Life is Unfolding

The concept that life is unfolding as opposed to feeling we have to control its course, offers a refreshing and liberating perspective. We can actively become so caught up in mental narrative by thinking we have to contemplate life’s decisions that we create unnecessary stress in our lives.

Naturally, it’s logical to think that if we make the decision, then complete the action that we must therefore need to engage in the reasoning process to arrive at this point. But what if life is just happening and it’s the mental narrative that interferes?

Interestingly, a scientific study documented in various journals and explained in National Geographic, actually supports the idea that our decisions are actually made, as much as 10 seconds, before we are consciously aware of making them.

Whilst I can’t qualify this in scientific terms, I have personally experienced how putting the problem out of my ‘mind’ and consciously opting out of the deliberation process seems to make it more seamless and no less effective.

If there is something that I need to do which I am not sure how to approach – by switching my focus to another activity, maybe going for a run, doing chores, gardening, shopping or whatever the unrelated action might be, there is a subconscious process that plays out and ‘ping’, the idea, the inspiration, or decision comes in. It can enter my conscious field in a split second when I’m least expecting it. It’s a refreshing contrast to the feeling of bearing the burden of responsibility in decision making at least.

That’s not to say there is no free will. I think we have to actively engage in the process of surrendering to what is. When mind gets out of the way there is less resistance, and the best possible outcome to events can play out. When the little ‘I’, ‘the mind’, tries to solve everything the unfolding process meets with resistance and events do not play out smoothly.

I came across a passage in the Tao Te Ching, which encapsulates this beautifully:


Do you think you could take over the world
and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.
Everything under heaven is a sacred vessel
and cannot be controlled.
To tamper with it is to spoil it.
To grasp it is to lose it.
Allow your life to unfold naturally.
Know that it too is a vessel of perfection.
Just as you breathe in and breathe out,
there is a time for being ahead
and a time for being behind;
a time for strain
and a time for ease;
a time to be up
and a time to be down;
a time to grow in strength
and a time to decay.
The Sage accepts things as they are,
seeing all of life as a movement toward perfection.
She avoids extravagance, excess and extremes.

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