In the West, if we want to get somewhere we tend to think we need to put all our efforts into it; put every ounce of energy into achieving your goals. Motivational speakers, tapes, articles and mantras abound; all telling us how to ‘get where we are going.’ No energy whatsoever is spent on telling us how to be where we are being.
And yet that is the most important message in life. If you don’t appreciate where you are now, what makes you think you’ll appreciate somewhere else more? oh, of course, that other place will be so much better – what could you possibly find to complain about?
Yes, but like the Princess and the Pea, there’s always something to complain about. So you move from a horrible house (like we have) to a nice one (like we have). And for a while everything is paradise, because you’re comparing it to the old one. It’s like a honeymoon; everything is perfect and nothing remains to be desired. But soon little things start to niggle. The curtain that won’t close properly; the door that sticks; the mirror that isn’t quite where you want it but can’t be moved. And pretty soon you won’t be satisfied until all these problems are rectified.
But! Once they are rectified, guess what? Yep, a whole new raft of problems appears. Because that’s life, my friend; full of imperfections. And the trick is not to have what you want but to want what you have.
Now, I can’t say I always managed that, particularly with our old house, because bits of it were so horrible. But on the other hand I was grateful to have it. I was thankful that it came along just when we were starting to get desperate, and that we were able to stay there for so long. I was thankful that it was just around the corner from the Martyrs and that we saw so many people we knew every day. And because of that, the small imperfections of this house don’t worry me – because I’m just happy to be here.
Here’s a thought – what if today the only things you had were those you were thankful for yesterday?
So what does all this have to do with water? Damn, I went off on a tangent, but that’s OK because so does water. What I was going to say was that when you have a goal and there are obstacles in the way – as there pretty much always are – instead of going at them like a bull at a gate, be like water and find a way round. Like the wise man in the Tibetan story who, when everyone was being terrorised by a mad dog blocking a road, came; saw the dog, and went down another road.
Be the water, friends!
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