin to experience life as a river which carries us. All we need to do is to surrender and let life take care of the details.
This explanation intrigued Moe, but I could tell that she was trying to grasp my ideas with her mind, rather than let them resonate in a deeper way. So I relaxed, let go my attempt to convey the mystery of life with words, and sat with her in silence.
As my body softened and my breathing slowed, I felt a quiet presence deepen within me and flow into the space with Moe. Surrendering any attempt to reach an outcome, I trusted that if Moe was to recognize the vast intelligence of her true nature, she would.
After a few timeless minutes Moe began to smile and she shared an insight that had bubbled up; she saw how her worry – far from protecting her – was keeping her feeling trapped and powerless. I listened in silence and watched as she sighed and then leaned back in her chair in contentment. It was as though Moe was floating, arms outstretched. She knew she was safe and well. I smiled back, glad to share a moment of palpable love with her.