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Let Life Be A River

Right now, my mind is telling me to complain. It’s telling me that things aren’t fair. It’s sure that what’s currently happening should not be happening. Not only that, but it cannot even accept what’s happening. For some reason, it cannot acknowledge that the plane is delayed 6 hours into Christmas Eve.

So it plays games. It makes up stories. It gains power by telling me that things aren’t fair. It complains. It looks to throw the blame. It scours the environment, everything it knows and everything available to it in this moment, seeking out targets. Ultimately, those targets are just fuel. The mind is seeking fuel to continue to burn the story of frustration, injustice, anger, outrage. How could any of this be happening? It’s nonsense!

My mind wants to cry. My mind is weak. It can’t handle it.

But I can. I can watch my mind throw a fit. I will choose to remain strong. My mind won’t, but that’s okay, because I will.

What if in this moment, instead of participating in the garbage of the mind, I experienced life as a river, with each moment transporting the richness and fullness of life? There are families around me, planes taking off, janitors buffing the airport floors. All the shops are gated up and many people have gone home to sleep, but I have the privilege of experiencing the emptiness of what is normally a bustling airport.

As things unhappen, we resist them because we don’t like them. That’s what I’m doing now. But remember, moments are just moments. Moments are atoms in the time-space continuum that we just happen to be witnessing. There’s no law that says they’re good or bad. It’s we who decide, and that’s what screws us up.

As soon as we decide what's good and bad, we’re now at war with reality. Something either matches our blueprint of how things should be, or it doesn’t. Obviously, because there are trillions and trillions of forces at play creating the moments unfolding in front of us, laws of probability make it certain that the vast majority of things we experience go against our liking. Not just that, but we downright hate them.

As I’m now 4 hours into waiting in the airport, I’m more reminded of this truth than ever before. The moments need not get more difficult just because I’ve been here for a while. Someone else just arrived, what about them? So it’s me who’s causing the misery, not the delay.

What if I could appreciate each moment like the flow of a river? The only reason this is difficult is because I made it so in my mind. It doesn’t have to be hard. I’m still sitting on planet earth. My organs are working. I’m breathing. I’ve been fed. That’s not to mention I’m sitting with the person most near and dear to my heart. Why should I complain?

I complain because my mind complains. It never shuts up. It needs everything to be exactly how I want it, otherwise it throws a fit.

What if instead of a story wrapped around everything we experience, life was a continuous unfolding of new, fresh moments that stimulated us equally as the ones before? What if there was never a dull moment, because every moment was new? That’s what the spiritual teachings are telling us. That no moment is different than the other, yet they’re all different at the same time. No moment is more or less important than any other moment, but appears as so just because we made it do that.

What a fantastic opportunity to practice accepting the things we cannot control life that presents us. Is it easy? Absolutely not. But the beauty is, no matter how much I screw up, I have endless opportunities, and endless stream of new moments to try again. One day, of course, those moments will stop, and I’ll have my last ones. I better not wait until then to experience the richness of life. What a tragedy that would be.

Live with substance!

Gabe Orlowitz



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