I have often heard sages, even my own spiritual teachers, respond ever so gently to a student’s bemoaning life’s ups and downs with a simple, “Ah So.” I used to think they didn’t care much. I now say the same thing to my own students. This simple response is not about a laissez- faire attitude of not caring, nor is it about detachment. Rather, it is simply about the fact that life happens. It happens to all of us. There is no way to control it or stop it. Birth and death go on around us all the time. Change is inevitable and vulnerability is essential. It is only when we are vulnerable, and we stop trying to control life, that we are able to allow life’s lessons to teach us. After all these years, I have finally come to understand that, “Ah so,” is simply another way of saying, “ Be awake to knowing, get curious and explore what this new event or circumstance means for you. “Ah so,” simply means step back, get out of the drama or chaos and see what this new challenge is going to teach you about yourself.
The stock market is dropping. Ah so, what will you learn about your illusions as to material security. You have lost a loved one in death. Ah so, what will you discover about the spiritual bonds that extend beyond this physical realm? Your relationship is breaking up. Ah so, what are you about to learn about letting go, your own lovability and free will? What will you learn about the Universe’s way of meeting your needs with someone more appropriate? You have lost your job. Ah so, you are about to learn that you are not your job. What have you always wanted to do but never had the courage to do before? Do it now. You have failed at something you started. Ah so, how does this impact your sense of self and your determination? Someone thinks you are a bad person. Ah so, whose reality is more important, yours or theirs?
“Ah so,” gets to be even more important as you get older. When we are young, we think every decision we make is a life or death one. No refunds. No exchanges. No re-do’s or makeovers. The truth is that you are going to do everything in life a number of times and you get a million chances to do it different. You always have the option of changing your mind and your actions. That’s what life is for – learning to do it better. Being open and attentive is much more important than being judgmental. Judgment immediately cuts off the flow of energy and leaves you feeling worthless, powerless. Mistakes are only here to teach us what we do not want to continue doing. They are not an evaluation of our self-worth, or our lovability. Being open, without judgment, is much more potent and necessary to creating change.
When we are able to step back in the energy of “Ah so,” we find that it’s much more important to tell the truth than say things that sound right. We find that it’s much more important to create peace than be right. We find that it is much more important to be a good person than it is to have a good job. We find that it’s much more important to react wisely than have a justification or explanation. We find that’s it’s much more important to act from our own center, than give others the power over our lives and feelings of self-worth. We find it’s much more important to live in a state of grace than have a huge bank account. It is in the center of the silence and momentary pause of “Ah so,” that we discover these important things.
We cannot control life. We can only control our response to it. We can rail against the inevitable or embrace each new opportunity to learn more and become more. Where ever you are, what ever you are facing, take a deep breath, soften your belly, let your shoulders drop a bit, step back and just simply say, “Ah so.” In that precious space, I believe you will find, everything is unfolding exactly as it should. Including you.
© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2008