How to Achieve Your Dream Life
By Being Like Water
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water… Be water, my friend.” - Bruce
Want to get your dream life, find your dream job, and date your dream person?
Here’s the secret:
Empty your mind of bias and attachments. Instead, look for possibilities.
If you can do this, then no matter what situation life hands you, you’ll be able to alchemize it into gold.
Well, thanks for the horrible Buddhist koan you might say, but what does this all mean practically?
Here’s a practical example:
What do you do when somebody insults you?
There are two choices, right?
Choice 1: You either defend your honor:
insult them back, aggressively telling them they can say that to you, gear up for a fight.
You can defend your honor gracefully. You can be assertive and tell them that’s not cool.
Choice 2: Or you back down:
Walk away, try not to talk to that person again, or at worst supplicate to the person insulting you.
You can try backing down gracefully. You can ignore the person and move on to the next topic.
Here’s the million-dollar question though…What do you do when the graceful approach doesn’t work?
What if they insult you in front of a date, friends, or family? What if the person isn’t insulting you, but a loved one?
Are you stuck with the two choices of backing down or defending yourself?
No, of course not.
If you learn anything from me, my dear reader, learn this…Never accept the menu you’ve been given. There is ALWAYS a third choice (and a fourth, fifth, etc.)
Here is one thing you can do instead of backing down or defending yourself…You can learn to see the “insult” as a possibility.
Often we are insulted by what people say because we fear it to be true. If somebody said you were ugly, you might fear that is true and get defensive.
However, if somebody told you the sky is orange, you would respond differently.
You could respond with curiosity (“What do you mean by that?”) or by re-interpreting the situation as fun (“I don’t know what drugs you are on, but I want some”) or by playfully agreeing (“Get used to it. It’s only going to get more global warming from here”).
You can do this because you know IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.
You can do this because your attachments are not threatened.
You are not attached to convincing this person of anything. You know the sky isn’t orange and you don’t care if another person believes that. It says nothing negative about you that this person is saying this weird thing about the sky.
You can do this because your belief is stronger than their belief.
If you’re supremely confident and somebody calls you ugly, and you believe that’s a weird and ludicrous statement you would respond the same way as you would to someone saying “the sky is orange.”
You could respond with curiosity (“What makes you say that?”) or re-interpreting the situation as fun (“You don’t need to try to keep me humble, I already know I’m gorgeous”) or by playfully agreeing (“That’s not all, I’m also horrible at spelling”)
If you reinterpret an insult as a possibility you see it differently. You can ask:
In what ways can I learn from this?
In what ways can I make it fun for myself?
How can I use this as an opportunity for connection?
And once you have that attitude, the words don’t really matter.
You see we all think we’re constrained, stuck, shackled by life’s impositions.
But, life is all about possibility.
To have the life of our dreams, we have to become alchemists.
Can you see the possibility within the constraints?
The freedom within the shackles?
The gold within the lead?
The doing isn’t the hard part. It’s the seeing that is most difficult for us all.
It’s only when you are not attached to any particular outcome that all outcomes become possible.