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  • Writer's pictureMarcelo Aguirre

Learning to float, flow, and navigate

We can compare reality with a continuous flow of vast water, such as a sea or ocean, sometimes quiet, sometimes turbulent, depending on the strength of the winds and other weather conditions. And following this comparison, we are like ships that cross the ocean. Sometimes we enjoy the moment, a sunny day in a calm sea, and we feel safe to have the landmass in sight. Other times we have an awful moment and feel very afraid, as if we were in the middle of an agitated ocean at night, having no idea where exactly we are, what direction we need to head, and how far away the coast is. In any scenario, we must stay afloat if our goal is to continue experiencing the maritime 'travel' of life.

It is clear that if reality flows and changes constantly like the waters of the sea, we must flow with reality. But sometimes, we drop the anchor and stop sailing; we stop moving with the very movement of reality.

Sometimes, dropping the anchor can be prudent for a certain period. Like when we decide to stop the routine and take some time to clear our mind before we can resume the sense of orientation: recognize where we are and where we want to go. But dropping the anchor motivated by fear—that is, getting paralyzed, stuck amid stressful situations due to the panic we feel in facing life's unwanted changes—cannot be a wise, much less healthy decision.

Stopping flowing for an indefinite time means separating ourselves from the flow of life and, in extreme cases, letting ourselves die in the middle of the ocean. However, no matter what we decide to do, flow or stagnate, the ocean won't stop changing for that!

The nature of the ocean is changing. The same goes for reality in all its dimensions. Reality not just changes, but it is 'change' itself; its nature is change, which is why change is the only permanent thing we will find there. However, we are not always attentive and in genuine contact with reality. On the contrary, when feeling frustrated and disappointed, we fight irrationally against reality because it changes, and in doing so, it rarely fits our expectations, plans, illusions, and whims entirely. Then we find ourselves 'hooked' in the traps of our mind, like a boat anchored at low tide, stuck and turning in circles.

Sometimes we are so entangled in attachments—our mental hooks— that we fight against what it is with the expectation that reality stops changing. This expectation is as absurd as pretending that the ocean's waters always remain serene, or people do not change, years do not pass, children do not grow up, relationships do not end, and circumstances do not vary. In short, we foolishly pretend that reality ceases to be what it is—permanent change.

So, if reality constantly changes, does it make sense to live? Back to our water metaphor, if we exist in the always-moving ocean, floating in our boats, what destination are we navigating to? I think the destination—our personal life's meaning—is not predetermined nor something we must find somewhere but something we must build.

Plus, only our attachments, the traps of our mind, such as the illusion of permanence, the idealization of certain circumstances, and our self-defeating thinking—to name a few—can prevent us from being attentive to the here-and-now and enjoying every single moment of the trip.

The decision is ours: to anchor and stagnate in our minds, turning in circles, or letting go of harmful attachments, idealizations, whims, and everything that prevents us from keeping moving, learning new skills, discovering new horizons, and making sense of our journey.

Until the next post,

Marcelo Aguirre

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