This month the Center for Personal Development welcomes a guest posting from Dr. Allan Schnarr, MDiv., PhD..


The surprise of the unexpected becomes the wonder of what is

becomes the opportunity to influence

what is coming to be.

The wheel of life is the process of my own healing and growth. The wheel turns on its own. There is no predicting and controlling what is about to happen. Control of the next moment is an illusion. The surprise is essential to reality. There is no knowing what comes next.

However, no matter how clear my intention, what happens next remains a surprise. My readiness for what shows up keeps me open to the flow, ready to learn from my choice.

My resistance to the unexpected blocks my feelings, and obstructs the flow that turns the wheel. The resulting backlog of energy is experienced as anxiety. I have unfinished business that requires attention. The longer I ignore it, the more likely something is about to go wrong. The attempt to escape this discomfort by seizing control simply postpones and inflates the inevitable loss of control that is already happening. Thus the anxiety builds. The solution to anxiety is to release the illusion of control. As the Zen wisdom declares: clear intentions, detached from results. When I try to control what happens next, the energy gets stuck in my body. Even here, there is opportunity.

The past remains present until I feel the truth of it, in my body. Whether accumulated through resistance or overload, the unexperienced energy is stored in my body. There it rustles, calling for awareness and choice, pushing at the wheel. Discipline is required if I am to regularly relieve the backlog, learn from it, and become ever more ready for the next surprise.

Each recurrently unexpected feeling turns the wheel of life. Pain reveals what is dying or needs to die. Pleasure unveils every spark of new life. My life is carried through its ups and down by the feelings that come and go. As I let go in the pain, and engage in the pleasure, my developmental progress happens: I learn how to have more pleasure and less pain in the long run. I grow in emotional wisdom.

May I let go of the illusion of control.

May I discover the comfort to release my pain as I feel it,

so that it may pass.

May I be blessed with the equanimity to engage the pleasure I feel

in a way that allows it to last.