Is this scenario familiar to you: you started your day on a high note, you had a plan, you sorted out your priorities, and you even caught up on returning phone calls and responding to your emails. You were on a smooth sail for a little while until something that’s not on your radar came your way. This could be you boss, a colleague or a customer needing to discuss with you on an emergent issue. This could be your computer or an equipment stopped working. This could be a call to let you know that your child was sick. This could be a myriad of things...These are what we often call disruptions during our day. The reason we consider them disruptions is because they deviate from the course we set out for the day, and they are largely inconvenient and unpleasant.
We know from experience that these disruptions are part of life’s reality. They are unavoidable, and they will keep coming. Then there is the question: how do we respond so that they will be to our advantage?
Since every response stems from perception, it is necessary that we take a closer look at these “disruptions”. The unexpected happenings during the day only becomes disruptions when we are attached to how we want the day to unfold. We know that most things in life are beyond our control, simple because there is a vaster plan and orchestration in the universe that we cannot fathom. There are many factors that go into the fabric of the day, and we are only playing out our participations of the whole. It is to be acknowledged that this tendency to want things to be under our control is innocent and understandable, as they give us a transitory sense of safety and stability that are vital to our human survival. However, if we place any requirement or dependency on how things should go, by the unpredictable nature of these things, we are bound to be disappointed, agitated or annoyed. In our growth process, when we are not yet comfortable with the rhythm of change in life, we tend to have these fixed ideas and rigid expectations.
Then how do we relax into the flow of change in life? First and foremost, we recognize that rigidity and fixation doesn’t get us anywhere. There is too much tension in that mentality. Relaxation on the other hand, offers more space and possibilities. There are a couple views that many have tried. I would like to invite you to consider:
Instead of seeing life as a battlefield, where we have to protect our territory to ensure gain and prevent loss, what if life is a divinely organized magnificent playground, where each occurrence and each encounter is there to help us attain to our higher wisdom and fulfillment? In this view, the “disruptive” circumstances and characters involved can only be agents of the universe, catalysts for our growth, and helper of our emotional evolvement. According to Byron Katie, this leads to the fundamental question each one of us must answer at some point, which is, “Is life friendly or unfriendly”? I am going to give you the space to ponder the two options. If you see life as friendly, how would that affect your feeling and responses? If you see life as unfriendly, how helpful is that belief? My favorite spiritual teacher Matt Kahn teaches extensively the principle of “Everything is here to help you”. Honestly, how do you feel in your body when you read these words? How would it affect your life if they are actually true?
Additionally, instead of seeing each day as a deposit of random events, what if the “disruptions” are in fact the precision of the universe letting us know whom we are called to serve today? This doesn’t mean that we will jump into actions at the coming of any request. We do use our intelligence and sound judgement to discern whether a request is to be attended to or not, and when would be the best time to attend to it. If we decide to respond to the request, even though reluctantly, can we see that by doing this requested task instead of sticking to what we had planned for the day, we are participating in the perfection of the universe in serving its need? Haven’t we all been rewarded by respecting the cards that life dealt out to us? It is true that by giving time to these “disruptions”, we lost our perceived progress and productivity. What if by setting aside our notion of progress and productivity, and by giving attention to these un-welcomed happenings during the day, we are actually demonstrating our willingness, openness and courage to ensure true progress and productivity? We all heard time and again that it is the truth that sets us free. Suppose we don’t doubt life, nor do we doubt ourselves today, how successful, productive would we feel in the midst of “disruptions”? I’d say we would naturally feel productive, less stressed, and we would feel that our time is well spent.
So now you see that when we take a friendlier view of the disruptions of our day, disruptions are not the cause of stress and frustration any more. Rather, they become our messengers and allies. On this note, may we all discover the friendly face of disruptions and enjoy your collaboration with the universe forever more!