Today I wanted to introduce this calligraphy art stretching across three canvases, meaning “drifting”, as in, “drifting like a wave in the ocean”.
I painted this piece when I felt my life was not flowing in the direction I wanted it to go. At that time I was feeling stuck in the situation and environment I was in for a long time. I couldn’t see that change was coming but I wasn't ready to take any action to change the situation either. I felt helpless, almost as if I was just drifting on water with no clear direction. It was truly a hard time in my life.
People will tell you it's okay sometimes to just “go with the flow” and to “let the current carry you”.
This philosophy aligns with one of the core teachings of Taoism. “let things happen as they do without trying to control or force what is not meant to be”.
But I struggled to accept these ideas because they seemed too passive. I didn't like the idea of letting outside influences entirely dictate my life. Also I was fearful that if I let myself drift in this way, I would not get where I wanted to be, as I was headstrong in my belief that achieving goals requires hard work and resisting taking the easier path.
But I was also wondering…. Why does it seem that some people are doing just fine going with the flow and even being successful using the flow like a mighty current, while some people work very hard but struggle in life choosing the path going against the flow.
What’s the secret?
Over the years, I came to realize that life isn’t a simple equation where taking harder roads lead you to success and easy roads lead you nowhere. There is wisdom in choosing the “drifting in the ocean” approach. Let me explain what I mean.
First, we must define, when we say current, what that means. If a current is a metaphor for what’s happening in our life, society, the world, or the innate cycles of human life and natural environments, there isn’t a single flow around us that will take us in one direction, rather, many different currents and possibilities that are floating around. Some are a calm and stable flow, others turbulent, swirling around in disorder and may be very unpredictable.
In a sense, human life is like a tiny boat floating in a vast ocean of current that we don't have much control over. “Drifting like a wave in the ocean” might just be the reality of how our life looks like. If I see ourselves and human life as a part of nature, I feel more peace in accepting the “drifting” approach. Because whether we choose to go with the flow or against it, nature's strong current will take us down our life's path.
With that said, taking the “go with the flow” approach doesn't mean that we aren’t in charge of our lives.
While we are adrift and seemingly making no progress, we still have control of our inner world and have the ability to observe, think, and work on building ourselves from the inside. As a matter of fact, it is very important that you know yourself, your ability and desires as well as the potential opportunities that you see within and around you.
Becoming more in tune with our inner flow will help us choose if and when we should go with the flow.
For example you might choose to stay on a current course and go with the social flow to avoid conflict with the people around you, whatever it might be. This choice, however, may increase the inner conflict you feel by going further away from your center.
I believe humans are all born to live our lives to our fullest potential. I think we can maximize our potential when our inner desire is aligned with the natural course of the universe.
The more you become aware of yourself and your inner current, the better you can see which flow can assist you in manifesting your potential and which currents will sweep you away from it.
Yet, the current won’t always be predictable. The subtle shifts in current can create vast differences in how our life unfolds. There is no absolute way to tell which current is the right one and what the right timing is for you to catch the tide. Choosing direction in life is more of an art than a science.
Sometimes in life it seems that we have no choice but to drift. We must recognize that it’s okay to let go at times. “Let things happen as they do without trying to control or force what is not meant to be”. It is wisdom that liberates us from the idea that we need to be in control at all times and inspires us to think about our connection with the universe and what life presents us with.
And if you are worried about letting go of your philosophy for work ethic and climbing uphill to achieve goals, don’t be worried, there will be plenty of challenges no matter which path you choose.
We just need to go with our gut feeling, trusting that the current is always taking us where we need to go and allowing us to live fully.