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personal engagement personal engagement

Flow With What Happens


Zhuangzi taught, “Flow with whatever may happen, and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”

There’s nothing more you need to do.



Did you know that engagement extends far beyond people? Engagementwhich is the sustained connections we have to the worlds within and around usis at work throughout the universe. There are countless unspoken contracts of mutuality that exist throughout nature and the cosmos. Every time humans stumble across an engagement that’s new to us, we declare it the vast new territory, when in reality it’s been there all along. Our contract of mutuality with that discovered place states that we’ll see each other at some point, and alas, we do! That’s Heartspace at work.

Its also Heartspace at work when we go further inside our inner space. The landscapes that make our interiority rich and our psyches unique is what belongs to us, individually.

However, just like outer space inner space doesn’t have to be understood. It doesn’t have to be conquered or exploited, either. It simply exists, and we get to choose whether to let it run rampant, tame it, or manipulate it to meet our wants.

In delving deeper within ourselves, we become more engaged within ourselves. There are anchors within us that are awaiting the tethers of connections that last, and these anchors want you to get engaged. These tethers yearn for your love of music, and they want you to sit in solitude everyday, if those things work for you. The tethers strengthen when you play with kids, and they can tell when you go into flow while you’re working that job you care about. These anchors are activated in your passion for social justice, your interest in world travel, and your commitment to your parents. That’s right: Heartspace is nurtured even by things you don’t tell other people.

The inside/out paradox of Heartspace is that by strengthening the sustained connections we have within us we actually improve the sustained connections we have outside us. Because of this, engagement extends far beyond us individually only because of how far it goes within us personally. Another way to say this is that our engagement with the world directly corresponds to our engagement within ourselves. You can only demonstrate the engagement which you possess.

The person who is narcissistic cannot be authentically engaged in the world around themselves. They may appear to be connected, but their pity for the world isn’t sustainable because they are only self-serving. In the same way, a person who is completely altruistic cannot be truly engaged, either, as their motivation to connect with others is sympathy, which is not genuine.

Living in Heartspace is most truly done by those who live in solidarity with the world around them. The ancient Greek philosopher Zeno realized this when he wrote the arrow paradox, which says, “If everything when it occupies an equal space is at rest, and if that which is in locomotion is always occupying such a space at any moment, the flying arrow is therefore motionless.” In Heartspace, this paradox takes the form of the person deeply engaging in the world around them by becoming deeply engaging in the world within them.

Do you want to become more engaged in the world around you? Just be more engaged. Do you want to live from Heartspace? All you have to do now is live. Your work is done.


Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

By Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker, writer, trainer, researcher and advocate who researches, writes and shares about education, youth, and history.

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