No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place. So goes a Zen expression. If I think about that statement in relation to where we are now in our evolutionary process as human beings, as spiritual beings, as Americans, as Citizens of the World, I immediately go calm. As I ponder my own process of growth and those who are closest to me, I go calm as well. For I sense that we are all in perfect alignment for evolutionary advance, that we always are, and when we are ready we will know what to do, in calmness.
Evolution is defined in Webster’s Ninth as: a process of change in a certain direction: UNFOLDING; the action or an instance of forming and giving something off: EMISSION; a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state: GROWTH; a process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political, and economic advance.
I define evolutionary advance in my personal life in the same manner: I must allow life to unfold, letting go and giving off that which is unhealthy or unproductive, and get myself into a better state where growth, gradual and peaceful, can take place.
Just as no snowflake ever falls in the wrong place, so are we constantly falling into the places we need to be. Life, the force of the universe inside all of us, by its very nature is in constant flux, and so are we. If we allow ourselves even a few minutes to sit quietly and meditate, we will find that life force calmly waiting inside us to take its next natural step on the journey that awaits us.
The other night I woke at 2 a.m., worry spinning through my head, and being that it was night the worry spun its crazy web, as worry does in the dead of night. It spun and spun until I found myself helplessly caught in its sticky web, thought and intrigue, and more thought and more intrigue tightening around me. Shifting away in disgust, I turned onto my back, opened my eyes, and stared into the darkness of the ceiling above me.
“Please help me stop this worry!” I called out to the universe. “I don’t want to do it anymore. I want to be free of it. Help me to be free!”
The next thing I know I’m dreaming. I wake up in the dream, fully alert, and clearly see that worry does not exist in my dreaming state. I see that worry is nothing more than thoughts conjured by the mind, but now the mind is asleep. I see that it does its thing because it’s programmed that way, but as I look at it from my dreaming state I see that it really has no power at all, it’s simply a machine. And I can turn it off as quickly as I can flip a light switch.
“No worry,” I say, “how nice,” and I fall right back into my dream.
In the morning, I wake up totally refreshed, the worry of the night totally shed, and again I see it for what it is, a spinning machine. But at the same time I accept it in my life, for I know its value in teaching me.
Worry is like the snowflake that never lands in the wrong place. A petty tyrant of the highest magnitude, it comes to teach us. If we attach to it, it will swoop us up like leaves on a brisk autumn day and take us traveling on many adventures. I find, however, that the biggest lesson worry teaches is how to let go, how to become calm and detached. Worry by its very nature asks to be switched off, just as life by its very nature asks to be lived. Worry teaches us how to get ourselves in alignment with where we have landed. By flipping its switch to the OFF position, we are free to sit in calmness, to find our bearings, and know what’s right for us to do next.
I know that switching off worry is not that easy to do, but trust me; it just takes a little practice. The first step is to see it for what it is, to redefine it as I did in my dream. If we can separate ourselves from the thoughts in our head and give them a name, such as spinning machine or petty tyrant, we begin a process of change and we learn the real lesson of worry: detachment. Redefining things in this way offers not only a fresh perspective, but empowers us to begin taking action on our own behalf.
Was my worry of the night justified? Would it solve any problems, for me or others? Would it help in any way? Absolutely not. It had no impact on anything in reality. The only impact it had was on my energy and my sleep. It was a machine that I decided I did not want in my life anymore, and so I found a way to turn it off, kick it out of my bed, and get some sleep and dream insights instead—much preferable to the sticky web of incessant worry!
In these times of political, social, and personal energetic turmoil, I find that this simple Zen quote—No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place—is as calmly shifting and direct as my shift away from worry and into dreaming. In repeating it to myself throughout the day, I find myself calmly accepting of where I am, of where the world is, of where those closest to me are.
I believe we are all exactly where we need to be at this moment in time, in our lives, and in the evolution of our world. If we can accept this, then we can begin making choices in alignment with growth. Perhaps we see that where we are is necessary, that our next move in life is evolutionary, that we are in fact being shown what it means to be in alignment with our spirit, that where we have landed is leading us toward a gradual, peaceful unfolding of a life truly worth living.
I have landed where I have landed. Each day I wake up and remind myself of this, that I am where I should be, where I need to be, learning what I need to learn for my personal evolution. And then I dare myself to calmly take the next step, in alignment with where my heart tells me to go. I let my worry about this or that go; I let my fears about this or that go too. And I remember my dreaming self clearly perceiving worry as outside of myself, not mine, but conjured by the energy outside of me seeking attachment, wanting to feed off my energy, like the good petty tyrant that it is.
I don’t want to feed the petty tyrants anymore.