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Excerpt from Ten Teachings for One World

Let Everything Be as It Is

Everything is the way it is, and everything is in constant change. Nothing stays the same. This is the truth. This is the reality. It is a reality that the ego is not comfortable with, because the ego cannot control the natural flow of life, as the ego would like. The ego is determined to have its way with life, but sheer will is not enough. Life will move as it will. People have some influence on this movement; they are a factor in the flow. But they do not determine the flow, which is already established to some extent by a grand design.

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Many have likened life to a river, and this is a good metaphor. The river is more powerful and enduring than anything or anyone on the river. It has a force of its own, independent of those traveling it, who cannot change the river’s course but are obliged to follow it. Those on the river do have freedom to maneuver, however: They can paddle slowly or quickly or even try to buck the river. They can sing or they can cry. They can love or they can hate. What you choose to do while you are on the river affects the experience of being on the river, but not the river. So, too, with life: You have a choice about how you respond internally and externally to life, but you are not in control of what life brings, of how it shows up moment to moment.

Like life, the river is constantly moving and so is the scenery while traveling down the river. Every moment is a new moment, a new experience. The mind tries to hold on to some experiences, while it pushes others away, but that only affects how you experience the moment, not life itself.

Life continues to do what it does, just as the river does, whether you like it or not. So the only thing you actually have control over is your attitude toward whatever is happening. Life is doing whatever it is doing, and you are either laughing or crying, accepting what is happening or hating it. Which will it be? What a different experience these two states are, and what a blessing that you have a choice! What if you didn’t?

Often it does not feel like you have a choice to smile instead of cry, to accept instead of rail against. It seems this way because you have an ego that automatically resists rather than accepts. Of course, something else within you is always in acceptance. When you are able to align with that, you drop into the flow and you are happy: You merrily row your boat down the stream.

How can the key to happiness be this simple when being happy seems so difficult sometimes? The illusion spun by the mind is very powerful and convincing. You are often quite sure that it is impossible to be happy with the way things are, and you have lots of reasons for why this is so. But does your case against life change anything? Does being unhappy and resisting life change anything? Of course not.

Since you cannot control the way things are, the only solution—the only one—is to surrender to the way they are, which means giving up the struggle and complaints. Your attitude toward the way things are is the only thing you have control over. This is such an important lesson. When you master this lesson, you will be happy and at peace. What would happen if everyone were happy and at peace on this planet? It would be wonderful to find out, wouldn’t it? Will you do your part?

And so the ninth teaching is let everything be. If you let everything be, that does not mean that things will not change, which is the fear the ego has about moments it does not like. When the ego hears “Let everything be,” it assumes this means “Don’t try to change what you don’t like.” But that is not the meaning at all, because of course things will change and quite likely you are meant to be part of that process of change. Letting everything be does not mean letting everything stay the way it is, because nothing stays the same anyway.

Let everything be means let life do what it is already doing. It is too late to change that anyway. Letting everything be is the only response that makes sense, since you have no other choice, except in regard to your attitude. Letting everything be is the rational choice. To make the rational choice, however, you have to align with something other than the irrational ego. The rational part of yourself is your higher nature.

When your attitude is to let everything be, this acceptance allows you to relax and feel at peace with whatever is going on. What a relief it is to not have to fight with the way things are! How exhausting it is to feel angry, sad, or afraid. Acceptance keeps you in the flow instead of thrashing about and possibly drowning, which is how tempestuous emotions feel. Instead of being upset and overwhelmed, you relax and let everything be as it is. Life is much easier that way. Thrashing never helped anyway.

Acceptance is moving in the direction that life is going. If it goes left, you go left; if it goes right, you go right; if it stops, you stop. You take your cue from life, which is always showing you exactly what it wants. Does it want you to win? Then you win. Does it want you to fail? Then you fail. Whether you win or fail gracefully is the part that is up to you.

If you accept the direction in which life is moving, then you will surely act gracefully. Acceptance allows you to align with your true nature. From there, you respond to life with love, courage, patience, strength, and wisdom. If you are able to accept what life brings, you fall into a place of grace, where you experience the beneficence and bounty of life, and all you know is gratitude. Acceptance brings the rewards you long for, while non-acceptance, bucking the river, reaps only suffering. This is how life teaches and guides you. You learn to go in the direction that rewards you with joy, peace, and love.

These good feelings are proof that goodness underlies life, because when you align with acceptance, joy, peace, and love, you are rewarded. When you do not, you suffer. The barometer that indicates when you are aligned with the ego instead of your higher nature is suffering. It is a warning signal that tries to get your attention to tell you something. “What is my suffering trying to tell me now?” you might ask. “How am I saying no to life instead of yes?”

Every time you suffer, you are supposing something: “Things are supposed to be different. I am supposed to be different. She is supposed to be different. The past is supposed to be different. I am supposed to feel differently.” All of these suppositions are false. You decided how things are supposed to be, you tried to make them that way, and when they turned out differently, you felt angry or sad. The truth is that everything is just as it is “supposed” to be. There is nothing ever wrong with life, only with your beliefs about it. What a miracle it is to discover this. What a relief! You can just relax and let life be as it is, let yourself be as you are, and let others be as they are. However life is showing up is how it is supposed to show up. To assume anything else is to suffer.

Your ego is accustomed to saying no to life. It was built to say no to life. To counteract this tendency, you can choose to say yes in the midst of your ego’s resistance and rejection of life. You can notice the mind’s complaints and then remind yourself that all is well and unfolding as it needs to. This is the truth.

When you counter a lie, such as “All is not well,” with the truth, “All is well,” you neutralize and diffuse the power of the lie. If you do this often enough, those lies will cease to arise in your mind. This is how the egoic mind is transformed. The lies are seen for what they are and the truth is declared instead. Choose to say yes in the midst of the ego’s no, and that no will become a whisper and eventually disappear. Even if the ego’s no does not disappear completely, it will be impotent and unable to affect your state of consciousness.

How do you say yes when something in you is screaming no? There is something within you that is already saying—and feeling—yes. Choosing to say yes in the midst of the ego’s no will put you in contact with your true nature, which embraces life no matter what is happening. Although the ego’s no can be overpowering at times, another, quieter voice is always saying yes.

Find that voice of acceptance. Look for it. Listen for it. And then give your attention to it, and it will become louder. If you give your attention to the no, then the no will continue to drown out the yes. You have to choose yes over no or you will not move beyond the ego’s grasp. What chooses yes over no? That is your true nature. Empower it rather than the ego. Let the voice of love, peace, and wisdom prevail.

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