“You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So (for the present) you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path.” (Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Address 2005)
How many times have you found yourself at a crossroads in your life, desperately wanting someone or something to tell you what to do next, only to be met with a resounding stillness, leaving you in this space of uncertainty? And how easy it is in these situations to stick to the status quo and to do what we know and are good at. This is the safe space of comfort and familiarity but also the space of inertness and stagnancy.
Sometimes we all need reminders that the “dots will connect” so to speak, and that our efforts to break out of the status quo and to dare a new path are not futile. For me, the yoga practice is such a reminder. The other morning before I started my practice, I posed the question to myself: Why do I decide to get up when it’s still dark and cold and commit to an hour or two of sometimes easier but most of the time challenging asana practice? And part of the answer was: To reaffirm my commitment to yoga, to the path of 8 limbs, to the effort of trying to be a better person one day at a time and to believe and trust that whatever obstacles there are in my path, are there for a very good reason (they are most likely dots that will probably connect in the future). It is also a reaffirmation not to doubt, but to believe and a commitment to do my best whatever it is that I’m doing.
Perma Chödrön, a famous Buddhist nun, said once: “Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all.”
Not-knowing is a state that not many people would gravitate towards: we all want to know, control and be in charge of our life’s decision – not the other way round!
This is why meditation is so powerful: we let go of our controlling mind and try to find that inner stillness that is essentially our connection to the universal wisdom. And in that universal wisdom lies the answer that we sought all along – it is not based on knowledge or study or IQ, it is based on the fact that there is something larger than life that connects us all. It may not be the answer we want to hear and so we keep on trying the same familiar roads only to be knocked back yet again. And believe me, these “knock backs” get stronger the more you ignore the message.
Whenever I chose to ignore the universe, I got served my lesson, usually in the result of injuries, some of which took longer to heal than others, some were physical and some were emotional. But it was the proverbial wake-up call to stop and LISTEN! And often a book or friend or a conversation can bring you some cues. “Proof of Heaven” by Eben Alexander was such a cue for me. It is an account of a near-death experience (NDE) by a scientist fundamentally opposed to spirituality, God, an after-life or universal consciousness. What he encountered during his NDE (and that he lived!) is probably a miracle itself. But for me, it was the messages that he received from his butterfly-like angel: She brings him messages that are beyond words but to encapsulate it in one word, the message would be “Love”.
When you doubt yourself, your life or where you are at, know that there is a divine power out there that connects you to all and that you are always and unconditionally loved.