Consciousness works by making maps, and there is always a gap between our maps and the territory of our lives. A surprise is a landscape feature that was not on my map. Surprises are common and an indication you are alive. Our representations are fragile and based on poor data. The mind assigns value to events, saying, “This is good” and “This is bad,” but the values we give things are usually just arm-waving and scrambling about. The world is truly unpredictable in its consequences and our reactions to events are also unpredictable, even if we have a deep meditation practice.
We can make an ally of surprise. Meditation methods are not intended to make the world predictable, but they provide a space in which we can have our reactions without fighting with ourselves. And in the end, meditation resets the maps and opinions to zero. When we meditate, there is nothing else in the world, and whatever we have is enough.
John Tarrant, 7 Ways to Make the Most of Life’s Surprises.