We want life to be perfect, but it is not perfect. It is imperfect, ragged, unfinished. It never seems to be the way we want it to be.

Life resists our expectations and our need for control. Sometimes it appears inscrutable, even disorderly. It isn’t really, but its meaning and order are often subtle, hidden, slow to reveal themselves.

Its order is not our order. What it seems to offer does not seem to match what we want. And we are impatient. We want to impose our order, our will. We want our expectations met, now!

"Get off it," life is constantly telling us. "No matter how hard you try, you aren’t going to get what you want when you want it." Life is constantly asking us to make adjustments, to give up our agenda. It is asking us to give up the conceit that we know the way things are supposed to be.

"Just let things be the way they are," it tells us, "and you will take the first step in the dance."

Letting things be is a way of saying to God: "I’m willing to dance with you. You aren’t a perfect God and you don’t fulfill my fantasies or meet my expectations, but I can accept your reality the way it is."

If you have a life partner, you probably say the same thing to him or her.
You join in the dance, imperfect as it is.

You allow the raggedness of life to be what it is. You allow for the possibility that order will emerge in its own good time. You stop trying to force life to meet your terms and conditions.

You say: "It’s good enough as it is. It is acceptable just the way it is right here, right now." That’s the moment of surrender, when you stop trying to control life, when you get off your ego trip.

Taoists know that when you let life be, it is thoroughly magnificent. The Taoist says: "Give up the fight. Surrender to what is. Jump in the river and let the current take you. If you must swim, swim with the current, not against it. Don’t oppose life. Work with it."

When people ask you how things are, just tell them, "Life is bizarre and unpredictable, but I’m working with it." You don’t have to agree with life to be present in it. You don’t have to agree with God, or your partner, or your parents, or the Dow Jones average to be a happy player.

A happy player just plays because playing itself is the magic. Each moment is a chance to play happily. Can you play happily, even though life isn’t showing up the way you want it to?

Job lost his family, his possessions and his health, but he still said, "I’m hanging in there, God, even though you sure are trying my patience." God rewarded Job, not because he was obedient, but because he was patient. Give life time to reveal itself and it eventually does.

The meaning is always there, but you don’t always see it when you want to. When you surrender, that’s when the meaning becomes clear to you. When you let go, then you see the gift God wants to give you.

There is always a gift being offered you, because life is inner perfection revealing itself gradually in form. You just have a hard time seeing the nature of that perfection, because it doesn’t match your immediate wants and expectations.

Consciousness is always in a crisis of faith. It knows that something hidden is revealing itself, but it can’t see it, or hear it, or taste it. Faith means knowing the gift is there even when it is intangible.

Faith, patience and humor are the ingredients of a great dance.

Faith is a gesture of consciousness. It is not an existential reality.

One person may have faith and another may not. One person may surrender and another may seek to control. But the truth for each is the same: Try to control and you lose control. Trust and you come into alignment with the Greater Will.

Do you want to dance the great dance – or not?

If not, rest assured it’s okay. You aren’t going to be punished. You can join the dance whenever you are ready. God gave you plenty of time to make up your mind. There’s no rush.

Because the dancers are imperfect, the dance appears awkward at times. But when the dancers forget about their imperfections and surrender to the dance, it has an unexpected grace.

At times, it is luminous.

That’s what happens when we surrender our little will to the greater will. That’s what happens when we forget who we are as separate entities and become dancers in the dance.

We could not achieve this grace if we were trying to obtain it. Thank God for hiding it in the dance where we can discover it, but we can’t tamper with it.

As Rumi said, the door that separates the two worlds is round. Life is a circle. Sometimes you are in it, and sometimes you are outside it, but it doesn’t matter. No matter how many times you decline the invitation, the circle keeps spinning around. The opportunity to dance the great dance keeps presenting itself.

And one day – in a moment of inspiration or forgetfulness – you will take the hand outstretched toward you. And nothing will ever be the same!

Has anyone asked you to dance like this?

Can you be completely one with me
and still come back to yourself?

Can you live in our surrender
and carry it back and forth
between the world of time
and the world where time does not exist?

Can you live on the undefended edge,
where the breezes of love blow
not just for a day or a month or a year,
but for an eternity?

Can you be defined by that wave
into which our two waves merge?
Can you live in its trajectory
and die in its embrace?

Others have asked you to dance,
but has anyone asked you to dance like this?

With or without bodies, it does not matter!

Will you be all that you are in its fullness
and let yourself spill over into me?
Will you harvest your tears with mine
and water the ground with them?

Will you bring me into the secret caves
of your doubts and your fears,
allowing the moonlight to guide us
through the snowy woods?

You have come to me from deep waters,
ascending from the center of the circle.

Now as I dance, moving around the circle
from one partner to the next,
I once again await the depth of your eyes
and the electricity of your hand.

But I am lucky that the dance ends
before we come face to face.
I know when that moment comes
I will be lost forever, and so will you!

You see, I am not just the one
who comes to you in the dance.
Rumi says: "Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along."

Do you recognize me now?
Rumi says: "Gone inner and outer,
no moon, no ground or sky."
Has anyone asked you to dance like this?

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Paul Ferrini is the author of 32 books on love, healing and forgiveness. The above article was adapted from his latest book entitled The Presence of Love which will be available in stores in March, 2006. PaulÕs work has been translated into numerous languages and his transformational workshops have touched the hearts of people all over the world. For more information about PaulÕs books and his inspirational Easter Retreat on April 14-17, visit www.paulferrini.com or call 1 (888) HARTWAY. Copyright © 2006 Paul Ferrini. All rights reserved

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