how to relax into being led
May 9, 2020
Maybe we should just relax into noticing wherever it is we are being led. Big things, small things. It’s all the same really. We’ve just got to learn how to soften up.
Yesterday I was led by my six-year-old son. He was talking non-stop about his intention to build a tent when I move into my new apartment. There were so many features to the tent he was going to build. He talked about it for at least an hour. It became his stream of consciousness whilst we were on the beach, then walking back to the car, then during the moments of driving him back to his grandmother's. He wasn't conscious of any transitions. That’s the thing I love about my six year old son: no transitions.
At his Gran's he announced: "Granny, I'm going to build a tent in daddy's new apartment". And so it went; weaving a web out of his own curiosity. The Dhammakid, teaching me a lesson about being led.
Then, in the midst of all this attending to tents, he decided to hit his brother. His eyes and body changed shape. He was full-on readying himself for a brutal assault. Such a sudden and tempestuous change. But then he stopped and said: is that a good choice daddy? He actually said that. You could hear the crack of my grin.
Was it his reverie in the land of tents that made him realise this? Maybe he felt so good about himself when he was being led by his imagination that it informed some generosity of spirit. I could have shut him down. I could have closed the door on the campsite of his mind. I mean, he was talking A LOT about tents. I certainly started to feel the body signals of conditioned impatience. I could feel driven-doing mode tugging at me to stop being led. That’s when I remembered. Be with this moment.
That's all it is. That's the training. To be with being led.
But it's work. This remembering business. This remembering to be mindful. This remembering to be curious. They say it’s about being kind. And it is. Being kind to yourself in the remembering. Cracking a grin to your own impatient waywardness. Knowing that it’s okay. That it’ll pass. The waywardness, that is. Knowing that you can look more closely at your child. Be with them. Feel into the waywardness.
Each moment of our life is being led. But often we feel these moments as moments where we are being led somewhere we don't want to be. I would hazard a guess that they are something akin to the moment you are experiencing now. It would not be revelatory to you to know, or feel, that the moment you are experiencing now is somewhat desultory, disappointing, and somewhere below the optimal range of experience you would prefer to be having.
So maybe just remind yourself to notice when you are being led in this way. Then tell yourself: this is the very best of moments. This impatience, this desultoriness. This bloody awkwardness in body, unleashing signals of God-knows-what. It's all good. It's all one. It's all the beauty of the design. Don’t try to understand it. Just be with it. Crack a smile to it.
Just relax into being led.