Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.
- Tao Te Ching
Great spiritual teachings suggest the benefits of spontaneity, fluidity and avoiding a rigid mind. Going with the flow doesn’t mean we accept the prevailing conventions of society – it means we seek to find our inner truth and follow the promptings of our heart.
How can we implement this philosophy into everyday life?
Allow the Solution To be Created
In life, we can come up against innumerable problems and difficulties, which, at times, can seem insurmountable. Often we are drawn to just thinking and exaggerating the scale of the difficulty. But, to overcome a problem, we need to consciously visualise the solution. This belief and focus on the positive outcome, helps it to be created. As Sri Chinmoy states in this poem:
Focus not on the dire problem,
But on the easy solution.
Live not on an empty promise,
But be a true man of action.
With other people we need to express the confidence the right thing will happen. If we can wholeheartedly embrace the solution, we can allow it to occur. We must be watchful we do not hold onto the problem, as some form of disguised self-pity. Instead, we have to be positive and allow the good thing to happen.
By doing this we are not pushing against the solution, but creating the energy for the positive experience to be created.
Follow Your Own Truth
We may feel that a harmonious life energy requires us to meet the expectations of other people; we may feel the necessity of following the ‘wisdom of the crowd’, but this is not correct. When we try to be something we are not, we make life difficult for ourselves. Harmony doesn’t mean we become one amorphous mass, in fact – the opposite. The aim is unity in diversity. If we try to be something we are not, we are always fighting our natural Self.
By being true to our self, we gain self-confidence and self-respect; it will enable us to express our own inner qualities and personalities. If people don’t appreciate our decisions, we won’t mind because we will have the inner peace of following our own soul’s deepest need. Inner peace comes when we are true to ourself; it does not come when we try to imagine and become what others expect of us. As Shakespeare said:
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
- Shakespeare 2
If we directly speak of other people’s weaknesses, they invariably become defensive and have injured pride. Because we fear confronting others, we often ignore it and they continue to frustrate us by doing the wrong thing. Neither approach is satisfactory. If we openly confront others we create friction. If we say nothing, we have to deal with the wrong behaviour. Here is another approach.
We create a conducive environment to constructive dialogue. Be happy, put the other person at ease. Start by mentioning some good qualities. Talk about your own failings and how you need to change. Mention the weakness as something you do, but would like to change. This may even be sufficient for them to be aware this is a mistake in their own life. If not, you can mention it without creating problems. This is the indirect approach. You haven’t created a confrontational approach, but raised the issue in a way that avoids hurting the other person’s pride. When people feel happy and have good self-esteem, they are in a much better place to seek their own self-improvement. If they feel forced to change, they may resent it. If they are allowed to come to their own conclusions, they will seek to make it a lasting reality.