As you are reading this article, I invite you to take a moment and bring your attention to your breath. Notice that it is flowing through you, each in-breath turning into an out-breath and then merging into an in-breath again. Your breath is a part of the river of Life that has been flowing since the beginning of time, and right now you are a part of this flow. This moment is the living moment of your life and it is flowing into the next. Moments become the river of a day that flows into night and then back again, each one seamlessly merging into the other. And days and nights become seasons, an unbroken unfolding since the beginnings of our planet.
We were intimate with this river of Life when we were very young. There was no time in our minds yet; there was only this flow. Growing up seems to be a process of forgetting the flow and getting caught in our minds – becoming human ‘doings’ instead of human ‘beings’. Rather than allowing thoughts, feelings and experiences to simply flow through us, we get lost in grasping at what we like and resisting what we don’t like. And this gives us the illusion of being separate from the flow.
The truth is that you have never left the flow, you just think you have. To relearn how to relax into Life, becoming life rather than trying to make it a particular way, is what awakening is all about. It is rediscovering how to open to Life, where our minds are curious rather than controlling and our hearts are inclusive rather than judgmental. It is possible to be consciously open to the great flow of Life and know the joy, creativity and love that come from trusting Life again.
Being in the flow is not about doing nothing. It is about being fully engaged with the creativity of Life as it is appearing right now. A good example is my book, The Magical Forest of Aliveness. It was born one day as I was sitting down to meditate and a simple analogy started showing up in my mind. I let it go, but it wouldn’t let me go, so I wrote down the bare bones of this little tale of awakening. In those moments, I was listening to the flow of Life. I was being Life rather than doing Life. I was responding to Life rather than trying to control it. I had never had even one thought about writing an awakening tale, and yet here it was, arising out of the great mystery of life.
As the story filled out over the next few months, I realized that this story is our story.
We were all born into the magical forest of aliveness where we were truly connected to ourselves and connected to Life. Then slowly, as we grew up and thoughts began to fill up our minds, we all got caught behind the walls of the village called Mind, just like Rose, the little girl who is the main character in the book. But through the challenges of her life, she does find her way to the tower of awareness in the center of the village where, for the first time since she was very little, she recognizes the magical forest beyond the walls of the village of Mind. We can all discover exactly what Rose did. When we are curious about what is unfolding in our lives, both inside and outside of ourselves, Life speaks to us and shows us how to come back into the aliveness that is our birthright.
Rose eventually makes her way back into the magical forest where she remembers the deep trust in herself and in Life she knew so well when she was little. On her journey of exploration, she comes across a lion, a tiger and a bear. As she meets each of these creatures that she had been taught to fear, they reveal to her secrets of staying connected to herself and to the flow of Life. When she returns to the village, she discovers that the mighty walls which had formerly kept her separate from Life are now no higher than a garden wall. And she knows that she will never loose connection with the trust, aliveness and joy that is her true self – and yours.