Stunned by the daily headlines, listening to the dirge that passes as the nightly news, watching the world being destroyed by mad men and an angry mother nature… how do we find love and light in an increasingly distraught world?
It has been the topic of passionate conversation between my husband and me, both of us having written essays about the quest for clarity to help us find balance and sanguinity as we face the future. Here are some of the conclusions we found helpful.
First, focus on the life-occurrences you can control, using the word in its narrowest context, i.e., when the power to decide a happenstance is yours. Sharing precedence is the corollary, do not spend undue time on what you cannot control, such as the behavior of others; dwelling on ‘what if’ and ‘if only;’ and obsessing on what happened in the past or what may happen in the future.
It’s not as artless as simply finding the current and swimming in the same direction. The popular expression from the hippy ‘60’s, “go with the flow,” is too glib to be the end all. We can join in the effort to effect change by protesting, marching for what we believe is right, using our spending power in support of merchant allies, but for most of us when the day is done and the kids are waiting at day care, the lawn needs mowing and we’re looking forward to the new season of “West World,” it’s time to let go of outcome.
Too often we strive to be in control as if we are gunning for an A-grade on a college course or a graduation diploma that says we’ve completed a curriculum that certifies we’re an expert on living a happy life. Of course this pursuit creates stress, not peace. It creates an environment that puts the emphasis on the result we demand rather than the unexpected discoveries that surprise us when we accept the realities of what is.
The path to clarity about life and one’s place within it, is our grand journey. But focusing on the construct of our own making prompts us to think in linear terms, as if there were two markers – the start and the end – and everything in between is merely struggle to achieve… a grand journey turned into a long grind.
The ideal as an aspiration is admirable, but not achievable.
A reasonable expectation is to set short term objectives and long term goals. That’s a program more apt to lead to where we want to be, fighting for moral certitude at a doable pace, small steps leading to long strides and a growing intelligence replacing the ignorance that prevails.
There are twists and turns to every worthwhile endeavor, and we can be sure that misfortune will greet us along the way. But often, adversity yields opportunity as we meet the misfortune with options that turn out in our favor.
Be it personal, professional or spiritual, fulfillment comes when the journey absorbs the quest. Short of being a hallowed guru or revered, personified reflection of spiritual purity, our happiness is determined by the discoveries made as we follow our own path within the flow of life itself.
Clarity – and contentment – comes with recognition that in a universe of one hundred billion galaxies there is no mastery, only mystery. Do your best to create a healthy loving environment and trust that this is the setting that will light your way.