Modern life is so full of pressure pushing this way and that that most of us react by trying to impose order upon it. Our society of chaotic forces is thus a society of endless laws and regulations. This is not surprising, because humans thrive on order and are frightened by disorder. Disorder is unpredictable and out of our control, therefore it makes us feel stressed out.
Think of a time when disorder and unpredictability suddenly crept up in your life: Missing an airplane flight, having your car break down by the side of the road, hearing that someone you love has lost a job.
Almost always these events work themselves out; there is no real harm done to your existence, just minor inconvenience. Yet your nervous system probably reacted very strongly, expressing fear and discomfort when your plans went awry. The ego’s response to chaos is to fight against it and to impose even more control. The next time you flew you probably double-checked your departure time and left early. The next time you drove you took precautions against the same breakdown occurring again.
The problem is that all this struggle, worry, planning, and controlling runs against the grain of life. Life compresses chaos and orderliness together. You cannot have one without the other. If you want to be in the flow of life, you can’t struggle against it at the same time. Therefore the quester after perfection accepts that he is always going to be uncertain, that she is always going to feel off-balance. “The role of the disciple,” Merlin said, “is always to stumble but never to fall.”
Despite the fact that your ego hates unpredictability, the truth is that you have benefited from it again and again. Think for a moment about the unexpected opportunities that have come your way, offers of help you never anticipated, sudden brainstorms and inspirations, impulsive decisions to move or talk to a stranger that opened new horizons. This is the natural way to live.
“Your life is already organized within itself,” Merlin said. “Life flows from life, the bud unfolds into the flower, the child ripens into the adult. Trust in each stage, celebrate it, and allow the next one to come to you effortlessly.”
Adapted from The Way of the Wizard, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 1995). Reprinted by permission of the author.
Adapted from The Way of the Wizard, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 1995).