“Going with the flow is responding to cues from the universe. When you go with the flow, you’re surfing Life force. It’s about wakeful trust and total collaboration with what’s showing up for you.” – Danielle LePort
I’ll admit that in the past, I was a nervous flyer. I was particularly tense whenever a plane experienced bumpy spells of turbulence. My hands would get sweaty and my heart pounded so hard that I could almost hear it. I would anxiously look outside the window to check if the wings of the airplane were still intact. I was somehow convinced that my concern was crucial in keeping the plane afloat!
My eyes would dart around the cabin to catch the expressions of my fellow passengers. Some were slouched in their chairs with their eyes closed, others looked annoyed as they held onto their drinks to avoid spillage, while others looked as calm as Zen monks, while watching rom-coms on their TV set.
As the turbulence wore off, I gradually regained my composure and I vowed to get more support in dealing with my fears of flying. After one particularly disturbing flight, I finally arranged to meet with a friend and her husband, Tom, the pilot. I seized the opportunity to get a more factual understanding about the mechanics of flying from him. I knew that it was the only way that I could diffuse my overactive nerves.
Tom smiled as he said that I was not the first person who had asked him about the safety of flying so that they could assuage their fears. He went on to assure me that planes are built to withstand turbulence and that pilots are well trained when it comes to navigating it through a bumpy patch of air.
“Sometimes we try to move away from them, but there are times when we have no choice but to pass through, and the key is for us to avoid resisting the flow of air, no matter how much we wobble. We allow the plane to be carried by the air currents because we trust our instruments and the sturdiness of the plane.” Tom’s words not only comforted me but also gave me an unexpected breakthrough.
I couldn’t help but draw a parallel to real life. As humans, we like to have control over situations and feel uneasy whenever we’re faced with uncertainty. In addition to our instinctual aversion towards the unknown, we face the mounting pressure of meeting society’s expectations of us having the perfect career, body, partner, bank account and becoming someone influential – all within our limited life span!
So we keep pushing under the illusion our lives follow a straight and predictable path. We think it’s a numbers game and that the more we try, the more we increase our chances of getting what we want. While there’s nothing wrong in trying to actualize our dreams, we should question what those efforts are costing us in terms of our inner peace. Is our need to control and micro-manage wearing us down?
Everything that we do interacts with the natural flow and rhythm of life, governed by cosmic forces that are often unpredictable. It pervades every aspect of nature and all creatures abide by its law and order. Because of our human ego, we try to resist it and fight it. We find it difficult to accept that even if everything seems like it’s going wrong, it may be exactly what’s needed for our growth and progress.
There is a higher purpose and a plan that we can’t always see from the tiny window of our human consciousness. No matter how well you plan and prepare for things, there will always be aspects of a situation that you can’t control. Much like flying in a plane, we will go through rough and hazy phases where the only way to deal with the mystery is to have faith and listen to our inner wisdom.
Now, going with the flow certainly does not mean that we passively accept unsatisfying circumstances that do not fulfill us. On the contrary, it should be a co-creative process where we work in tandem partnership with the cosmic intelligence to manifest your desired outcome.
This means doing the best that we can within a situation and then releasing our mental grip on the outcome while staying open to all possibilities. We roll with the punches without getting frustrated or losing hope along the way. We remain objective as we strategically fine-tune our steps and plans.
For example, if you’ve been constantly sending out job applications only to receive one rejection over another, you may feel disappointed and lose confidence in your professional abilities. But it is precisely during times like these when you should stay strong and learn to trust the flow of events taking place.
You avoid taking things personally and continue to do your part in changing the situation, such as getting feedback from employers and career counselors on how you can change up your game to get more recruiters to be interested in you. You could also start doing more networking to meet useful contacts.
So going with the flow is essentially a way of being that requires us to maintain a solid internal state of faith, while remaining proactive in our approach. Here are some ideas on how you can accomplish this:
- Become less rigid about your path: Having a goal in mind is important but we need to be careful about how attached we get to the road that we use to get there. We certainly do need to have a well-thought-out POA, but very seldom do things go exactly as planned. There will be plenty of detours, about-turns and slowdowns on our way to our destination. For this reason, we need to stay flexible about how we’re going to reach our destination and be open to making adjustments if needed.
- Give up overanalyzing situations: When we want something really bad, there is a temptation for us to examine it from several angles and mentally dissect it until we give ourselves “analysis paralysis”. This is when strategic thinking starts becoming counterproductive. If you feel this happening to you, it will help to do some breath work, meditation and repetition of affirmations to manage your anxious thoughts.
- Pay attention to clues and signs: Once you silence the mental noise in your head, you’ll be able to hear the inner voice of your intuition, which can provide you with guidance on how to proceed. You’ll also have the awareness to pick up on the hints that the Universe will send your way, in the form of people, events, books, and even song lyrics. You’ll notice that once you let go of the need to control, you’ll attract all the resources and knowledge needed to move away from uncertainty and confusion.
- Maintain a higher perspective: It’s so easy to get caught up in the minutia of our daily existence and lose sight of the big picture of our life. A birds-eye view on our situation can give us perspective on the challenges that we’re currently facing. For example, if you find yourself stressing about why your date hasn’t called you back after so many days, you might want to ask yourself a big-picture question, such as: Will this person not calling me back really matter to me 10 years from now? Does it affect the exciting plans that I have for my professional life or the relationships I have with my family and friends?
- Trust: It’s next to impossible to go with the flow if you don’t have a basic level of trust in yourself and in the process of life. If you believe in a Higher Power, you need to place your faith in your religious and/or spiritual beliefs and trust that you are being compassionately guided through a process for your soul’s growth and evolution. If you’re not prone to think in this way, you need to trust in your abilities and internal resources to do whatever it takes to find the support you need to actualize your dreams.
I would like to end with one of my favorite quotes, from the legendary martial arts actor Bruce Lee, which sums up the importance of going with the flow:
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
Let’s all strive to be like water, flexible and fluid, yet powerful and dynamic, so that we can flow in harmony with the ever-changing currents of the cosmos.
All my best on your journey,
Question for you: What does “going with the flow” look like and feel like to you? How can you bring this sensibility into your internal makeup?
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