“You cannot control circumstances. You never intended to control circumstances. You intended to discover unconditional love. You intended to discover a way to feel good, no matter what, because you have the faculty, you have the power, you have the ability to focus.” - Abraham-Hicks
Now more than ever, we are confronted with the fact that the world is beyond our control. Every moment the world is touching you in some way - interfacing with your sense doors. It’s folly to think that every sensation can be exactly as you want. But wouldn’t it be nice?
If all it took was “following your bliss”, why wouldn’t everyone be enlightened? It seems that the pathway to get there is barred by the necessity of a passage through hell, which is obviously something few people even want to go through – Jordan Peterson
Is a life well-lived a perpetual attempt to control circumstances such that you only encounter the good? Abraham-Hicks highlights that we never meant to control, but that this controlling arose from a deeper longing - to be content. What is stressed by spiritual teachers of all traditions is that while you can’t control feelings, you have agency over your reactions.
One powerful way to improve our relationships is to learn to recognize and drop our own unhelpful projections – HH the 17th Karmapa
In our relationship to existence, one of our most unhelpful projections is that: “things ought to be this way for me to be happy”. So the 17th Karmapa urges you to simply drop it. Drop this mindset, drop this way of seeing reality. Right after you feel something, the moment before your mind tells you that it is insufficient for your happiness - rewind. Go back to that moment before the mind and after the feeling. Abiding in this space, you find the scent.
When a master teaches his students the direct knowing of buddha nature, it is the same as introducing a carnivore to the scent of the deer. Once you get the scent, the you have it. The scent is there. – Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
Smell is our most primal faculty. And the scent of buddha-nature is a deep, original knowing that contentment/peace/happiness is an inner orientation to the world. A recognition that for peace to pervade, you must get off the childish ride of pursuing pleasant and rejecting unpleasant. Embrace the whole game with a smile.
It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice - Joseph Conrad
But it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Once you go beyond controlling, life is an unfolding to which you can choose to be open and curious. Once you go beyond outcomes, you return to the scent of the deer. As Dogen Zenji says, you “leap clear of abundance and lack”.
You get the scent by staying fixed in the present moment. By guarding your mind against unhelpful projections. By learning to experience bare reality without any story. Seeing how anxious thoughts manifest as sensations on your body. How pain is just localized intensity. Translate thoughts into feelings, drop away your projections, and smile at the impersonal flow of sensation.
Become master of the present moment, and you will always be in the right place
It is as it is.