Every so often I get bogged down in the old ways of thinking: that life is a struggle, that you have to fight tooth and nail to get what you want, that life is something to be conquered or mastered...that's how most people are conditioned to see life and it's perhaps little wonder that 'stress' is now more the norm than the exception and that freakishly high numbers of people are medicated. It's clear that our 'win or lose' materialistic, acquisition-driven culture is just running people into the ground, creating fear, avarice and disillusionment.
When we're conceived and begin developing in our mother's womb, the process of life happens to us of its own accord - we don't have to do anything. We don't have to struggle or fret or worry that we're somehow not 'doing it right' - because really, we're not 'doing' anything: we're being done. Same goes for when we're born and begin developing and growing. We are life unfolding in inherent perfection.
When the human mind kicks in and the 'ego' is formed (that part of us that thinks we are what we think we are; that we're separate, that we're this, that we're that), that's when we try to take over the process. Life is no longer something that effortlessly expresses through us, instead it is something we have to take charge of and manipulate and mould to our own intent. In other words, we lose touch with our essential nature and begin to think that we know better. We no longer see ourselves as an inseparate part of the whole. Instead, we see ourselves as being separate little egos, always in search of wholeness, little realising that the ego can never be whole - because it isn't even real in the first place, it's just a mental abstraction, which we use to compartmentalise our experiences.
Look at any animal and you will see how it is still in full alignment with its inherent nature - it just is what it is and it does what it does because that's what IS. Mind hasn't crept in to make it think that it should be something other than what it is - that it isn't good enough as it already is, that it must achieve and acquire and fight against life. I'm not suggesting that we all revert to an animalistic state, but we have a lot to learn from animals because they live in a far more authentic manner than the vast majority of people ever will.
We don't trust the process of life. We compartmentalise it. As Eckhart Tolle points out, it's even in our language: we say that we 'have' a life, which in truth is a contradiction in terms, because if we have a life than that implies we are separate from life. If we are separate from life, then what are we? In truth, we don't 'have a life', rather we ARE life: life expressing itself through us. Only the human ego could suppose that it knows more and knows better than LIFE itself, which is why most of us try to 'master' life and strive to 'get all we can' out of life. Hence the epidemic of stress that is all around us; hence the way the world is in the horrifically shambolic state it is in.
We don't have to 'do' anything in life, because ultimately any attempts to control life are illusory...instead, we're being 'done' by life. Case in point: observe your body. You don't have to breathe your body; your body is BEING breathed. You don't need to do anything or stress or fear that your body isn't 'good enough' at breathing - all you need to do is surrender and trust that LIFE knows more than you do. You don't have to worry about healing cuts, growing your fingernails or hair or digesting your food: it's all being done for you. Life is breathing you - and the moment that you let go and surrender to that fact, to the innate perfection that is within you and sustaining you, then you'll be free and you'll know peace.
This doesn't mean you don't have to do anything in life, of course, but it's just a reminder that ultimately there's no point in stressing or fretting about all the outward stuff, because that's all it is: 'stuff'. Just remember that life is breathing you, and all the rest is really secondary. So many people get totally lost and carried away by mental abstraction (with thoughts of 'I am this', 'I am that', 'this should happen', 'this shouldn't happen') that they lose sight of the basic fact that we don't have to make life happen. How could we? Life is happening to us. By all means we can hold intentions of how we might want our life to be, but ultimately life is what is is and it's time to relinquish the perpetual war that creates so much unnecessary suffering in our world; just let go and let life express itself through you.
You'll never find a seedling that gets upset thinking it should be growing faster, or that it should be taller or stronger. It just is what it is and so are we. We just tell ourselves otherwise. Let go of the need to 'be something', of not being 'good enough', of striving and struggling, of wanting and needing, of attachment and aversion. Let it all go and be free.