It is interesting to me that today, sorting old books with my father as we tidy a house of almost 30 years’ worth of accumulation, we have a moment of unconsciously shared intention and activity not brought about by hasty necessity.
As I accept stacks of books from him, packing them away into old cardboard Poland Spring boxes, I idly consider:
Did he feel any nostalgia at the items we were discarding or preparing to gift or sell, attachment to things that have laid undisturbed for years, some for decades? I felt almost a vicarious imaged nostalgia on his behalf, wondering if some part of him—and all people who live an unconscious life of passive possession accumulation—accumulate “things” as an unconscious ward against the realization that upon death all possessions lose their meaning. That most of us leave the earthly plane without having much consciously affected it, and that of those few who do leave a ripple—their achievements smoothly pass from memory to legend and legend into oblivion. If that seems bleak—I’ve been reading Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations as of late.
Wondered at the series of circumstances and decisions that led him here: needing exterior impetus to do almost anything; slave to his emotions; his chosen inspiration a vision of a life he works at but proves hollow sporadically through action. This apparent hypocrisy is one I’ll always remember as a cautionary tale. It’s probably why I have such a strong orientation and conviction toward full congruence and internal integrity. The feeling that I absolutely must practice what I preach. Above all to live the life I want by example, to “let my life be my message”, to paraphrase my virtual mentors.
Felt gratitude that despite all I’ve learned from him (and to be fair, from culture and society and those who hate themselves), I’ve still—somehow, amazingly—managed to stumble upon a better path and pursue it. By “better” I specifically mean a mindset that leads me toward fulfillment and openness and a life lived from love, rather than one from fear and constriction and insecurity. The latter is the life sadly lived—endured?—by anyone who’s been in an unhappy, unsatisfying, unfulfilling relationship of any sort. That kind of unsatisfying relationship is draining. Slow but soul-crushing, as a river weathers and erodes granite. Having been there, I had my fill and want never again to suffer it. My standard now is relationship with those already–or leaning toward–opening and living from love. Nothing less, because I’ve learned to respect myself too much for that.
I don’t doubt my past has set me up for a potentially higher degree of gains in areas that I lacked growing up. Social skills, self-love, non-neediness, unattachment, compassion, patience, confidence—the capacity for an authentic, deep and abiding love for myself, others and the world.
In the last few years as I began to open my eyes to what I really sought at heart, I began to notice that almost everything in my life from the activities I pursued to the dissatisfaction I felt was unconsciously in pursuit of fixing the part of myself that was not in touch with love. My deep and unconscious desire influenced every single thing I did—just as yours influence your life, just as the desires of bitter man and woman seep out from their wounded hearts and taint the lives around them. If you’re aware of this you’re better able to avoid corruption.
I see the idea of unconscious pursuit of hidden desires in wisdom through the ages: by James Allen in all of As a Man Thinketh:
As a man thinketh, so his heart will be.
The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors; that which it loves, and also that which it fears; it reaches the height of its cherished aspirations; it falls to the level of its unchastened desires—and circumstances are the means by which the soul receives its own.
By Marcus Aurelius in Meditations:
The soul becomes dyed by the color of its thoughts.
By Kamal Ravikant in Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It:
What we believe, that’s what we seek, it’s the filter we view our lives through.
If you had a thought once, it has no power over you. Repeat it again and again, especially with emotional intensity, feeling it, and over time, you’re creating the grooves, the mental river. Then it controls you.
And most people have heard this from Aristotle, even if they think no further than the surface meaning:
We are what we repeatedly do.
While I don’t have a stance yet on whether identity (“we are”) is tied to action repeated, I know—have come to experience—that at least my character, personality and mind are shaped by that which I’ve repeatedly done, consciously or not. As a conscious tool, this is powerful.
I felt a deep sense of peace at the realization that with my actions I move ever further from the prison of reactivity and closer toward the freedom of abundance.
Freedom from resentment, reactivity, entitlement, righteousness, indignation, toxicity, negativity, things that close us off.
Freedom from insecurity.
Insecurity: That’s the sentiment I hear nowadays when I hear people talk about their fears. I mentally replace the word “fear” with “insecurity” and in almost every case I then feel a spark of truth.
In my ideal life, I am my most bold and playful self, free from insecurity and grounded in abundance and inspiration.