Koan: “Nothing can compare to simply living out the inevitable unfurling of your life and there’s nothing more difficult.” – Zhuangzi – chpt. 4, The Human Realm, section 2

When I bumped into this quote from Zhuangzi, I reacted to the “inevitable unfurling of your life” part.

I don’t like something that’s ‘inevitable’. It feels like determinism, or predestination. Don’t I have any say in what happens? Who laid out this inevitable plan anyways? Which is to say, I have a problem with not being in control.

If I just stay with the unfurling, then that doesn’t feel so bad, the unfurling of my life, feels like a natural process like the unfurling of a fern, though, when I say “natural process”, I’m letting in inevitability. Just as summer follows spring and fall follows summer, we inevitably grow old, get sick and die, it’s a natural process and it is inevitable, yet I can feel my resistance. How can I resist being natural? That’s unnatural, isn’t it? What if my resistance to being natural is natural? It eliminates a whole level of judgments about me by me, and I have no resistance to that.

Maybe it’s that very resistance to my resistance that Zhuangzi was talking about when he said that it was so difficult. The resistance to seeing through the two horns on which we are impaled, the conceit of “I am” and the arrogance of “self and other thinking”, which lead us to believe we are independent beings, not intimately connected with all the 10,000 things.

Reading Zhuangzi’s comment about it being difficult I felt oddly comforted. Upon reflection perhaps not so oddly, as it is the comfort and support I get from practicing together in community, sharing the difficulty with each other.


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