Sometimes it feels as if your life is going nowhere. You have tried to achieve something, but your efforts have not produced a tangible result. It’s disappointing. You have the sense of being stuck in a rut, and time standing still. Not only that, but when you observe the world around you, everyone else appears to be moving forwards. All the information we are faced with daily is about how to make progress, and it creates the illusion that life should move at a certain pace. However, have you noticed that in reality events happen in fits and starts, and not in an endless, seamless flow. Everyone else also experiences frustratingly slow periods from time to time, even if you are not aware of it. You have to bear with it for a while. Remind yourself that everything before now has led to this moment, and everything from this point will lead to the future.
It can be hard to let go in this pressure filled contemporary world of ours. We are constantly provoked into action by the triggers around us. The media shows us stories of high-powered, financially successful people, and reveals the drive and force that propelled them into those desirable positions. As a result, we have a tendency to believe that problem solving and development are best tackled head on with affirmative action. Even if you are exhausted, or sick, it’s hard to resist the pull of this personal call to arms.
However, doing nothing can also be regarded as an action, if you consciously choose it. The act of being still is very different to the inertia of laziness or bad habits. Temporarily halting your activity can be a reaction to the need to wait, for example, for a certain set of circumstances to unfold. It can also be because you need rest, your body and mind require space and time. Understanding the concept of pace is key. Taking action too soon or too strongly can sabotage whatever you have already built, leaving you back at the beginning again.
Everything before now has led to this moment
All the things you have done so far in your life are at work at this present moment. Sometimes, with very straight forward situations, you see the results immediately. At other times you have to be patient and wait for the outcome to emerge. We have become so accustomed to seeing things happen very fast, in unrealistic internet, or movie timescales, that we can become disillusioned if our results don’t arrive when expected.
If we choose to cultivate patience, we are not inert. We are still engaged, and focusing on our goal. This is not letting go or giving up, rather this is part of the process. How we are at this exact moment leads is the foundation of what will come next. Everything that happens now will lead to the future, and therefore we need to keep ourselves in tune with the timing of when and how to take action.
Aiming for Equilibrium
Action or non-action are the same. The mind and body are at rest or they are moving, and the two states are equal and opposite parts of each other that we have to keep in balance. The consequences of our past decisions will eventually appear, and we can make the decision to move from a state of activity to non-activity as required, bearing in mind that we are shaping the future as we go along.
All photos taken by Ju Underwood at Asia Camera Museum, Penang