The world is uncertain: We cannot control our lives. We cannot control the world, we cannot control other people, we only have limited control over ourselves. Many of us feel uncomfortable about this. We want security in our lives. We like to plan our futures and be reassured that everything will be OK. Uncertainty is not reassuring – it is scary. Yet until we accept it, we will never be comfortable.
The truth is, anything could happen at any time. We go ahead making our plans – thinking about what we will do, whether we’ll have kids, where we will live, and so forth. Yet these plans could be shattered in an instant, dramatically so. There may be an unexpected tragedy – our loved one might die, we may fall ill, or a war could break out. There may also be an unexpected opportunity – we change careers, or meet the man of our dreams. If we cling too strongly to our plans, this uncertainty will scare us. Even good opportunities will be viewed as threats, things that shake up our security. Thus, to shrink from uncertainty is to live in fear. Instead, we must surrender to it, accept it, even embrace it.
There is nothing wrong making plans in life, but we must take these plans with a pinch of salt. Living life is like being swept downstream by a raging river. Our struggling is of limited use. We may have some control – we can steer away from rocks, keep our head above water – but for the most part, we are at the mercy of the river. Many people think this analogy is depressing, viewing life is the avoiding of rocks. This misses the point: Riding down a river is fun! It is fun provided that we relax, accept the uncertainty, and enjoy whatever surprises come.