I hate hurrying.
But I used to hurry, all the time. It was like part of my default settings. Settings that I urgently need to modify if I want to find peace within myself or lead a happy life.
One of the phrases that seem to follow me everywhere is: “Trust the process.”
Trust the process. It sounds sweet. I am so familiar with that phrase and it means so much to me. But I’m so curious how you, whoever you are reading this, interprets it.
Let me explain to you why enjoying the process is the most important thing you’ll ever do in your entire life and of course, how to do it, or at least try and begin to create the mindset to do so.
It all begins with understanding these the words: ‘Trust’, ‘The’, and ‘Process’. Why do we care about this? Mainly because focusing on results might make us miss out on our actual life.
You might already have a hunch. But remember, true knowing, lies not in words nor in the mind, but in your actions. So do you really know?
Part 1: TRUST
Oh trust. The almighty trust. Trust is the opposite of control. That ego-derived impulse, that need to know. That need to have life (or someone) on a leash somehow. That search for security. That fear-driven need that can’t ever let go.
The ego tries to desperately to overcompensate for how little control we really have. Few can actually recognize or admit this to themselves.
And those people who simply can’t let go of control (you know exactly who you are), let me remind you of the not-so-obvious truths nobody taught us: There isn’t much we actually control.
We can’t control anything except what we do. We can’t control who we are born as, now where or when. We can’t control the language we learn growing up. We can’t control who we meet or don’t meet. We can’t control who will hire us. We can’t control the economy. We can’t control the government. We can’t control what happens to us. We can’t control when we die.
We might be able to have some influence on it… but control? Forget it. It is pure illusion. Especially not from the ego-mind that the control we are talking about stems from. You can’t even control how you feel or what you think. You can learn to understand and manage your thoughts and emotions, but not fully control them.
We can choose the party we go to, but we can’t control who will be there. We can choose the jobs we apply to, but we can’t control if they will choose us. We can decide we want to be with someone, but we can’t control if they will want to be with us in return.
All your power lies in the beautiful balance between this dichotomy: Embracing fully what is in your control and letting go and trusting all that is outside of it.
So the good news is, you can let go. You can TRUST that ultimately it is not all up to you, whether you believe in something bigger than you or want to leave it to pure chance, making the choices.
As my existentialist soul buddy Jean Paul (Sartre) defined freedom;
“Freedom is what you do with what has been done to you.”Jean PaUl Sartre
Amen Jean Paul, amen.
And the things that have been done to you, the uncontrollable parts of your oh so deliciously mysterious life are part your life you will simply have to accept and trust. You can get angry, not like them, and want to change them all. Fantastic, that could very well be a part of your process.
What you actually do, that is what is up to you. That is, all the choices you make, like what you say, what attitude or perspective you adopt, where you go, who you hang out with, what you decide to believe…
The problem is that we are focusing too much on the things we can’t control and not enough on the things we DO control: US.
If you focus on what other people do or don’t do (it’s called gossip) or on the fact that you didn’t get into a certain school, than you are not focusing enough on what you can do about it.
The sooner you accept what is out of your control, the sooner you can shift your focus to what’s really important; what you can do about it.
To really be able to trust, you have to become keenly aware of your inability to trust. Dive into it, and find your true ‘area’ or control and influence. And focus on that, continuously. Over and over again. And catch your mind every time it wants to control something it can’t.
Ultimately, trust is something you must teach yourself to feel. It might not come as naturally to all of us, but it is an essential part of our well-being. One must condition the Self to learn to trust.
To trust, you must let go. You must surrender at least a part of yourself to something else outside of yourself. And this… this letting go, it might take a lot of work.
The illusion of control can become and is for some such a heavy burden to carry. And letting it go can provide huge relief from the anxiety and stress that clouds our modern-day life.
For me, letting go of control has been so painful and difficult, but one of the most freeing experiences and sensations. And trust, opens the doors of love. That, however, is talk for another time.
Part 2: THE
The. It is not a process. It is the process. It is your process. The process you came here to live. There are very specific lessons you must learn here on your life on Earth.
Wait, did you think this was all just a coincidence? No. It’s the coincidence. The ultimate coincidence of you being alive in this shape and form, in this time and space, in this time in history, with that past, and those emotions, and those thoughts, and those tastes and that restlessness inside of you that doesn’t let you sleep (if that’s your case).
Do you know how specific you are? Do you know exactly how much of “a coincidence” you really are? It’s ridiculous. Do you know how many things had to happen so that YOU were born? I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
Did you ever think about that? While I’m here having epiphanies over the fact that I can breathe and look at myself in the mirror, you might just be there taking all that breathing and heart-pumping for granted.
And many people don’t realise the preciousness of life, until some major life-changing thing happens, like an accident, an illness or the loss of a loved one. It often takes a trigger like that to really get slapped in the face and be like ‘woah’.
And maybe I’m crazy, high on life. Maybe that’s why I always disliked drugs. I thought reality with my full senses open, untouched, heightened by the awareness of my own consciousness was always enough to take me to an elevated state of bliss. I can’t help it. It’s just so natural to me.
That’s how I feel about my process. The more aware I become, the more I see how it all fits together, and the more I trust it, even when I don’t understand it. It’s a feeling that feeds itself.
Part 3: PROCESS
For my purposes right now, process is the opposite of result. A process leads to a result, yes. But there is no result without a process.
Process is the step by step by step by step. It is is small, daily actions, and thoughts and emotions and moments and people and circumstances that slowly and mysteriously take you on a journey.
Sometimes the process itself might seem completely irregular, non-linear, or irrational. Or, like many cases, can only be understood in retrospect. So we are back to the fact that we have to trust it.
Forget the results. Detach yourself from them. You can have a goal. A goal is essential because it gives a sense of direction to your process. But the result, you can never know.
Getting denied that promotion might fuel enough frustration that you finally end up quitting and pursing your dream. Failing your first business might lead you to meeting your next business partner or your life partner. Who knows. We most certainly usually don’t.
The process has to happen. Let it happen. Sometimes 2 plus 2 equals magic.
All of life happens one day at a time, one minute at a time. Every result happens one decision at a time. You can’t shortcut any of it.
That’s what mindfulness is all about. Accepting and being fully in the now. The only place anything ever happens. Right now. It is now, and only now, you have power.
Can you stop and think for one moment all the wheels had to turn in your life so that you ended up sitting in the place you’re sitting right now reading this article?
Have you not understood how amazing it is to be alive yet? The process of life is magical. And the more conscious we become of that, the more awe-inspiring life can become. At least that’s how it has been for me.
I will tell you one thing. Trusting myself, trusting the process, trusting my process, has been one of the central and most important parts of my life. It has allowed for life to become my best friend.