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  • Writer's pictureJulen Murguia

Life With a Dash of Surrender

There are at least two concepts currently doing the backstroke in my mind... Let's see if I can churn them out with a semblance of coherence.

First up, we have our good ol' pal ‘the transient nature of existence’ — particularly this notion of linear time and ‘working towards something’. You know, that elusive goodie waiting at the end of the road. This worldview is like super glue; it's stubborn and hard to peel off. The second idea is about fear and discomfort, kind of like anticipating a monstrous wave that, in the end, turns out to be just a ripple. These fears and anxieties often dissipate, fading into the distance like the receding wake of a small dingy (or a yacht, if you're feeling fancy).

Despite the avalanche of clichés and reminders, deeply embracing the concept of 'now is all there is' is like trying to catch smoke with your bare hands. It makes logical sense, sure, but it's a different ball game trying to let it seep into your bones. There are moments, usually preceded by moments of stillness, when the ephemerality of life becomes clear as daylight. It appears that our incessant drive for symbolism and abstraction gets in the way. This isn't earth-shattering news; it's an old song that's been on repeat for centuries. But we're so used to thinking, planning, and predicting, it's like trying to turn off a waterfall. And sure, this planning and abstracting part of our humanity is useful, even necessary to an extent. Where it gets juicy and blurry (blurry juice) is in finding a balanced dynamic.

But let's not get bogged down in the obvious. There's a deeper layer here, itching to break through, like an existential pimple waiting to pop — what is it? Ah, it's about the practice of momentary surrendering. For some reason we’re addicted to ‘absolutes’. To get to ‘the point’. It’s ‘this or that’. What’s the cure? The permanent solution? Well, I guess the permanent cure for life is death… duh. Because if life is by it’s very definition (not that those should carry much authority) a dynamic, ever evolving ‘thing’, fixedness doesn’t fit the wobbly picture. It feels like we're venturing into Zen territory here, about letting go of the tight grip of the mind and embracing 'beginner's mind'. On the flip side, the part we all know too well, our sense-making mechanism, is vital for navigating the human world. It's what allows us to make that 3:15 pm café rendezvous, to introduce ourselves by name, to organize a jam night next Friday, to not end up jobless (which is always a plus). But since we've been exercising our 'sense-making' muscles daily, they've become quite buff and hard to relax. And seeing as sense-making is intrinsically subjective and constantly shifting, we're always missing about 99.99% of the picture. The sneaky thing about sense-making is that it paints an illusion of fixedness. It's useful, no doubt, but when it's too invisible, and we forget it's just a web of meanings, we inevitably bump into contradictions, paradoxes, anxieties, existential friction... Which is why it can be so relieving to acknowledge this tension, release the valve, and 'begin again'.

Segueing to the topic of fear about future events, we often build up these scenarios in our heads that rarely match reality. It's like expecting a hurricane and getting a light breeze. There are moments where our imagined fears do come uncomfortably close to reality, but even then, we usually make it through (unless we don't, but then, hey, no worries, right? – literally). This is a classic case of our overactive sense-making going into overdrive, often to the point of being unhelpful. Sure, there's merit in preparing and acknowledging the role of fear as a sort of alert system for potential threats. Ideally, you'd tip your hat to your fear and carry on, but it often decides to overstay its welcome, tinting our string of thoughts with weird colors, stirring up discomfort and anxiety. And then, while we're busy confusing these thoughts for reality, we're actually just chilling on a fluffy carpet, sipping almond milk, munching on walnut chocolate chip cookies. The twist is that everything that arises also passes, including emotional states which ebb and flow with our shifting contexts — like dreading a workout but feeling great once we're in motion.



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