I had a very insightful conversation with a friend of mine recently. He was saying how, now that he is away from his home country he feels protected from the economic woes back there... how he thought he has a job providing a steady income... how comfortable he feels in the team that he works with... how enjoyable is the time he spends with his girlfriend... and how great it is to have some certainty in life.
Then his story took an unexpected U-turn as he went on to explain how his family asked him to send a huge sum of money back home, which he did, how he suddenly got transferred to a different department he doesn't like so much, how he had to take a salary cut ... and you guessed it how his girlfriend left him.
I listened, attentively and compassionately ... without hurrying to say anything. He was staring through the window as he was telling me his story, then he turned his gaze back to me and said:
"What was I thinking ... there is no certainty in life."
At first, I thought, well of course there is no certainty.
Constant unpredictable change is the natural order of things...
Actually, chasing after certainty in life can make us live in fear, feel paralyzed and unable to act in the face of unpredictable outcomes.
On the other hand, people who are able to embrace and live comfortably with uncertainty tend to expose themselves to more opportunities and often end up living with more happiness and fulfillment.
But after some time, I thought again and realized... Actually, there is some certainty. It just cannot be found externally - it is not out there in the circumstances of our lives. The only true certainty we can get comes from our attitude. Once we develop the unshakable confidence that everything has meaning just as it is - that is true certainty. The certainty that:
Whomever we meet they are the right person or people.
Whatever happens it is the only thing that could happen.
Whenever it happens it happens at the right time.
Pouring - let it rain... Countless e-mails - let them come... Organisational changes - let them happen...
Developing this kind of confidence is not easy - it takes a lot of courage and faith. But when we think about it - what is the alternative? Live in constant fear and anxiety?
I choose to accept things as they are and act according to the circumstances - this I can control, the outcome - I cannot.
Even when there are storms the mountain remains still... Even when there are waves the depth of the ocean is calm...
Be like the mountain, be like the ocean - embrace the uncertainties of life - be the larger container that simply holds and sees the transitory nature of your everyday experiences without being swayed by them.
Worry is pointless and futile. Acceptance is not easy, but is the only way.
Acceptance has nothing to do with passivity.
We see things clearly, acknowledge them and act in what we think is the best way. This is in stark contrast with capitulating and playing the role of a victim in a situation.
Sometimes we feel as if work piles up and we make no progress, tasks get completed very slowly if at all, people cancel important meetings, we don't get replies to our e-mails and answers to our phone calls, the elevator takes excessively long. We feel like shouting... we start thinking how "bad" the day is and what a "failure" we are. Does this help? Of course, not. So, just observe the situation and don't get caught in the drama. Do what you can and let it be.
You can control your actions but not the outcomes.
On other occasions, everything happens so smoothly and naturally, it feels as if things get resolved on their own, every single call we make, every single e-mail we send delivers tangible and positive results. We feel great, we start thinking about how "wonderful" the day is and how "successful" we are. Self-confidence and feeling worthy are not bad - just don't get attached to them and don't anchor them to external factors or outcomes. Basically, we go back to the same thing - don't get caught in the drama. Enjoy the day and be grateful to all people and conditions that made it happen. Yes, you played a role but no, it is not "your" achievement.
So, what do you think, is there any certainty or not?
If we are looking for certainty outside ourselves, we are doomed to fail.
With total acceptance of the circumstances of our life and firm faith in our conviction, we gain the certainty to walk and act with calmness, clarity and confidence.