“As I watched the seagulls, I thought, ‘That’s the road to take; find the absolute rhythm and follow it with absolute trust.” ~Nikos Kazantzakis, Greek writer
Some months feel blissfully unmarred by any significant decision making, while at other points in my year I find myself caught in a current of second guessing and trying to see the future. Can you relate? Sometimes I wish to peer into the future about how a particular choice might impact my children later in life. Other decisions that feel monumental include whether to move house, whether to stay local or start a new adventure, and various work life adjustments and permutations. I can get mired in decisions about how best to pursue spiritual growth or the right balance of priorities of exercise, helping others, and rest. Many times I feel trapped in paralysis while I try to work out the best way forward, or I become angst-ridden as I begin to make a decision only to withdraw that decision in favor of another way, never feeling one hundred percent certain if either way is the correct one.
There must be some perfectionism at fault for this quivering, often torturous dance between alternatives. An overbearing internal critic jeers, “What if you get it wrong? What then? Just think about how disappointed in yourself you will be!” I possibly have an overdeveloped awareness that “we only get one life,” as they say, and with it comes a sometimes frantic desire to get it right the first time because there will not be another. But of course none of us can see the future, and we cannot get it right all the time. And is there really only one right decision all the time? That seems a faulty supposition.
I will share with you a method out of the angst that corresponds with Niko Kazantzakis’ words above. When I am filled with the turmoil of unknowing, I slow down. I make time first thing in the morning, or I set aside a moment during an afternoon or an evening, to plug in to the “absolute rhythm.” I make time to quiet myself, to steady and deepen my breath, and I pray for wisdom. The wisdom comes to me in the language of peace. The absolute rhythm whispers to me a way that will bring me the greatest peace, and that is the way that I follow. This does not always mean that the answer involves the avoidance of conflict. Sometimes the answer requires that I do something frightening, that I risk something, that I confront someone or something. But the end result, I recognize, will bring me increased peace. That is the absolute rhythm to follow.
I also have learned that the absolute rhythm is love. When it is unclear how I should act, in my settled down, silent moment of connection with spirit, I ask, “Is love somehow related to this dilemma?” When I can tug at the thread that attaches me to love, I know that is the thread to follow. Those who have out of body and near-death experiences (as well as those who have mind-altering experiences experimenting with psychedelics), repeatedly relay that one of the primary impressions their astonishing experience impressed upon them was the idea that “love is all that matters.” They come back to us from these extraordinary states so convinced by this revelation, it changes their lives. Why not learn from them without the need to survive a near-death experience or to play a risky and expensive game with psychedelics? Why not structure my life around my faith tradition’s fundamental truth, that “the greatest of these is love” (I Cor. 13:13)?
The absolute rhythm traverses a road of peace and love. When it is unclear which decision will bring me to either, as still sometimes happens, I let go. I turn from searching for the absolute rhythm, and I activate my “absolute trust.” Because the absolute rhythm can be found there too. That’s the secret. I don’t always have to find the absolute rhythm. The beautiful, magnificent truth of my life is that the absolute rhythm knows how to find me. And as basic outdoor survival training teaches, should we ever become lost, it is easier to be found if we remain in one place and are still.
In what areas of your life do you need to seek out the absolute rhythm this week? As you turn down the noise, can you discern which answer will bring you the greatest peace? Is there an answer that speaks most clearly of love? Is there an area that you need to submit to absolute trust?