Life Is What Happens to You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

This famous saying from John Lennon reflects a paradox in our lives. Many of us would like to have a peaceful ride, enjoy the present moment, yet we can’t help but make future plans so we feel secure, or we spend time digging on past hurts. Lennon doesn’t say we shouldn’t make plans, but that the true experience of being alive is beyond those plans, and “happens” to us.

At first view, this seems to negate any personal will, since the right answer to life would be to embrace it instead of trying to direct it, but it might just be that free will should be redirected from the content of our lives to its approach: Instead of using our free will to decide what should come next, we’d use it to choose between ego or letting go, between a life ruled by our mind or a life in tune with a higher intelligence. For most people, this higher intelligence only seems to manifest when their life flows: important meetings happen, synchronicities lead to a new path and something mysterious seems to be pulling the strings. The willingness to not resist whatever life is putting on the road determines how long the ride will last. Then, one day, the ego-mind takes back its throne, doubt arises and the magical path vanishes. Guidance seems no longer there.

To stay on the path we must trust, live in the present, and let go of fear. In other words, behaviors we have not been taught growing up, so deconditioning is necessary. Learned behaviors are often a source of false security and self-limitation. Unfortunately, any mind work on deconditioning will only take us so far: “you cannot remove a thorn with a thorn” as the Buddhists say. The ego-mind will always fight its way to the director seat, reverting to its lower patterns as soon as it is threaten by change. To get rid of the ego is impossible, to put it as a servant of this higher intelligence is the answer.

Trust is the first step: Faith is beyond the ego-mind. By trusting something unknown, limitless and wise, you jump over the illusory self-limitations of the mind, hence opening the door to higher guidance and purpose. The place you create from is no longer the result of years of self-definition but the unlimited potential this higher intelligence has in reserve for you. So co-creation happens at a different level: not the level where your thoughts create your reality but the level where your alignment with the higher intelligence of your life allows you to receive its energy. What you manifest then is no longer the fruit of an illusion, the product of something as fleeting as the mind. You manifest from the higher intent behind your life. True purpose lies outside of the ego-mind’s grasp.

Living in the present is a necessary condition for this higher intelligence to manifest. Calling on past experiences to evaluate something only brings more mind in and ego tries to direct the game again. Wondering about the future makes us want to control it. To live in the present means to not resist life’s experiences, even the painful ones. The wisdom behind most spiritual practices is to see pain as a teacher of letting go. Whether it is the pain of sitting in meditation, of constant thinking or of emotional upheaval, the realization that these pains disappear in an awakened state of consciousness is a perfect training ground for daily life.

As we develop this simple awareness of the present moment and the willingness to experience life without the veil of mind, our fears evaporate. We go from the realm of ego to the realm of being, we surrender to the music and we become the dance. Life happens.

Sophie Rose is a spiritual counselor and the author of The Way of The Heart, Teachings of Jeshua and Mary Magdalene, 2012 National Indie Excellence Award Finalist. She is a contributing author of The Sacred Shift, Co-Creating your Future.  Sophie is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition and has always favored a direct experience of spirituality. She can be contacted through






Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

69 Responses to Life Is What Happens to You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans

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    I’m not sure I agree with this interpretation: I’ve always understood it as things happening to us when we’re unprepared for them. This #CCPVIRUS is a perfect example: we’ve planned to do this, that or the other, but the virus has scuppered many of those plans.

    This, from “Sunscreen”, is a perfect example:

    Don’t worry about the future
    Or worry, but know that worrying
    Is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing Bubble gum
    The real troubles in your life
    Are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind
    The kind that blindsides you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday

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    Thank for the message on these words. However, John Lennon is not the author of this quote. Yes, he used it in a song but the original was published in 1957 by Allen Saunders when Lennon was 17. See the article in the Huffington Post – “Life is what happens when we are not checking facts”

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