It has been my personal discovery that letting go of outcome has a tendency to make things actually turn out better than they would have otherwise. Planning and hope along with an optimistic attitude and good effort are all I have to do to allow life to unfold as it best can. To attempt to steer what unfolds beyond those things is setting myself up for disappointment. It is impossible to see all of what might happen, not matter how hard I try. Too much focus on a single spot causes a look too close to see things in a broad sense. One explanation of this principle is found in the book “The Other Way: Meditation Experiences Based on the I Ching” by Carol K. Anthony:
I saw myself facing a tall stone wall and understood it to be a wall of obstruction. Wondering about the meaning, I suddenly noticed the outline of a camouflaged doorway in the wall; I realized that I could have passed by it many times without noticing it.
Pondering the presence of this hidden doorway, I realized that our way of viewing things is so habitually logical that we fail to see the principle of the hidden door.
I saw that in looking at those around me, I have judged this person as “habitually improvident (lacking foresight)”, that person as “having a blind spot,” another as “too involved in seeing negatives,” another as “too parsimonious (excessively frugal),” and another as “too set in his ways to ever change,” and so on. What I fail to do in all this activity is to see the operation of the hidden door, the one factor that often makes a thing possible that otherwise seems unlikely.
The principle of the hidden door is constantly in operation, upsetting our best assessments and preparations. We think we have everything mapped out, and well-planned, while in fact, the unexpected controls everything. Good sense and hard work can succeed, but there is not guarantee of this. The most unlikely people turn out to be successful in their work, and people to whom we attached great expectation often fail.
All things being put together correctly, the chances are good for success, but the chances are greatly enhanced if the person putting them together is consistently open-minded about the possibilities of the unlikely. Such as attitude is in harmony with events, for there is always a hidden doorway through difficult situations. Looking for this hidden doorway is like looking at a picture that has another picture hidden within it. The harder we try, the more difficult it is to see it.
The reason things sometimes do not work out as we expect is that we have stopped the hidden door principle by presuming that because some particular outcome is unlikely, it won’t happen. It is easy to assume that a 10% likelihood, for example is really a 0% likelihood. An unassuming attitude, however makes it possible for things to work out, in spite of appearances to the contrary. Our attitude creates the possibility, for Fate mocks our attitude. The surest way to guarantee ourselves failure is to have the Titanic Complex: to be firmly confident that we have figured out, and accounted for, everything.
Opening my mind beyond its tendencies is not easy, but I am discovering the rewards are rich and meaningful. Any time I am absolutely certain of something is when I am absolutely certain to be wrong. There are always more possibilities, reasons and ways of things that I will ever be able to see in advance. With an open mind and grateful heart I accept this and endeavor to broaden my openness to the unexpected.
We think too small,
like the frog at the bottom of the well.
He thinks the sky is only
as big as the top of the well.
If he surfaced,
he would have an entirely different view.