A man sat next to me…

On my way to Dubai last week I sat next to a man who engaged me in conversation. He was on his way to be interviewed as a pilot for Emirates and currently worked for Ryanair. He was very talkative and this created a conflict for me since it was a flight of only 7 hours and we would be arriving at 7am at which point I would be then due to do a full day’s work. I did not want to be rude or hurt his feelings but I didneeded to work. This is not an unfamiliar conflict for me since my Sagittarian personality does not want to get tied down or trapped talking to people whilst my Cancer moon does not want to feel that I have hurt someone’s feelings. In this  instance I resisted engaging much beyond fairly superficial small talk and then tried to go to sleep at an opportune  moment when he was distracted by the cabin crew.  I did not sleep much and resumed our conversation for the last part of the flight. We parted on good terms having chatted whilst we went through customs.  Yet in my heart I knew I had humoured him without fully engaging with him.

Musing on my plans for my return flight I was thinking about how I would spend some time sleeping and then working on admin tasks that I needed to complete that day before going on holiday the following day. The next thing I knew there was a tap on my shoulder and my friend from the previous flight was there. We chatted on the bus and as we went up the steps my mind was wondering and speculating furiously on whether Life was going to place us together. However, I strongly suspected I knew the answer. What’s your seat number he asked me, I replied that it was 2B. With obvious pleasure he responded that he was in 2A. With some resignation I realised that Life had shifted the tables on me and all my plans to get ahead that day were going to go into abeyance. We chatted in our previous somewhat superficial way for some 20 mins and then I realised that I was going to have to really engage in the conversation. I did so and we began to discuss his relationships with which he was having a lot of problems. I was also able to do his chart, he turned out to be a Gemini with Sun trine Jupiter which was no great surprise for a pilot. Part of his problem was that he kept attracting girlfriends who is his mind kept turning out to be very jealous possesive and irrational. As we worked at this and knowing that he has Venus rising in Taurus opposite Pluto in Scorpio on the descendant with Saturn also in the seventh house in Scorpio. What he began to appreciate was that he was equally jealous and possesive and that whilst he accused his girlfriends of giving completely mixed messages which were unintelligible, they might equally accuse him of the same thing.  We looked at the charts of the two main women he had been involved with and even I, as a seasoned astrologer, was stunned by the similarities between their charts. We were talking about the black hole of feeling that the grass was greener. He began to see that he could choose as many girlfriends as he liked but he wasn’t going to escape the issues that were inherent in his own nature and fate (something the chart describes beautifully). He was currently contemplating a relatioinship with someone who was with someone else. She was telling him that her current boyfriend was awful and she hated him. His concern in relationships was that he ended up getting very suspicious and hated game playing. I did point out that if he got together with a girlfriend that was already lining up her next relationship and hating her current boyfriend, he would then be the inccumbent boyfriend and it might be wise to expect to feel paranoid and suspicious. We also talked about the value of starting and ending situations cleanly. He recognised he tended to go for women who were unavailable but then the relationship ended because they were suspicious of him and he of them. I realised that he had never been taughht about relationships. He said that most of his friends and colleagues told him that women were just irrational and messed your head up. He was amazed to understand that he could exercise some choice over his relationships, if only to learn how to inhibit the more negative instincts.

The learning here for me was about our reistance to the agenda of our lives. In this instance on both flights, I was convinced that I knew what the agenda was for my flight. Look, I have someone who needs input from you about relationships Life said. I’m sorry it’s not on my agenda i replied. Yes it really is Life responded and I’ve got work for you. In engaging fully with this man rather than resisting my concerns about being trapped disappeared and the time flew by. At a naturalpoint we both decided to sleep and I slept  soundly for 3 hours. When I got home my wife had kindly packed for me and I had time to finish my urgent admin.   The Great Way Is Not Difficult For Those Who Have No Preferences Hsin Hsin Ming says in The Book Of Nothing. Many people assume that this means that we adopt a passive attitude to Life living a life of bliss and laid back harmony but this is a preference of course. What it really means is that we have no resistance to the agenda that life sets for us. Sometimes our agenda is very difficult and the opposite of what we might choose for ourself. This had been a factor in the programme we had just run where  the participants were consistently frustrated that their circumstances did not meet the criteria for how they felt their lives should be progressing yet for each they were engaged in a power battle with Life trying to change these circumstances. With a number of them they found themselves back in the same place having tried to change jobs, countries, bosses only to find themselves back in the same black hole that they thought they were escaping.  Interestingly most of us can recognise the value of what we are really learning many years later when we look back and realise what valuable lessons we learnt. Yet I do not believe we need to wait until many years after th event to see the value or learning of our actual agenda, indeed seeing it at the time considerably eases the process, if it doesn’t eradicate the difficulty or pain.

Just to make sure that I got the lesson, Life prepared a number of examinations for us on our holiday, a 3 hour delay which lasted long enough to prevent me being able to get there in time to watch the England rugby match I had planned to get there in time to see. On our first day skiing the boots that we had bought for our daughter India at some expense were so uncomfortable she was in tears and throwing tantrums saying she wanted to give up on them and go home. I failed spectacularly to adjust to my new curriculum and threw a big tantrum, trying to cling to my curriculum of being on holiday and going skiing for the day. Having apologised and suffered the regret of having hurt my daughter, I realised that my relationship with my daughter was more important than my attachment to my idea of the skiing holiday.  The next day, having adjusted my mind to the idea that the day might be about boot problems or anything but skiing, I was not surprised to find that my knee was now so painful I could barely ski. I decided to go with it and adjust my expectations to ski carefully within my capabilities. It turned out to be a beautiful day where we all skied together and India had no problems with my boots.

So why is it important to adjust to the demands of Life? Religion has created a sense that we should do so, that it is a question of good and bad, somewhat like a cosmic school with points for good behaviour. Indeed the incentive is often some future reward in the form of a heaven and hell. Yet is this notion worthwhile with its message of conformity? It somehow does not feel satisfying either to be a self satisfied do gooder conforming to the rules like avoiding stepping on pavement cracks in case we get into trouble with a super parent or a supertitious conformer dominated by fears of retribution.  In the end I gave up my resistance in each case because it hurt my own heart not to do so. Perhaps it is in our own interests to do so: an enlightened self-interest. I did not act in either case because I thought that it would lead to a postive outcome or some reward but beacause I was uncomfortable with my own behaviour, the outcome could have been disastrous but I would have been comfortable in my heart with my response.


1 Comment

Filed under On Life the Universe and Everything

One response to “A man sat next to me…

  1. This is so real. Thanks Nick.

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