Not The Life I Planned

October 07, 2010 | | Comments 0


 There’s  a  song that  goes: “ Life’s  funny, but I’m not laughin’.”    It’s from the Blues, of course. Personally, I know the tune –if you know what I mean – but I have a rather more English take on that sucking sound I called “my life”.

Growing up in  the  Age of Plastics, i.e. the 1960’s and 70’s, in an old fashioned English – from – England  speaking household, we boys learned a word that  used to be common but is never used these days: “shall”. Now “shall” was the proper way to refer to a contemplated action in the future. So, sitting around the kitchen table, young legs still dangling off the plastic covered chair, I was often remonstrated for the incorrect usage of  the  word “will” vs. “shall”. When we used “will”, it implied an immediate action, like “ Will you pass me the maple syrup, please?” If say, we’d run out of it, then a future event was referred to, thusly: “ I shall get some  syrup  at the store today.” And “syrup” was added to the list  of future actions. Did I say “future actions?” How novel!

Future tense words ( invented by the ancient Greeks, it seems ) were just a few of the subtle ways we  were raised  to think about our life going forward” as my parents would say. So, by simply and innocently using these words about a “future” event, we constructed a  Future. ( and a “Past” but that’s another story ) We filled it with our hopes and expectations,  banal and otherwise. Indeed, I lived for the day when, short term, I shall have an ice cream, and, mid-term, I shall get a new bike and, long term, I shall be somebody, shall do something great, shall have someone special!  Ah, The Shall Games we play with our little Plans!

It’s not that planning is a bad thing, or even not useful; it’s more that the concept of a “future” is only in our minds, collectively and as individuals. We’re freighted with our ideas about the future when, in truth, there is no such critter. There is only Now. A very intimate, moment – to – moment now. The trick, of course, is to recognize this, to abandon planned futures and to meet our life not “head” on, but as it is now.  And that’s where the truth comes in –usually like a wrecking ball! There follows a major series of collisions with our wall of illusions.

Fortunately ( though it’s not seen at the time )  the hardly real place of what we think shall be, is hit with the really hard truth of what Is.  And a not – so – funny thing also often happens in our life after this un-elected de-construction: we  set out on a new re-construction called “Spirituality”. I did, for over twenty years!   “Most of Spirituality”, says Adyashanti, “ is a construction project”. And that’s OK too, because we  continue to keep bumping into the demolishing power of Truth.  A truth that’s  served up fresh at the table of life every moment.

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