When our lives begin to fall into a certain pattern, what we sometimes are completely unaware of is that it is life that is responding to us in a certain way. In even the most fundamental laws of nature, there is the law of cause and effect. And when we look at the effect while paying little or no heed to the cause, we will be faced with challenges that oftentimes seem overwhelming.
There is much debate over whether chaos or order lays at the roots of life. As Santayana points out in Life in Reason, while the naturalists are determined that chaos is at the beginning of things, the dialecticians insist that order is instead. In actuality, there is no right or wrong answer for the issue is irrelevant in this point in time
What is important is to keep in mind that some order is needed in our lives. Thus, we are able to lend some structure and purpose to our existence. This does not mean that we cannot live freely and spontaneously.
In many ways, order is actually the product of chaos. It is simply chaos that has been structured in a way that is creative and effective. Although chaos and order seem as if they are polar opposites, they are two sides of the same coin. And when you get to the point in time where you can bring order from chaos and, at the same time, lend spontaneity to structure, you will see your life transform in a multitude of ways.
The effect of an abundance of inner chaos will usually manifest itself as frustration, tension, and fear. Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “One must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star.” But the stars that chaos gives birth to often burn so brightly that they are consumed by their own fire.
The candle that burns at both ends brings little benefit to those who are dependent on its light. Likewise, the life that is ruled by chaos will lack the endurance that brings to it a true and lasting purpose. Although the only things that we have complete control over in our lives are our thoughts, they also end up creating the circumstances in our lives. This is because our thoughts control our actions.
We are not at the mercy of Fate or unseen forces. Rather we are the designers of our lives. And the patterns that emerge are embroidered first by our thoughts, then by our actions.
When a pattern that emerges does not match up with our desires, rather than focusing on that pattern, we need to look at which thoughts and actions created that pattern. For patterns will never be broken or created by looking at the pattern itself. The pattern is only the effect of a cause that resides within ourselves.
Thus, we must change our thoughts first. And we must also be willing to let go of the idea that we understand ourselves and our reasons for making the choices we make. For whenever we imagine that we possess more knowledge of anything than we do, we will begin to respond to life from a place of ignorance and pride.
It is always better to underestimate one’s knowledge, even at the risk of seeming ignorant, than it is to go through life needing to be ‘right’ and to have all the answers. The true solutions to life will never reach those who believe they have already discovered them. This does not mean that ignorance is bliss. Rather, it is an opportunity for self-growth. So many of us look towards life as a series of challenges. But if we were more willing to challenge ourselves, the challenges that life presents us with would seem less like hurdles to overcome and more like experiences to learn from.
Often, the reason that we find life so difficult is not because it is but because we are resisting our ability to move with it. We may know that the only way to adapt to life is by embracing change. Yet as long as we believe that we can escape change, we will have no incentive to break out of our current pattern.
Patterns seem to assure us that we are safe—that the harshness of the world will not affect us. For, as long as we adhere to rituals and continue engaging in specific habits, we will convince ourselves that everything is in order, even if we are experiencing inner chaos. The world has tried to teach us that pushing forward and carrying on with life is the best way to live.
It encourages us to repress our true thoughts and feelings and to think and act in a certain way. When life does not bring us the happiness we feel we deserve, we are told that we cannot expect anything more than what we have. And as long as we listen to the untruths we are told by society and by others, life will bring to us exactly what we expect.
For the patterns that we see are merely a response to the choices we have made. Our lives are merely the canvas. We are the ones who choose the paints, the brushes, and the style in which we paint.
When we adopt this perspective towards life, the future has no power to instill fear in us. We do not have to continue to live with anxiety over what tomorrow will bring. Rather, we are able to live each day with the consciousness that whatever circumstances come into our lives, we will not merely survive them. We will transcend them.
Peace, Love, and Joy,
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This page and all written material at My Odyssey is written by Sascha Norris (C) Copyright 2010 by Sascha Norris. All Rights Reserved