Let Life Unfold and Guide Us
by Brenda Shoshanna – New York City

lotus flower

A big snowstorm was predicted for today. So many warnings, we may lose electricity, heavy winds coming. All kinds of concerns and yet when you really look and see the beauty of the snowflakes falling you forget the dire predictions. And, right now, as I look through the window, to my surprise, the snow has already stopped falling. Just a little fluttering, here and there.

Can We Really Know What’s Coming?

We live with all kinds of predictions and warnings. We want to know what’s coming. But can we really? There are always last minute changes, life turning around and around.

Although many fear change, there can be such deep comfort in the changing conditions of life. Most of the time what happens has little to do with what’s being predicted and warned of. Life knows better than us, always.

Most of The Calamities Do Not Come To Pass

Actually, the dire warnings we live with  prevent us from enjoying  our days, from even seeing these particular snowflakes and the beauty all around us. Instead, we focus on awful calamities that are coming up ahead.  And most of these calamities do not even come to pass.

It’s important to see whether we’re living a life based upon dire predictions, or on the beauty of the moment, on the snowflakes brushing our windows? A wonderful, Zen poem tells us:

“No snowflake falls in an inappropriate place.”

And no person is in an inappropriate place for them, either, although it may seem so.  No moment occurs haphazardly, but part of a larger pattern and plan. Looked at from this perspective, all is really just an unfolding of life by itself.

Life Knows What It’s Doing: It Unfolds Naturally

Yet, we think we’re in charge. We think we can dominate or control the energy of life. move it in a different direction. We think we can go to the ocean and say, “I don’t like high tide. You’ve got to become low tide right now. Or say to the day, I don’t like snow. Turn into spring right now!

When we live thinking we’re in charge or that dire predictions are in charge, we lose the  beauty, preciousness and fun of life as it is. Some will say how can you say life is fun when we see all these dreadful things happening?  I’m not saying that these dreadful things are fun, but I’m saying we can choose what we’re going to focus on.

We Can Choose What We’re Going To Focus Upon

We can see all kinds of dreadful things if that is what we’re focusing upon. But we’re not seeing the whole, bigger picture. We’re not seeing the larger purpose, meaning and growth that come from whatever happens now.

We get in touch with our real strength not by not getting hooked into dire predictions, or the endless fear mongering that goes on.  As we take them to heart, they enter our being and create stress. They create illness, paranoia, distortion and rage. Many negative outcomes arise from something that is not even true.

What We’re Fearing Is Just An Illusion Someone Has Dreamt Up

We don’t see that what we’re fearing is just a prediction, an illusion. It’s just something that people have dreamt up, not grounded in reality. This beautiful snowfall today is a good example. There were so many warnings of danger, huge accumulations, along with fierce winds.

In fact, there’s not much wind today, just a little flurry of a breeze along with snowflakes tapping my window gently. Nothing frightening or harmful. Just a short snowfall, which very quickly cleared up. No accumulations at all on the streets.

Stay With The Reality Of Each Moment

It’s best to stay with the facts of each moment as it arises. By staying with the fact, moment after moment, we stay grounded in reality, and see we are where we belong. And are always being nurtured. Then, the dire predictions completely lose their power over us.

We can then really taste the coffee we’re drinking or feel our feet on the floor as we walk.  When a siren passes outside, it’s just a moment of sound that soon disappears. We’re not sitting here, listening in terror, wondering who’s been hurt, allowing our imagination to run wild. We’re not looking for a sign of more trouble coming, or what’s really going on.

When we live grounded and rooted in our experience, we’re not wondering, what can I expect coming next? We don’t expect anything, are just rooted in what is happening right now. And from that stable center, all that is truly needed to know, the direction to take, arises by itself.

“Drinking a cup of green tea

I stopped the war.”

Where Is this War And How Did I Stop It?

Where is this war and how did I stop it?  It’s the war within myself.  War is based upon conflict, Who’s going to win? Who’s going to lose? Who’s going to get hurt? Who is horrible, who is great?  Am I in danger? Am I endangering someone else?

I stopped conflict and living in terror as I really drank my cup of tea, tasted it thoroughly, felt the warmth down my throat.  I stayed with what was truly going on, moment by moment.

A lot of gratitude bubbles up when we can do that. Life then unfolds as gratitude, compassion, deep enjoyment. This itself stops the war, stops our hatred of others and ourselves. We step out of conflict and enjoy what is being given.

As we step out of the war zone it’s easy to see that predictions and judgments are not the fact. They’re dreamt up in the mind, catastrophic expectations, blaming, harming, trying to stay safe. All of these takes us from the goodness and beauty of life.

Let Life Unfold And Guide Us

But as life unfolds by itself it has all the answers we need. Life knows it cannot be harmed or overcome. Our dark dreams can be deleted and healed, seen for what they are when we are drenched in the moment, in the vastness and reality of life.

When we are grounded and stable, these dire predictions lose their power because the only thing that empowers them is our reaction to them. And our believing them, taking them in and living from them. That gives them some kind of energy over us.

Take that energy back. The power of even a few people taking that energy away from the dire predictions and instead entering the realm of reality, stability, gratitude, and compassion is beyond imagination. Soon it’s easy to see that those passing sirens and dire predictions are just background noise, and need not have much effect. But when they become the foreground and we focus upon them, something else happens.

Let go of the dire predictions and be grounded in the flow of life which always guides, nurtures, and informs us of what is necessary, and nurturing and will direct us to the places we truly belong.


Brenda Shoshanna, Ph.D. is an award winning author, speaker, psychologist and long term Zen practitioner. Her work is dedicated to integrating the teachings of East and West and living them in our everyday lives and our relationships. She offers talks, workshops and a weekly podcast, Zen Wisdom for Your Everyday Life.


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