Everything about our society encourages us to think of the future. We work for the bills we will have, we place on a calendar where we will be in the future, and many times we take courses and jobs not for themselves, but as a way of working toward a future we’ve imagined is ours. Even the hourly news speculates constantly on what might happen.
Here’s how the future is a dangerous thing: there’s other people creating it too, so the combination of your efforts will not always take you where you want to go. It may take you somewhere better, but even if it is better you’re likely to not want to go there if it’s not what your expectation was. If you stop and think it’s not hard to find examples of things and people that you didn’t expect to like but you ended up loving them anyway.
You’re actually not very consistent at picking what you’ll enjoy most which is why when you’re more enlightened one of the things that will happen is you’ll be a lot more okay with the unexpected events. Rather than thinking you’re now off-target, the enlightened person realizes the odds are just as good that the unexpected events are an improvement. So they just wait and see while others start using words and actions to push against the unexpected and toward the expected.
Can you see that one is flow and one is resistance? It’s like the God-Universe is an octopus and each bit of reality is a tentacle on this magical octopus. So “you” are like one tentacle who feels separate and distinct from the other tentacles and yet if we had enough vision would could follow your own creation backwards until you came to realize that we’re all a part of the same being. That’s what the act of becoming enlightened is. It’s a slow realization that you are one with everything.
So if the Universal Octopus wants us to create, each tentacle will grab a piece of Lego and with the legs closest to itself it will appear to cooperate to create new things in the universe. New experiences, new friends, new creations, new ideas. It all counts. So we use our creativity to form an idea and then we attempt to realize it with the Lego.
Only the other tentacles aren’t so much cooperating with us as they are also, through their own pure creativity, becoming aligned with us. They’re not so much cooperating as they’re like two boats that happened to be on the same course. That still makes them close enough to be able to work together but they will always maintain the ability to surprise each other.
So one tentacle thinks it’s building this out of Lego and the other tentacle thinks it’s building that out of Lego. They’re working together because it appears they are going in the same direction. Eventually we find out that we’re still individuals even though we’re all connected and they may not be ultimately building what we were. Especially when this happens in a relationships, we experience this realization as anger, disappointment, betrayal, frustration and fear.
If we think we’re an ego–a tentacle–then we use our thoughts to create the separateness that allows us to feel we can come into conflict with another tentacle. We can feel it has let us down by not building the same thing we thought we were building. Of course it’s important to note that they feel exactly the same way; that we’ve abandoned their creation.
Only the Octopus knows we’re confused so the weird thing is, we don’t know enough to really lead ourselves through something so infinite. Which means that thanks to the Universal Octopus, sometimes these “mistakes” end up leading to a creation far superior to the one we had planned. Early on we tend to credit the other tentacle for this success but eventually we come to realize that we deserve credit too. We just have to temper our credit in the same way that we temper our blame because the creation didn’t come from just us, just as any failure doesn’t come from just us. There’s a lot of cooks in on this broth.
So stop thinking you can decide your own future. You’re not even able to comprehend what might be good for you because you have no idea who you’re going to be as a result of the experiences you have between now and that future. All you can decide is what you put in. There are no guarantees after that. But even if someone “fails,” we have no idea– that failure might actually be pushing them toward something much better.
If this all sounds like– well you just never know anything then! –then you’re right. It is that. But that’s not bad news. That’s good news. That means you can surrender. You can relax. You can stop trying to get somewhere in your future and instead just focus on being an octopus now. Rather than try to create what you want, you start to wonder what it is this other tentacle is creating. And so you try to get in alignment with it rather than trying to get to align with you.
Eventually you come to understand the other tentacle enough that if you both have surrendered control then you both are acting on behalf of the Universal Octopus and then you’re cooperating on a whole new level. Eventually all of the tentacles will do that and we will again have singularity. We will be One.
If you stop to think about it some of your best friends and jobs and activities grew out of things you did not want to do. So rather than resist what’s happening, start flowing with it. Because your friendships are great examples. Those have no plan, which is in part why they go so well. In friendship you’ll actually let the Universal Octopus run things. Because in the end what you build with the Lego doesn’t matter. But the building of it is your life, so put your energy into enjoying that process rather than waiting to enjoy what you hope your outcome eventually is.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.