Thursday, November 4, 2010

THE HARDER YOU TRY – Some Things You Can't Make Happen

Life's design is often so much more elegant than our own.

I’ve lived long enough to have had a few misty, fleeting glimpses of ideas that felt like they had something to do with the true meaning of life. While most have proven pretty elusive, one I’m quite sure of is that, no matter how hard you may try, you can’t always make things happen. Some things happen only when you learn how to let them happen.

This concept was captured well in an Esquire magazine illustration I saw and clipped many years ago. It was in two frames. In the first, a man’s head is tightly wrapped in chains. The coarse links seem to bite into his forehead. Gritting his teeth, sweat pouring down his puffy, red face, he strains to break free of his torment.

In the second image, the man’s expression has unclenched. He’s relaxed, serene. The veins in his neck no longer stick out. He’s completely surrendered himself to his situation. And the chain is disintegrating, flying off in jagged pieces.

           Some things happen only when 
           you learn how to let them happen.

The idea was also articulated well in the best-selling The Inner Game of Tennis and its sequels about other sports by Tim Gallwey in the 1970s and 80s. Gallwey said that athletes are born with the capacity for the perfect natural swing, delivery, or whatever the key movement of his or her sport. All you have to do is watch someone who's really good at it, and your brain will capture and subconsciously program those mechanics into its interface with your body.

According to this model, the aspiring athlete's traditional mantras of "Okay, now, keep your eye on the ball; step into your swing; keep the racket head up; and a dozen others can only corrupt that program, that perfect channeling of perfect motion. Trying: no; making: no; letting: yes.

The murky depths of memory

This is certainly the case with memory. How often have you delved, in vain, the murky depths of your brain for some factoid only to have it pop to the surface just after you've given up looking for it? It happens to me all the time, suggesting that the unconscious mind is better able to navigate memory's nooks and crannies than the conscious one.

            Not only is such control overrated; 
            it is an utter illusion.

With each day of this grand adventure of being, I'm learning that this "inner game" of consciousness  serves me pretty well in most aspects of my life—who I am, what I do and how I interact with myself, other people and Nature. Every time I catch myself expecting to be in control, some muse deep within counsels me that not only is such control overrated; it is an utter illusion.

Can you think of times when the harder you’ve tried to make something happen, the less likely it would?

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be."


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