It really hurts when someone blackmails us emotionally, doesn’t it? When they pop that ultimatum – if you do/don’t do this, I am gone. And because it hurts to be in this conditioned position, we normally dig our heels deeper and disobey the demand, even if it sounds reasonably clever.
Emotional conditioning is not something that only happens between two people. We treat life in such disrespectful way most of the time. A good friend of mine calls this attitude I’ll be happy when… or waiting for a million different things, people, events or feelings to occur before we think we can be happy. This struggle with life is like rope pulling. Life to one side, you to the other – each pulling equally hard into an impasse!
We have a saying in Croatia: (literally translated) the clever one lets go; the stupid one presses on.
So imagine what would happen if you were to give in to life. If you were to let go of the force which is pulling the rope to your side but actually keeping it stuck in one place. Just imagine. With your hands off, the rope finally moves, doesn’t it? For me as an anthropologist and a writer it has taken a few physics metaphors to understand basic facts about force. Using force against force usually ends with getting stuck and completely exhausted. Sure I know of all that tao/dao of ki/chi/poo/f**k wisdom. Sentences like don’t swim against the current or what you resist, persists sound interesting to me, even believable. But I never truly knew what that wisdom feels like when experienced with your whole being. Many critically inclined friends might think that I am becoming a conformist when I discard resistance as futile. Especially now when there is so much to be critical about. But this is far from the truth. What I experience when I let go of the rope is that by giving up force I make space for power.
Force and power couldn’t be more different. The former is hard and when it hits, it breaks both the object and itself. The latter is soft, it yields into whatever comes and so sustains life. The one who lets go is not only cleverer, but also more powerful. Because it takes courage to do something that appears illogical and counter-intuitive. Courage is not a fearless state, but a state of being determined to face whatever comes, knowing that there are resources for that. Yielding into whatever or whoever comes: lover or enemy.
So, what does that have to do with real life, you ask me. You are pragmatic and want to know how (meta)physics can be useful in everyday life – and that’s good. Well, a friend of mine who married a great guy after a series of horror relationships told me: when you enter a room and you feel yourself drawn to that tall dark stranger, stop and turn to the other side – the quiet one sitting in the corner is your man. Do the illogical. Break your own habitual behaviour that brings you results you don’t like. Or when you put on weight and refuse to buy jeans a size larger because you are afraid it would be a trigger to go downhill. Pulling to the opposite side of your fat metabolism, starving yourself and punishing your beautiful body with denying her nice clothes – no clothes before you shrink type of ultimatum. Stop and think again. To shift things in the desirable direction, who should let go? You first.