Saturday, August 13, 2011

Are You Praying/ Searching/ Meditating The “Right” Way?

Do you ever feel like if you worked harder, prayed harder or meditated your way to egolessness your life would be better? There are so many instructions/preachers/life coaches (what is a “life” coach anyway?), consultants, self-help books and Yogi’s – all with ideas and instructions on how you can do whatever “it” is better/faster/deeper/smarter/cheaper.

I know that there are better and worse ways of doing things.  I’ve certainly experimented with plenty of effective and ineffective strategies. I’ve done enough dumb things to recognize that there are smarter (and less embarrassing) ways to cope.  But I get the sense that so much of what we hear and read is simply marketing that plays into our insecurities.  I think that, at the heart of many of these strategies is the unspoken, very seductive, message that, if we try harder or smarter or softer or “let it be”, we can gain control over our messy lives. Just follow these simple instructions and you can be….. (fill in your own wishes).

Maybe we just want to get our own way. We repeatedly try to bend the universe to our will and often the universe does not comply (darn!). The universe reminds us time and again that we are not in control very often and, in fact, we are sort of puny in the scheme of things. We see it all the time in nature. There is no control over whether it rains or shines. So why is it such a struggle to accept how little control we have over our own lives? I really don’t know.

What do you think?


  1. I signed up for a professional training path where I knew that during residency I would never have much control of my time. I get to pick my field, but beyond that much of the next 3+ years of my life would be determined by forces outside of me. "The Match" tells me where I move to. The schedule of residency tells me month by month where to be, when, how, why, what to do 80 hours a week. So I surrender and don't try and pretend I have ultimate control over my life. Actually it's a little bit exciting to see how it all will unfold. My 3rd year of med school was infuriating never knowing what my schedule would be and having people telling me where to be. But the moment I let go of that tension and decided not to worry about it was the moment I let myself be happy again. Much of our control in life is an illusion. At a moments notice it all could change and you could be swept into a spiral of newness you never wanted or expected. Not that I have to tell you that, most of us have been there. But you're right, there's no secret potion or set of directions to being healthier, happier or whatever. We can only do the best we can where we're at and ride the wave. Sometimes the best isn't that pretty, but it's better than nothing.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I agree sometimes the best isn't always pretty, but it's what we do with it.