This Is, Because That Is

This is, because that is. This is not, because that is not. This comes to be, because that comes to be. This ceases to be, because that ceases to be.

–The Buddha

Is it true that we are the one that creates a work of art, cooks a meal, organizes an event? It may be more accurate to say we are one condition that helps these things to manifest and that no one thing gives birth to something else. We are just one of many conditions that allow something to arise.

So we do our best: we train, we practice, we create good conditions for certain seeds in us to be watered, but then we have to let go. It’s not finally up to us. We can’t control what’s going to happen.

When conditions are sufficient things manifest. But if there aren’t enough conditions yet, then things cannot yet manifest. We continue to practice and train, and we don’t take it personally.

This means being okay with not knowing, with not being able to determine the outcome. Even when we put our best into something, the result might not be what we expect. But this should not deter us, even though there may be very strong messages from inside us and around us telling us that the outcome is the most important thing. The key is to cultivate our capacity to be with whatever is, and to relax into whatever is there, even when it is not at all what we have wished for.

Joanna Macy says this about gratitude, “Don’t think that gratitude is dependent on external circumstances. You don’t feel gratitude because everything is going well around you, although that’s important to recognize and acknowledge. We especially need to be grateful when things aren’t going the way we want them to.”

This is our challenge: to stay in this receptive, open place, not fighting what’s happening, and keep showing up, doing our best with the best of ourselves. And when we can’t do our best, doing our best to accept and have compassion with ourselves, too. The conditions are not sufficient at this moment, that’s also the truth, the reality, and that’s also workable. Our practice is to not pull away, not withdraw from what we are faced with.