Currents of Chaos

On a bed in the middle of an emergency room, a small boy sits. Around him is total chaos: people yelling, nurses running around, trauma to the left and to the right. Everyone is moving with urgency while the boy sits motionless and watches it all unfold. A nurse notices and assumes he must be terrified. "Don't be afraid," she reassures him. The boy looks at her calmly and replies, "Oh I'm not afraid."

If we're not participating in the chaos -- if we're not being wrapped up and swept away by the current along with everyone else -- that doesn't mean we're inadequate, missing out, or living in fear. But in the busyness of life, that's easy to forget. It's easy to unconsciously allow our lives to be written by the currents. It's easy to assume that if everyone is riding them, they must lead us in the right direction.

Those assumptions allow the currents to affect our energy levels and our work schedules, our eating habits and our career tactics. They influence our skills, the possessions we own, and the actions we condone. They cause us to assume that life is chaotic, a competition, a race against time, and a mad dash to the finish line.

Let go of the expectation that life is an endless chaotic current. Give yourself permission to be still. Walk through your day observing the currents of life, holding your ground and allowing those currents to sweep past you like the wind sweeps around a tree. Be like the boy in the hospital quietly observing the chaos. You are not helpless and adrift. You are conscious, strong, and fully capable of directing your life.

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  1. This is what I love best about visiting your site..somehow you address the very “thing” I am processing in my own life.
    This morning I very uncharacteristically felt very internally imbalanced. Usually I would effortlessly raise my vibration, but none of my techniques could touch my imbalance. Externally, gusty wind whipped through the harbor rocking my boat as it sat in the slip. After a few hours of this, I realized that my internal imbalance was due to allowing external opinions and circumstances provide my direction; external stimulus was so “loud” I couldn’t access my internal compass.
    In other words, current sweeps me when I am not mindfully present; when I allow my self to be distracted, I allow my self to be swept away. This insight allowed me to regain my internal balance and then to go outside and play in Wind with my family..celebrate the external, incorporate it into your creations, and allow it to enrich what you create..rather than to guide or misdirect your steps, allow external to enhance them…
    As one who loves all things Ocean related, rather than fight the current (or wind), I honor the power…I learn when to use my skills to surf the waves and harness wind to get to a destination, and I learn when to surrender my will to reach a particular destination and allow nature to guide me along my path..always in gratitude for the journey and all in my sight..

    • Thank you… exactly what I needed to read this morning. I am holding on to my life boat……. I too felt out of balance this morning and this post was EXACTLY what I needed to see. Thank you for the reminder…


    • Joy, I love what you said about allowing external to enhance the internal, allowing it to enrich our creativity instead of becoming a force for misdirecting our steps.

      When we’re distracted by the currents of the world (even our own internal currents can become a distraction), we lose sight of ourselves — we lose sight of our helm. And if we’re not at the helm, we cannot steer and guide our life.

  2. Finding teachable moments in each circumstance, no matter how exasperating. 🙂

    I wonder if you were as calm with your own visit long ago, or if this seemingly constant peace has been learned and reinforced as your roots strengthen?

    Such placid detachment is indeed a gift, and I thank the winds of chance for your decision to teach these skills & the opportunity to learn, share, and grow with you and the people you’ve impacted so deeply.

    • It’s all a learning process, an ebb and flow. 🙂

      The story of the boy was one that was passed on to me, not something that I experienced directly. I just shared my interpretation of the observation and the lessons I took away.

  3. What a great article! I have just recently left the chaos for a simpler, less crazy life so I can really identify with this writing. Knowing that don’t have to get caught up in all of it leaves me with a much more excited feeling about my life. I’m claiming my life back and my time starts now…

    • Colleen, that’s fantastic! Leaving behind the chaos and experiencing the calm of detachment from the currents around you is very empowering.

      That saying, “today is the first day of the rest of your life”, is something I remind myself of all the time. Today, right now, really does encompass everything we are, all that we have, and all that we need. There is no better time to start, no better time to end, and no better time to release than right now. 🙂

  4. You know… I was just thinking about this tonight in my yoga class. The woman in front of me got the wobbles up and couldn’t manage the tree pose without toppling. I normally have no problem with it… but tonight… she really got me rattled. And I wasn’t the only one. Everyone behind her was having difficulty. It got me thinking about how influenced we are by the actions of others. It’s hard to switch off when everyone around you is unbalanced. But once I refocussed my attention on the wall in front of me… instead of the person in front of me… I was fine. I guess [maybe] life’s a bit like that too eh?

    Thanks Raam for another thought provoking post 🙂

    • Jean, what a wonderful observation! Being able to focus and balance while simultaneously observing and helping others who are less focused and less balanced is something we see all the time in those who have mastered a skill. And I think that comes from a deep understanding of the core.

      When we recognize and maintain a perspective that originates from the core, all else, no matter how unbalanced or unfocused, remains separate from us.

      That’s why I feel it’s so important to recognize our essence and live and act from that place. If we operate from the perspective of something external to us, something not as stable and authentic, then we risk losing our balance and our focus in life.

      Thank you so much for sharing that story and adding a dimension to this post. 🙂

  5. Today I was sitting on the wooden bench at the Aunt’s house in Hue enjoying the chaos of voices that surrounded me, the kids wrestling and running around and I every once in a while glanced down at the book I was reading.

    Out of the corner of my eye I saw that Uncle Hoang’s wife (from Saigon) was staring at me and said something to Mai. The family thought I might be bored I guess. Huan’s wife said something and in a few minutes, Huan said, “would you like to go somewhere and see something?” Huan is an independent tour guide.

    I was content right where I was, enjoying the sights and sounds of family. This was the first time visiting family in Viet Nam that I wasn’t hurried from one point to another. It was AWESOME!

    Only one thing missing……. Raam wasn’t there this year to enjoy it with me.

    • I wish I could be there too, David! 🙂

      I’ve been observing a lot lately the currents of conversation, of social settings where we’re expected to talk, to add to the conversation, to interrupt, and to always be ‘doing’ something. Staying still in those moments and really appreciating them is an incredibly fulfilling experience, a sense of complete contentment.

      When we’re able to soak in the energy of the moment and of all the people sharing that moment, we experience real peace. Being in a foreign environment where you cannot understand the language certainly makes such moments easier to experience… I definitely had several while I was visiting Vietnam with you and Mai last year. 🙂

  6. This is the secret, isn’t it? You’ve really hit the nail on the head when you say:

    “allowing those currents to sweep past you like the wind sweeps around a tree. Be like the boy in the hospital quietly observing the chaos. You are not helpless and adrift. You are conscious, strong, and fully capable of directing your life.”

    Life is like a magical display or a magician’s illusion. True freedom comes when we don’t entangle ourselves, but live with a wise and open heart.

    • Unless we know what is real and what is ‘true’ — unless we know what our ‘true self’ consists of — how can we experience true freedom from the things that it doesn’t consist of? It seems obvious, but when the layers of unreality are so thick it’s easy to forget that those layers are not actually real. 🙂

  7. this is simply wonderful imagery, raam.
    and i love that it’s a little child who gives the message!
    smiles and thanks,
    tammy j

    • Thank you, Tammy! With their unbiased view of the world, children can be incredible teachers. I find myself learning from them all the time! 🙂


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