Have you heard the expression: If you want to make God laugh, tell Him or Her your plans? We have ourselves convinced that we are in control, but in truth, we alone can do nothing. Our egoic selves are totally incapable of doing anything of real value, unless aligned with the Divine intelligence of the Universe.
Of course the mind will first of all not understand this, and secondly fight against this notion of apparent powerlessness. Let me ask you, has your life taken you exactly where you knew it would go, where you intended? Most of us, if we are honest, would be amazed at the surprising twists and turns our life has taken us. The key here is taken us.
We are not in control. This is one reason the folks in the 12 step programs are so successful. They recognize that there is a higher self or higher power. They give up, but not in a weak or wimpy way, but in a courageous way. They give up the egoic insistence on knowing what the heck is going on.
Joseph Campbell said “We must be willing to get ride of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” It is a leap of faith to stop gripping life by the throat and make space for grace to drop into our lap.
Rumi the great Sufi poet said, “Do you think I know what I’m doing? That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself? As much as a pen knows what it’s writing, or the ball can guess where it’s going next.”
We are the pen. We are the ball, being led and bounced around, but we are unaware of the one who holds the pen and moves the ball. It is a part of ourselves that we long ago disconnected from.
Rumi also says, “The Absolute works with nothing. The workshop, the materials are what do not exist. Try and be a sheet of paper with nothing on it. Be a spot of ground where nothing is growing, where something might be planted, a seed, possibly, from the Absolute.”
You see the beautiful wisdom here? Rumi is inviting us to stop pretending we know it all. Be open, receptive. Have what is sometimes called Beginners Mind in Buddhism, where our childlike innocence leaves us ready and willing to allow the intelligence of the universe the opportunity to guide us to life worth living, to do what we are here to do.
Call it what you will, following the Tao, or following your Dharma, or being guided by God, it is all the same thing. It is a trust and openness rather than a closed and controlling fist towards life and living. It breathes with newness and exists in the intelligence of the present moment. It is true joy and aliveness.