A thought occurred to me today about trusting life, trusting the big picture when you can’t see it. I begin writing this post without a clear idea of what I am going to say, but trusting that it will make sense in the end.
I’ve been taking improv classes these past couple months. It started as a way to rekindle something I enjoyed doing when I lived in Eastern Mass, and also with the intent of meeting people. I am writing this post in a way that is in line with the tenor of those classes. In improv, as in life, I don’t know where things are going, and I ultimately have no choice but to trust in others, and that it will all work out in the end.
This approach to life is an exercise in both improvisation as well as in spirituality. I don’t know why or how Spirit works the way it does. It’s not much of a mental jump to make to see why some tribes use the term Great Mystery instead of Spirit.
The classic text Tao Te Ching starts with (one translation), “The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao.” In other words, the true spirit behind everything cannot be limited to a word. It is incomprehensible, especially by our meager little human brains. To put a word on the infinite is to define it, which is to give it some form and inherently limit it, making so it is no longer all that it is.
I do not know how things will unfold. I do not know where things are going, in my own life or in the world. I don’t understand why things happen the way they do. I don’t understand why beings die when they do. I don’t understand why this winter has provided many more blue sky and sunny days than has been typical of winter. I can’t make sense of who contracts COVID and who doesn’t.
I am pretty good at organizing information and finding patterns in life. This has suited me well in many ways, including interpreting shamanic journeys as well as synthesizing a diagnoses for my clients. I think it’s a valuable skill.
But I cannot see or understand all of what life does. It truly is a Great Mystery. All I can do, truly, is to trust that the forces greater than I am are benevolent. I may be wrong on that, but believing that those forces aren’t benevolent is the grounds for living a life of fear and anxiety, a path I am familiar with. A significant portion of my work, and of this month’s practice, is trusting those greater forces enough to be curious and open to them, even when I can’t see the full picture. Because, truly, I never can.