I could never get into the styles of yoga that use specific poses in a specific order with specific rules about what goes and what doesn’t. I guess the idea of specific anything never appealed to me because so far, I haven’t found life to be very precise or predictable either. At least not according to my persnickety human side, which would prefer everything in life to be as neatly organized as the blankets at Rishi Yoga (at least whenever I’m there).
Don’t get me wrong: My default setting has never been to love the unpredictability of life, or celebrate when things didn’t go the way I think they should have gone. But life has taught me that my human default setting, which boils down to the fear-based belief that the more I control life, the better life will be for me, simply sucks, like most factory settings do. I learned and I’m still learning that no matter what I think and regardless of what comes into my life, everything is always working in my favor. There really is beauty, intelligence and perfect order in chaos. The human default setting just needs frequent upgrades to start to see the perfection underneath the seeming disorder.
I don’t know when or why chaos got such a bad rap. Maybe I learned to love, or at least appreciate unpredictability because throughout my life so far, turmoil has consistently proven to be the most fertile ground for freedom.
I didn’t expect to be in a war at 14 years old; I just wanted to go to school and be a normal kid. I didn’t want to go live in a foreign country at 15, where I would always be the outsider, no matter how much I thought I should be accepted. I didn’t want to have to move countries yet again five years later and learn another language and start over yet again.
These are just some of the major unexpected and unwanted turns in my early life. There was, of course, the milder drama with school, friends, boyfriends and reckless hair coloring episodes. And none of it was what I had planned or wanted. But as Anais Nin said: “In chaos, there is fertility.”
So all of these lessons in complete lack of control guided me to a deeper sense of freedom and an abiding trust in life. The process was slow and painful because of my human stubbornness, which fought tooth and nail to keep the illusory sense of control, with its seemingly cocky but actually extremely insecure “I just need to tighten the reins” attitude. Good thing the spirit side of each of us is even more stubborn than the human side, and the persistent hunger for surrender finally reveals itself as the quiet voice that has been guiding us toward peace and freedom all along.
I have learned that every episode of instability can lead to more stability. The operative word being “can,” because how we perceive the situation will determine whether we grow in trust or sink deeper into skepticism. When the jigsaw puzzle pieces of your life get thrown into disarray, it simply means it’s time to reorganize them and put them back together in a way that allows the new puzzle to reflect a more authentic you.
Stability does not imply rigidity; quite the opposite. It’s interesting how the nature of life is change, but the nature of a human being is to resist change. No wonder we feel separate from life. Which is, again, a reminder that our default setting simply doesn’t work (and never has worked) in our favor. The upgraded human, the one who has learned that life is not against him, knows that digging in his heels in face of life’s eternal flux will only perpetuate his suffering.
And finally, chaos doesn’t have to imply instability. Once we uncover and remember that part of us that never fears change or death or rebirth we move more gracefully through life, which is change. We find true stability not in what comes and goes but in who we are underneath the human mask.
And who are we underneath this meat suit we wear? Say hello the the next chaotic episode in your life and see what happens when you stop resisting what is and instead inquire into what’s not moving amid all the moving parts. After a few episodes of chaos (or maybe a few seasons) you’ll start to get a sense of the perfect order that graces each moment. And pretty soon you’ll start to welcome chaos because you know beauty and perfect order are asking to dance into your life.