Sunday, January 30, 2011

There are no coincidences...

"Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives - choice, not chance, determines your destiny." 

My meditation teacher was in town last week. Poor guy, in from L.A. on one of the coldest days of the year. One of the things that impressed me most was his attitude...he didn't complain, he just rolled with it. 
Sure, January in Chicago is cold; in fact, all things considered (and compared to the people on the East Coast who have gotten clobbered by snow this year), this has been a relatively mild winter. 
last week was bitterly cold and I wanted to avoid being outside at all costs.
I have been unable to attend his meditation sessions the last several months due to conflicts in my schedule...I certainly wasn't going to miss this one. I have fallen off the Vedic wagon, so to speak. I've been neglecting my practice and I've definitely felt the difference. I needed a refresher, a reminder, some words of wisdom to get me going again.
And so...
I bundled up and headed out to Wicker Park. I glad I did!

He closed the session by sharing a story about an experience he had several years ago. It was a lesson in listening to inner guidance. He had a plan, he said...but life doesn't always go according to plans. 
Sometimes we just need to stay flexible and open to unexpected opportunities that present themselves.
Sometimes those detours which can be so frustrating are actually guiding you to where you're REALLY meant to be.
For example, have you ever gotten delayed or had a last minute cancellation which led to you being somewhere you hadn't planned to be? Have you ever struck up a conversation with someone who later became a significant contact? Has a line in that book you're reading struck a chord with you that led you to reflect on your past life choices and decide to do things differently? Have you been toying with the idea of making a change (job? return to school? move to a new city? country?) and then you find references to that change all around you? (a college brochure on the table at your local coffeehouse? an article on that new city in the Sunday paper? a friend who just happens to know of an opening at that company you've been thinking about applying to?)
Some might call it luck or coincidence or fate...I don't know that the name is really important.
I do think it's important to recognize how quickly the direction of our lives can change based on the decisions we make. We are responsible for making informed decisions, but we also must be respectful of our inner guidance system. The less obstructed we are with the thoughts and concerns that distract us from the present moment, the more in tune we become to our inner wisdom. 
For me, it is an ongoing process, keeping that channel unobstructed. It's an act of faith as well. Oftentimes, it can feel like jumping off into the can be unsettling and scary. The unknown is like that. It's particularly frightening for someone like me, who doesn't like surprises (much).
But here's the good news...
I have had enough experiences that have turned out better than I could have ever imagined, just because I took a chance; somewhere deep inside, I had faith that everything would be ok and I would be taken care of...even if I didn't have a clear picture of how that would turn out. That's not to say that every chance I took turned out well...but each mis-step has been a learning opportunity and has led me to exactly where I am at this moment.

And that place is pretty darn good... yourself...listen to that hunch...stay open...and see what happens!