Regard yourself as a cloud. Clouds never make mistakes. Did you ever see a cloud that was misshapen? Did you ever see a badly designed wave? No, they always do the right thing. And if you will treat yourself for a while as a cloud or wave, you’ll realize that you can’t make a mistake whatever you do. Because even if you do something that appears totally bizarre, it will all come out in the wash somehow or another. Then through this capacity you will develop a kind of confidence. And through confidence you will be able to trust your own intuition.
Over the past few months, I've been listening to a lot of Alan Watts videos on YouTube. Most of them say very similar things, but the underlying theme is the same: acceptance.
You don't know what's going to happen. You don't always (ever?) know what the best decision is. The infinite number of possibilities in life can feel overwhelming. Most of us are so overwhelmed by them that we just ignore them entirely, convincing ourselves that we have no choice but to stay where we are, to do what we've always done.
But we always have a choice. And choice, odd as it might sound, can be a terrible burden. That is, until you start listening to Alan talk about clouds and water and explaining just how essential acceptance is. If you never know what's going to happen (regardless of the path you choose), how can you do anything but accept what's going to happen?
Every struggle we face -- both internal and external -- stems from a lack of accepting what is. You don't always have to like what is, but if you don't accept it, you will be in a perpetual state of stress and anxiety (which, to be honest, is what a lot of us are in a lot of the time.)
Rather than reading my thoughts about what Watts has said about acceptance and choice, I recommend you check out this beautifully edited video featuring his words and consider how choosing acceptance -- regardless of the other choices you make -- might improve your life.
If you can't see the video, click here to watch.
Choosing acceptance, even in the most positive of situations, is no easy task. We're taught from day one to always be striving, to always seek improvement, to analyze and assess, to judge ourselves and the world around us. But imagine if you could truly embrace these words...
When you look at the clouds they are not symmetrical. They do not form fours and they do not come along in cubes, but you know at once that they are not a mess. [...] They are wiggly but in a way, orderly, although it is difficult for us to describe that kind of order. Now, take a look at yourselves. You are all wiggly. [...] We are just like clouds, rocks and stars. Look at the way the stars are arranged. Do you criticize the way the stars are arranged?
What would your life look like if you accepted the world (and yourself!) as it is? What would it feel like to choose acceptance over anxiety, to feel peace instead of the constant push to do or be something else?