One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end. – Krishnamurti
On this first day of the new decade I found a bottle floating in the surf. The cork of the wine bottle was encrusted with small barnacles and the label on the stem, worn smooth by the tumbling tides, revealed nothing of the bottle’s origins. Seeing the bottle floating in the sea I imagined there might be a mysterious note inserted by some far distant soul – asking for rescue; crying out from a broken heart; searching for a connection. But the bottle was empty. The bottle was instead a metaphor for the path ahead. How can I take a bearing from what I know now?
The Way – the course on which we wander into the future this day of new beginnings – unfolds from the known into the unknown. But, as Krishnamurti said, the fear of what’s up ahead stems from dreading loss of the familiar, the comfortable. Change is the nature of the universe. The whole of our experiences shift constantly between the familiar and the unexplored. The more unencumbered the flow between the two poles – known/unknown – the more genuine life becomes.
Perhaps this bottle, floating without purpose, crossed an ocean. There was no plan, no step-by-step reasoning. The course was determined completely organically. Taoism has been called the “watercourse way”. In Taoist thought life should be lived as naturally as water flowing. This is where the “flow” concept comes from. The experience of artists as they create, athletes as they perform and anyone fully engrossed in their efforts is described as a flow experience. This basically means releasing the controls over behavior and performance – to be unrestrained and natural. This empty bottle’s appearance on the beach this morning, reminded me to make a new year’s resolution.
Staring at the empty space defined within the bottle I resolved to be more natural when facing anxiety about the future. Have a loose idea where you want to be and let the course be revealed inevitably as the tide. To quote one of my favorite Blues musicians BB King – Have faith in what you are doing, and everything’s going to be alright. Flow towards the future one day at a time.
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