You can’t prepare for all the surprises life offers. It’s a nice thought, but something I’ve given up on. Once you open the wisdom world, once you start to see the underlying threads that work to manipulate you and other people’s reactions, it becomes clear how much we can’t know until we get there. We can’t know our reactions and we can’t know theirs. Reactions come quickly because life comes at us with lightning speed. There is only one hope as I see it. The hope is that we can see, learn and let go of the upset/ surprise as it appears in our lives so we can move on. You just can’t know everything about yourself and other people. This is the chance to relax into life, let the bumps occur, feel the pain or discomfort, and move on.
The unawareness around wisdom and enlightenment are made clear by Ram Dass in his famous quote, “If you think you’re enlightened, go home to your family for the holidays.” This is the typical place we get triggered. But we can get triggered in daily life too. It can be as simple as the time I attended my husband Jim’s high school reunion. I ran into a girl my mother invited to one of my birthday parties in elementary school; and we once double dated in high school. She came alone to the reunion. Cathy was always moody, volatile and hostile. When we were young, I generally stayed away from her.
But this was the 25th reunion and I wondered what had happened in her life. I went up to her and asked how she was. I said something like, “How’ve you been doing?” The conversation degenerated from there. She flipped out. She huffed and puffed about I could not figure what, and stomped away. I had no idea what she was talking about. I realized that we were living in totally different worlds. Her internal dialogue had some point of view, some story, she was reacting to, and I wasn’t in on the code.
How You Can Prepare
In this case I wasn’t upset so much as I was surprised that we couldn’t really talk at all. I couldn’t find out much about her because she wasn’t able to hear what I asked. She was stuck on whatever she thought I was saying and angry about it. I left the conversation sad about how lost she seemed. Age seemed to have deepened her bitterness and anger. I was disappointed but amazingly fine about being verbally attacked. I could easily let it go and move on. Life is always a lesson, even in these little spaces. The important thing is that you practice letting go as things happen. Surprise is inevitable, disappointment will also show up, but you can make life more fun if you are practiced at moving on to the next experience. This is one way you can prepare wisdom in aging.
Your input is important so let us know what you are moving through. And make sure to download our e-book on living your life with passion.