I was reading a little bit about Zen principles and one theme of Zen is that of non striving. I get it in theory. Yes, I’ve heard and recited to others the notion that we are exactly where we are supposed to be for our evolution and growth. Yes, I’ve told myself in times of uncertainty that all things are as they should be. I’ve even professed to myself and others that all things happen for a reason. However, and this is a very big however, the idea of not striving for something different? something more… something better… something – at the next level of what currently exists… NO WAY. I can’t imagine it. Wouldn’t that mean that I had no passion? Wouldn’t that mean that I was lazy… depressed… detached from life?
It makes me think of Byron Katie‘s work… which she so happens to refer to as, “The Work.” When I read her book, Loving What Is… it really shifted my perception of life. I often ask myself, when I’m feeling upset, indignant, or unhappy with what currently lies before me… can I really know that this is not exactly what is supposed to be happening for my ultimate spiritual growth right now? I mean, bad things happen to everyone. There is not one single person that you can name who hasn’t experienced hardship of some kind… and if you think you know someone… I invite you to dig a little deeper! It makes me think of the analogy of the pearl… the rough sand is required to rub against the pearl to shine it into the beautiful gem that we have come to know and love. Without the scratchy, rough friction, the pearl would never be transformed into a beautiful gem…. and the true fulfillment of its greatest nature.
So, lets say that we are accepting the current state of our lives. We are, potentially, accepting and loving what is. (And I’m not saying that this is my current state… just the state that I aspire to)… Where does non-striving come into play? If I maintain a state of non striving, does that mean that I am succumbing to the current state and will never move beyond my current situation? I believe this is one of those quirky life paradoxes where instead of being either/or… the reality is both/and… I am BOTH succumbing to the current state AND moving beyond my current situation.
Here is what I believe, even if I have not been able to fully embody the truth that is set forth. The more we can get ridiculously excited about our current state… the more we invite events and situations into our life that are worth getting excited about. And on the flip side… the more that we focus on, talk about, and commiserate about the hardships, setbacks and irritations in our current state, the more we invite similar negative experiences into our lives. It is such a simple and straightforward concept to talk about… and so very difficult to enact. Even believing, as I do, that this concept is 100% accurate… I still find myself complaining, and commiserating with others. It is human nature, I suppose, to pay attention to the potential negativity and issues that could prove problematic. What I hope is that we can teach ourselves to move past this initial reaction, and as Byron Katie’s work suggests, we could question ourselves into a place of greater awareness and utmost content.
One last thing I want to address… does non striving mean not doing anything? NO. Non striving means not beating yourself up for not being other than you are in this very moment. It does not mean that you do not continue to act and think and believe in greater days ahead. The biggest discrepancy between non striving and where I feel that I am today, is that I do not spend enough time honoring my current state. Non striving involves much more appreciation of what is… of where you are currently on your journey… of what you’ve accomplished to date! I’m sure there is much more to learn about non striving… but I’m going to take a moment to be content with what I have learned thus far… and know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be on my own journey to non striving!
Love and laughter to you! ~Rashel