Comfortable with Uncertainty is the title of a book by the Tibetan Buddhist monk, Pema Chodron. Pema has written many books… and they all have portentous titles such as “Start Where You Are,” “The Wisdom of No Escape” and “When Things Fall Apart.”
Pema is speaking to me.
But a Buddhist would say that there is no me; we are all one.
“It’s not all about you.”
I have heard this before. My daughter would holler this when I would try to get her to conform, behave, listen, follow.
(She said a lot of things… this being one of the milder retorts!)
But she was right.
It’s not all about me.
A yoga teacher once told me that it is the ego at work when we think we can control the outcome of any event. Even if that outcome has no selfish impetus. Even if that outcome is to solely benefit another – like recovery.
She questioned me: “If you didn’t take credit when your eldest aced the SATs, or won the lead in the play, why would you own your other child’s difficulties?” She further explained; “If you believe you are responsible for another person’s failures that too is the ego at play. You are, in essence, believing you have a Godly amount of control over another individual’s actions.”
So, where does this leave me? If I am no longer an active participant do I assume the role of spectator? Do I alternate between cheering from the sidelines or averting my ashamed gaze?
No. As Pema reminds, “just start where you are.” Starting necessitates setting off, not standing still. Basically; get yourself back into the game.
The thing is, if you keep playing, at some point you no longer keep track of the wins and the losses. It just becomes a series of parade like hills; some up, some down. Eventually you realize others are playing the game too. We are all part of this shifting, moving, undulating life force. There are no bystanders. And there are no ultimate victors. We are all on the same team.