March 20 – Stirring the Water, Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“To let knowledge produce troubles and then use knowledge to prepare against them, is like stirring water in hopes of making it clear.” Lao-Tzu

This cycle of producing problems and the preparing against them is very much like pulling a thread that really should have been left alone. The more we pull it, the more the fabric unravels, and now we must re-sew it all. Or very much like planning too many things, or committing to too many people in too short a time, and then exhausting yourself and those around  you trying to make it all happen.

We have all done this. A more subtle form of this revolves around the struggle to accept ourselves. Feeling unworthy or insecure, we create a goal, in hopes that achieving this will make us feel good about ourselves. Then we’re off scheming for success, preparing against failure, stirring the water, hoping it will go clear.

All the while the very deep resources of hearts and spirit are being misapplied. Isn’t this how we launch into careers that really don’t call us? Isn’t this how we enter relationships that don’t embrace us? Isn’t this how we sometimes bring children into the world, hoping they will help us to clear?

The mind is a spider that, if allowed, will tangle everything and the blame the things it clings to for the web it wants to be free of. I have done this with dreams of greatness and hopes of love, wanting so badly to see myself clearly the water, while I kept stirring and stirring. Perhaps the hardest thing I’ve learned, and still struggle with, is that I don’t have to be finished in order to be whole.

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