Why Forcing Something is Futile and Ends in Frustration

Have you ever felt the frustration when trying to complete a puzzle without realising there were pieces missing? Or tried to force something to happen according to your own timing. which just resulted in wasting precious energy and time.

I am sure you can also relate if instead you are a gamer who just can’t reach the next level of the game, a crossword buff who can’t get the one word that would unlock the whole section or the dreamer who can’t seem to get it together.

There is a very well-known passage in the Old Testament said to have been written by King Solomon – the wisest of Kings. As a leader he is said to have asked God for a “an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil” (I Kings 3:9). Now this is certainly no Bible lesson, but rather an exploration into what it is that causes us to think we have complete control over our lives.

The famous scripture is from a Biblical book – Ecclesiastes – also said to be one of few Shamanic passages to be found in the Bible. This too is a controversial statement, but on very close reading and contemplation we find the thread of ancient wisdom which runs through a multitude of cultures and traditions today.

These established words “To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” are one of the most deceptively simple pieces of prose, yet so profoundly important that I could not help but be guided to them this week. You see I had a plan on the direction of what I would be sharing, but this week I felt the message that I did not have all the information yet and needed to wait until such time as I did.

From a Buddhist perspective it is referred to as ‘the causes and conditions’ of life. It is similar to baking a cake and not having all the ingredients, we can put our best efforts in, but still if something vital is missing the cake will just not taste or look the same and we could spend all that kitchen time for a runny muddled chocolatey mess in a pan that lands up in the trash after much unnecessary frustration.

Or planting a seed and expecting it to grow and flourish without sunlight or water or the correct soil – if just one of these key components is missing then the seedling won’t make it very far, if at all.

To be honest, it is a beautiful and frustrating process happening simultaneously. Supposedly sitting down to bring thoughts to life, yet when the time comes being absolutely stumped and blank as a button. Starting a journey and realising a piece of the map is missing. Or worse yet – NOT REALISING that something is missing and pushing on.

The struggle, strain, stress and endless effort of trying to force things can be to our detriment, physically, psychologically and emotionally. We start to beat and bully ourselves with all sorts of negative self-talk about how we can’t make things happen, how useless we are, how we are not enough, we compare ourselves to others and basically do a pretty good job of stripping our self-esteem to limp threads.

If we could only stop in those moments, and ask do I have everything I need that will get me where I want to go. Do I have all the resources to make this dream happen? Do I have all the information I need to make an informed decision?

You see King Solomon was onto something huge when he asked for an understanding and discerning mind. That is possibly THE most powerful asset of all – the state of our mind. We can only know through the intellect that if we pick and eat a fruit before it is ripe it can make us very ill. Timing is everything, if it is too ripe then that too can make us ill. Only discernment – and a fair amount of experience – will allow us to know the right time to act.

We need to understand who people are before we go into battle with them, or ask favours of them. We need to discern if some are worth our time and hearts. Mostly we also need to know and understand ourselves if we are to then handle the disappointments and hurts that come with not acting consciously and with all the pieces in place.

I understand that the ‘waiting’ for the right causes and conditions can be a frustrating process in itself. And by waiting I am not suggesting passive, inactive complacency.  Waiting is not bad in and of itself, however it is the attitude we take when waiting that can make all the difference. While waiting we keep our mind active and set on our purpose, goal or result. We do the research, make sure we have all our pieces and ingredients together and ready for the right moment to arrive.

We also need to not be foolish about our dreams and desires. If we are a 5-foot middle aged woman we probably will not be striding down international catwalks in our future. If we are just sitting in our bedrooms everyday dreaming that Mr Right will automatically know our address and show up at our doorstep, then we need to think again.

Some things are just not meant to be and will not happen no matter how much waiting, pursuing or pouting we do. We cannot waste the time we have with pursuit of unrealistic and unattainable desires.

As for my week, the moment I surrendered a little and listened to the message of patience and timing, everything fell into place again – without any waiting at all actually. Perhaps next time I will save myself the irritation and exasperation of struggling to get the result I want when I want it and instead trust that everything will happen in its own time and in its own season.

Check out some of my other articles

What Does it Mean to be Spiritual? – The Uncoiled

A letter to Humanity: Letters To The Unseen. – The Uncoiled

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