Most of us know the basics of taking a good photograph. We aim, click, and shoot, and if we’re lucky (or if we have an eye for composure), we end up with a pretty good picture.
Three things are obvious when we go to capture the perfect moment on film. First, we determine our subject, the focus of the photograph. Second, we can’t be in complete darkness, or our subject won’t show up. Finally, we can’t be in blinding light, or our subject will be washed out.
It’s only through the contrast and balance of light and dark that we’re able to see what’s really there. Without the dark, we won’t have highlights. Without the light, we won’t have shadows.
These two seemingly separate elements of light and dark really aren’t separate at all. One is a necessary part of the definition of the other. Despite the belief that light and dark are two unconnected, fixed components, the reality is that they are two sides of the same thing.
The same is true for a plethora of other things in life, including many of the conditions that make for the human experience. Joy and sorrow, love and fear, and desire and lack are just some examples of opposite yet necessary halves that make a whole.
And it is in understanding this balance that we can understand desire and lack and how the contrast can bring us from a place of wanting to a place of having.
Contrast is essential to choice. When we make a decision or form an intention to have or be something, we almost always do so because we’re in a place in which the opposite is the state of our present reality. For example, when we desire to have more money, it’s usually because our current experience doesn’t allow for us to feel as prosperous as we think we need to feel in order to be happy. When we desire to fall in love, it’s because our current experience doesn’t allow for us to feel as loved as we think we need to feel in order to be happy. Happiness is the underlying cause of any authentic (rather than ego-based) desire, and only when you define what happiness means for you are you able to start creating your reality from the vantage point of joy, rather than lack of joy.
It is through exposure to life experiences that our desires are born. If you do not have the experiences to know what you don’t want, you won’t be able to define what you do want.
The moment your preferences are born, you will begin to live with the intent of bringing them into your experience. Anything that occurs that is not in alignment with your intent will come in the form of resistance, and anything that occurs that is in alignment with your intent will come into your life with a natural flow of abundance.
That’s what is meant by the phrase “go with the flow.”
Pretend for a minute that your professional intention in life is to become a chef. You’ve earned a culinary degree but, for some reason or another, find yourself working as a temp entering data at a law firm. You don’t know anything or particularly care about the legality of the world— you just want to arrange purple fingerling potatoes on a plate in a visually appealing way and call it a day. You sit at your desk, day after day, dreaming about purple fingerling potatoes. One day, you open an email from your supervisor that contains details for a company holiday party at a local, five-star restaurant, and even though you’re a lowly temp, you’re invited. So you go.
At the restaurant, you are seated at a long table with your coworkers. There is talk about a changing budget and room for professional development. “We’ll be accepting applications for management, and we’re hiring from within,” your boss says. “Anyone is welcome to apply.”
(Do law firms hire management, or just lawyers? I don’t know. I don’t know or particularly care about the legality of the world— I just want to arrange black words on white paper in a mentally stimulating way and call it a day.)
But there you are, seated at the restaurant with your paperwork-loving coworkers, when your boss drops this information. There is a murmur of excitement from the people sitting near you. All of them plan to apply for a higher position, and eagerly begin to talk about it amongst themselves.
If your professional intention was to become a manager (lawyer?) at the law firm, you’d just as quickly join in the conversation. But now from the kitchen come the waiters, and on their trays are sizzling rib eyes, served beside a heap of gorgeous purple potatoes. As an entree is placed before you, all you can think about is that plating. My God, it’s fantastic! All the talk about the coveted, newly created positions become background noise.
This is where this story becomes a choose-your-own-adventure. Should you go to work the next day and enter your data as the robot you’ve become, you’re choosing lack. You don’t feel good as you sit at your desk because you experience resistance. What you are doing does not fulfill you, so you push up against it mentally and feel the effects emotionally.
However, should you return to the restaurant the next day and ask one of those waiters if they happen to be hiring kitchen staff, you’ve moved into a state of allowing your experience to become a flow.
As you pay attention to the way you feel and continue to choose good-feeling thoughts and experiences regarding your preference, you stay aligned with it. Gently but surely, it will become the whole of your reality, and you will move into a state of the realization of your desire.
Of course, when one desire is fulfilled, a new one is born from it, but in consciously choosing to act from a heightened perspective— one that goes with the flow instead of resisting it— we are able to live to our fullest potential. New desires naturally create contrasting factors, but these are the factors that allow us personal evolution and ultimately, transformation.
The next time you feel emotional resistance to some area of your life, ask yourself why you experience bad feelings about it. What is the opposite of your situation? Do you prefer that instead?
Move forward with a clear intention of what it is you desire. Let your focus become your subject, and make it so large that the little camera in your head can’t help but capture it.
Adjust your balance and your contrast as you move toward that moment in which you’ll attain it, and then…
Aim, click, shoot.