145.(LV3-17)Our Universal Journey

外语2019-01-01 08:00:02 3083
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Publish Date: December 23, 2006

A cat with an "incurable" kind of cancer. A job that is always tenu-
ous. Human relationships that are fragile, unpredictable, and
sometimes tumultuous. My own body, seemingly healthy- but still
subject to disease, fatigue, and aging.
Life is unpredictable. However much we think we have a handle on
it, the truth is we never really know what's to come. Everything can
change in an instant. This is a tough truth to accept, for though we
know intellectually that all things in life are impermanent, we often
don't feel it instinctively. We persist in our attempts to control life-
we imagine that we can predict and manipulate future events. We
imagine that we control, or at least have a strong influence on,
external events.
But this is not really the case. In fact, all that worry, manipulation,
and attempted control is mostly wasted energy. We are not the mas-
ters of the external world. We cannot predict the future. Our best
laid plans are always subject to catastrophic failure.
There is no security to be found in the outside world. There is no
secure job, or relationship, or situation of any kind. Everything
changes. We can, conceivably, lose them all in the blink of an eye.
Where then is true security to be found? Certainly not in the external
world, but rather, internally.
"Trust yourself to react appropriately when catastrophe happens.
Failure of nerve is really failure to trust yourself." -- Alan Watts
This is the only true security- the security of trusting yourself, the
security of flexibility and adaptability, the security of spiritual and
emotional self-reliance. Rather than obsess over external events,
we better serve ourselves by obsessing over our inner resources.
Our security and happiness come from our inner peace-- our ability to
accept any situation, adapt to it, use it, learn from it, and (perhaps)
overcome it.
The more we do this, the more confident we grow and, in time, we
develop a true sense of security in our lives... one that is completely
independent of external circumstances. Practically, this implies that
our task is to seek out new experiences and build our capacity to
adapt to them. This is the reason I think of travel as a potentially
spiritual practice. Travel-- especially long, challenging journeys--
expands our ability to accept and adapt to the unexpected and the
unknown. This kind of travel is a concentrated training exercise in
impermanence and change.
Joseph Campbell, the famed mythologist, identified the common
thread running through the mythological journeys found in most cul-
tures. He noted that while these stories are always presented as
external journeys, they are in fact symbolic of the inner journey we
must all make.
In the end, we must all leave home (the safe and comfortable), we
must all face life-changing challenges, we must all face loss, and we
must all arrive at our own understanding of impermanence, and our
own wisdom. This is the universal journey.

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