Who Looks Within, Awakens
Many things in life are merely possibilities. But the fact that there will always be changes in our lives, whether we want them to be or not, is a certainty. Sometimes, we become so immersed in our interior worlds that we neglect to remember that, unless we create change in our lives, the changes that occur will be at the mercy of chance. It is not merely our minds that determine the choices we make. It is also the day-to-day actions that we take.
It is not that we necessarily want to complain about the circumstances we find ourselves in. Yet it can be easier to complain than to take definitive steps to alter our circumstances. When we let other people make decisions on our behalf, how often do we stop to ask ourselves, “How will this choice affect the rest of my life?”
While it is true that we oftentimes manage our lives at certain times better than we do at other times, the only way we can take complete responsibility for our lives is by making sure that we are the ones making all of our choices. For ultimately, we are the architects of our destiny. And when we use a blueprint that someone else has created, are not our lives then someone else’s rather than our own?
It has been said that life is a race that we must run. But might it not be better to look upon it as a palace or cathedral we must build? If we imagine that we are creating a masterpiece, will we not be more careful of the choices we make?
Life oftentimes does respond to us at the level of our expectations. And when we expect little of ourselves, this may well be reflected in the results we get from both our words and our deeds. It is better to aim high than low. For as Michelangelo once said, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
How much easier it can seem to be a passive bystander, observing life while events take place that affect us but which we have not actively brought about! When we assume this role, we are able to blame our unhappiness and dissatisfaction on the actions of others rather than on ourselves. Yet, in not accepting full responsibility for what happens to us, we must also accept that we are powerless to change our circumstances. Thus, in absolving ourselves of the obligation to change our own lives, we become no more effective at controlling our fate than a ship tossed about on the ocean waves. And this sense of helplessness will inevitably cause us to resent those who do take an active role in creating lives of significance.
An architect who begins planning to build a cathedral knows that leaving the intricacies of his task in the hands of others will have a direct bearing on the final result. But because we treat our lives so much more carelessly than an artist treats his work, we give others permission to pull us this way and that. As a result, we are often steered in a direction that is completely opposite to that in which we wish to go.
It seems that many of us fear change to such an extent that we would rather evade the reality of change by letting others make choices for us than have to cope with the consequences of the changes that are brought about by ourselves. Of what benefit is life though if we are merely putty in the hands of chance? Would an architect accept responsibility for work he didn’t do? And if he wouldn’t, why do we accept responsibility for a life we haven’t lived?
Perhaps, life never seems as if it is long enough—just as it seems there are not enough hours in each day to accomplish what we want to achieve. But until we make the most of what we have, why do we imagine we will be given more? When we squander time on that which is not important or squander our kindness and affection upon those who do not appreciate it, is it any wonder that we feel empty and discontented?
In order to build a cathedral from our life, we must use discernment. We must be able to discriminate between the relevant and the irrelevant. And we must learn and remember that, until we look within ourselves, all the answers we get from the outside world will be of no benefit to us.
In the words of Carl Jung, “Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks within, awakens.” Dreams can inspire us. But as long as we merely dream, we will be left with a series of unfulfilled wishes. On the other hand, if we awaken and take action, we give ourselves all that we need to bring our dreams into reality.
For not only do we see ourselves as we are. We also see the rest of the world as it is. Our perspective is no longer clouded by our needs and desires which alter everything about how we perceive the world. Rather, we are given the opportunity to step outside the constraints our own egos put upon us and expand our vision to include that which transcends us. And once we transcend ourselves, we have awakened.
In an awakened state, change becomes something to embrace rather than to run from. It loses its ability to evoke fear and can be seen as an opportunity for self-discovery. Rather than that which intercepts or thwarts the building of our lives, it opens up windows of wondrous possibilities.
Peace, love, and joy,
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This page and all written material at My Odyssey is written by Sascha Norris. (C) Copyright by Sascha Norris. All Rights Reserved.