Somewhere between what should ideally happen and what actually happens is where we live. Where we engage the practice of living.
Things don’t always happen like they should. Or like they could. I don’t have to tell anyone this, we all know it. But still, we find ourselves disappointed when things just seem like they don’t work.
We look around ourselves at the government, pop culture, at our own families and communities, at our own lives and say “Things shouldn’t work this way!” And we are right, in a way. Things shouldn’t work like they do. But they do because…
We are Learners
And this guarantees that things won’t be ideal. We don’t always do what we know we should. We don’t always understand our task. We let things from the past get in the way of things that are happening now. Things aren’t ideal because we don’t know the way. We are trying to find our way. And along that route is the “way things actually happen.” And that’s OK.
I write fiction. It would be ideal if I didn’t have to go to work and commute because then I could spend a lot of time writing. But what do I actually have? I have lunch hours and the weekend. And I practice making that work, because it’s what I have.
I also meditate regularly, but I find it difficult to be consistent. It would be ideal if I meditated a half hour (or more) in the morning and in the evening, but I can’t really find that time, and I don’t have a lot of practice sitting for that long. So I sit for 10 minutes a day consistently (and even then I have trouble). It’s what I have right now.
Work with What You Are Given
We don’t always have what we need and if we do, we are not always sure what to do with it. In this situation all you can do is work with what you have. Let go of the ideal and commit yourself to the space between the ideal and the actual. I don’t think you can exist anywhere else.
When you are in that space you can strive to bring things closer to what they could be, while actually dealing with what is. And this is all you can do.