Updated: Apr 22, 2021
Struggling against the rapids
Ever tried surfing, or whitewater rafting? Then you’ll know that feeling of wiping out, when you feel like you’ve lost control and the world turns into a bewildering giant washing machine of chaos and foam. The more you struggle and panic, the harder it is to know which way is up.
We’ve all been in the rapids, spinning and tumbling and gasping for breath. We’ve all felt that deeply embedded survival-instinct to flail out and grab for something – anything – to slow us down, to stop the bewildering momentum of this great current of life.
It feels frightening. It feels unknown. And most terrifying of all, we don’t know where the darn thing goes.
But we cannot survive the rapids by resisting them, or we’ll be pinned there forever against the immovable rocks. For as long as we fear the powerful flow of life, we’ll stay trapped and caught, infinitely blasted by force.
There's nothing to do but surrender
So there’s nothing to do but surrender, and the only solution is trust. To soften, accept and release – let go of whatever poor, unsuspecting branch we’ve grabbed hold of and are gripping tight with terror – and allow the flow to take us onwards.
Because the current IS life: pulsing with surprise, change, excitement and momentum, and urging us gloriously, continuously, on. We’re here to explore, experience and experiment; to rejoice in all the whole messy marvel of it, to whoop and cheer and holler! We can try to paddle upstream all we want, convinced that salvation lies at the sharp end of struggle, but it won’t change the truth: that nothing we came for is back there anyway. That’s just where we travelled from.
It’d be like stepping off the plane to our holiday destination, only to dash immediately back on board in fear.
By fighting the flow, we’re trying to go backwards – to return to the ultimate pool of life that birthed us, right up there in the uppermost glacial lake from which every tributary descends. However beautiful, pure and clear it is, it’s not where we came here to stay; it’s only the source, the reservoir from which we surge forwards in life to explore. We’re here to cascade into every waterfall, and to spill, trickle and seep into each and every crevice and cavity. And as we flow, we sculpt and soften the way for others - new paths, new dreams, new possibilities and hopes.
Everything we seek is downstream
Everything we seek is downstream, where the current wants to take us. And yet every conditioned layer of us is afraid of letting go. If only we’d stop resisting - put down the mighty oars of our ego and let our boat turn with the flow - then we’d discover what life has been waiting patiently all these years to tell us: it’ll take us exactly where we need to be.
We’re here for the adventure, for the thrill of the ride - not to dam the flow of life with the bricks and mortar of our minds. So when we’re buffeted in the white-water, life is whispering to us to let go.... to give up our thrashing, to quieten our fear, and to let ourselves naturally rise gently back to the surface.
It is always within our power to relax, stop struggling, and connect with trust.
And discover the white-water isn’t real anyway, and that we are always able to breathe.