… about the art of not doing

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river, and he’s not the same man”— said Heraclitus, one of the greatest pre-socratic philosophers of ancient Greece. This simple truth is so beautiful in itself, that it is hard to accept the heartbreaking truth behind it. Nature is designed for constant change and it is there to remind us of this one simple fact. Whatever we are today, we will no more be tomorrow. Each day, each experience, every setting of our lives is designed to keep us in a perpetual motion and constant state of change. How can then be, that we are so much craving the stability and security with every fibre of our beings?

The flaws in design of the human psyche seem to unravel with every look we take around ourselves. How to choose a career, say “I do forever”, make a conscious choice and try to take control of our lives? Where does all the pain and hurt come from, when all we need to do, is actually do nothing. How can we ever want to build social bonds, when we know, that one day we will drift to a point, where all bonds dissolve. How can we ever hope to one day have enough courage to face life’s reality? Doing nothing gives us the feeling of being deadwood drifting on Heraclitus’s ominous river. So how to take on life’s challenges without completely accepting the fatalistic nature of life and give ourselves the feeling of actually having a choice.

The answer seems to be acting by not acting. Every day the choice is ours. How we react, how we choose to accept what we feel. When we choose not to force our actions in the direction of changing what our current reality is. This can be the choice that gives us our ultimate freedom. As the river meets a fallen tree in the forest and finds its way around it, so can we, when faced with hardship in our life. Nature does not ask for permission, it just does what it’s designed to do. The continuous transformations around us and within ourselves cannot be conquered by human reason. The feelings we have are the sole result of our interpretation.

Be kind to yourself. When you feel you are not where you should be, take the time to not act and try to control. Just trust the change, that it’s there to bring you where you have to be.

“A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.”

-Lao Tzu
© 2021 Albert Erika. All rights reserved.
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