We try to deal with our overwhelm by getting busier. We think that if we can just go a bit faster we’ll soon get on top of things.
We can’t see that it’s not a question of faster but more often a question of priority, of deciding what’s important and saying no to everything else.
We try to deal with other people’s apparent lack of commitment by speaking more loudly, being more insistent, yelling. We think that if we’re just more forceful then people will do what we want.
But we can’t see that involving others is not usually a question of force but a question of enrolment – that we’d be better turning our attention to inviting a genuine relationship that supports commitment in arising.
We try to deal with our anxiety by turning away from it, numbing ourselves, only to find out that anxiety forced underground is just as painful and, in many ways, causes us much more difficulty.
We can’t see that feelings are there to be felt. That our anxiety can educate us, have us reach out for support, teach us about what’s most genuinely important for us.
In each of these cases, and in many more, we’d do well to remember Martin Buber when he tells us
“The horizon visible from one’s station is not the whole sky”
Or, in other words, the resolution to many of our difficulties is not to continue on automatic but to turn towards what we’re not currently paying attention to.
It’s to find out that what we’ve taken to be the ‘horizon’ – the way the world is, the way we are, and what we have to do – is only a part of the picture. That the resolution to our difficulties, or at least the lessening of them, is often in finding out that the world of possible relationships, explanations and actions is way bigger than we’d imagined.
This, then, is the path of responsiveness, and the path of development.
And it’s worth working on with everything we can bring to it.