What we experience as chaos varies from one person to the next. For one person, the most minor change in schedule or in environment is enough to throw them into a frenzy. For others they’re comfortable with change and multi-tasking, and only major breakdowns are seen as chaotic. If one person misplaces their airline ticket it’s a challenge that can be remedied. For another it’s a major calamity.
As we observe the broad spectrum of reactions to change and stress it becomes increasingly clear that responses are individualized. It appears to not be the event itself, but instead what we make of the event.
So what’s the deeper learning in this awareness?
There are so many aspects at work in our response to life events. One of these is our expectation of ourselves. If we’ve learned to expect that we must, or should, do things perfectly then anything that interferes with that belief can feel like added stress.
The list of our dearly held beliefs about how things should be is long. Most of these ideas are so subtly imbedded in our thinking that we assume them to be real. It’s only when we have the insight that our world is thought-created that we begin to see we’re making it up. We choose our response to every moment. We are the creator of our movie called life.
Throughout life there are many opportunities to observe what occurs when we take our thinking seriously and when we persist in seeing life as happening to us, an outside-in event. When, however, we have the ultimate aha moment and realize the inside-out nature of life, we can begin to release habitual thinking. We can begin to catch ourselves with the first habitually insecure thought about our world and our place in it. We can then fall back on our default setting of calm and wise, regardless of circumstances.
Of course there are many instances of truly chaotic experiences such as earthquakes, tidal waves and floods. Even in those challenging circumstances there are always a few, seemingly remarkable people who rise above their fears, and in fact often “save the day.” Our wisdom and common sense, which is available to us in every moment, will kick in, allowing us to access calm in the midst of chaos.
Having faith in our resiliency in truly challenging moments allows us to avoid the creation of chaos in our everyday lives. Why catastrophize the simplest event? It’s a waste of energy and it reinforces our insecure thinking.
You’re onto yourself now. The myth of life as an outside-in reality is completely debunked. We are free — free to create a profoundly calm experience moment to moment.