In every present moment, there lies the seed of a power struggle. You don’t see it because you are blinded, just as I am. We are blinded by the person within us who wants to be in control. We don’t see it as control. We see it as being right. The present is simply unjust in those moments.
You’re in a hurry and the traffic backs up unexpectedly, or your car breaks down.
You’ve been solo parenting all week and your mate returns home only to announce he or she will be jumping on a plane again shortly.
Your boss makes career promises to you – and then breaks them.
Your lover dumps you.
We resist those moments. We feel angry and hurt. Eventually, we feel sad and disappointed. If we’re lucky, we reach acceptance. Most of us stop at disappointed and hold onto that as a resentment. “Okay, I’ll take the hit this time but don’t let it happen again!” we say to the other guy or to God himself.
Does this mean you need to be a doormat, like a floating empty bottle on the river of life? Not at all. I suggest you listen to this four minute audio clip of me describing how being present is like navigating life on a whitewater raft in a large river. Click to listen.
You need to navigate through the flow of life, resisting where it is your space to resist and going with the flow where it is not. The Serenity Prayer offers an uplifting insight on this. We need to pray for the wisdom to know when to accept and when to change how we respond to life’s challenges.
The key to acquiring this wisdom is an ancient spiritual principle, first taught by Jesus, called The Spiritual Law of Serenity. You need to “first get neutral and then you will see clearly what you need to do.”
The only way to end a power struggle is to know where you stand on a given issue. Once you know, you can move ahead confidently whether you accede to the rights of others to do things that you find hurtful, or whether you take a firm stand. This leaves you with nothing to second-guess or pre-plan. Now you are in the present!