Day 299: How the Future Enters

October 27th, 2010

“We are not to fear the strangeness we feel. The future enters into us long before it happens.” -Rainer Maria Rilke

I am comforted by the idea that there is a future evolving inside of me that I can’t quite see or make sense of. Transitions of all kinds share this one common truth- that the process of letting go and the creation of something unknown is walking the same path. You can’t let go of someone or something while holding onto it. In the same way, you can’t hang on to what you are trying to create.

It seems to me that the more tightly I hold on in both cases, the less forward motion occurs. I am spending all my energy in the emotions of holding and there is little left for my creativity to spin off into new designs or the appreciation of the space that the letting go has created. I am lost in the no man’s land where it is all grief of what is lost and fear about what is to come. It keeps me from feeling the sun breaks in the day. I am always stepping out into the rain.

So be it. The truth is that sometimes creating and letting go are only about the waiting. Can I sit still long enough to feel even my impatience? I look for any excuse for my attention to be swept up by the next thing. Distraction is the easy way out. I can always find an excuse for it, but really if I were honest I would say it is just avoiding the wait.

At least I know a few real remedies for these pregnant pauses, where life has to take the time to gestate, and waiting is actually creating. This year has taught me to seek silence and to love meditation better than distraction. I have often enough come back from a silent half hour, more deeply refreshed and myself than before. Also the smell of the outdoors, the feel of the air, the colors of nature; these are unfailingly true. Even when I am lost, this is perhaps especially when I am waiting for direction.

Albert Einstein regarded this transition as mystery: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” Learning to wait with our eyes open is where right now is all the future necessary.

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