Chapter Two: "Grip"
Updated: Aug 8
"Even the Pope looks both ways before crossing the street."
Am I on the path I’m supposed to be on?
What is my purpose in life?
How do I know I’ve made the right decisions?
Well the answer to all of these questions is, ‘who knows.’
And that’s not supposed to be disappointing, but exciting.
Because a known future is already the past.
And time works backwards.
To better understand this, we need to question, why is it that we spend hours watching athletic events, wanting our teams to win, when we can just tune in at the end and find out the results?
There’s two reasons.
First is the fact that winning or losing is not the point.
The point is how you play the game.
That’s why we care enough to find out who won.
Because the activity thrills us.
Otherwise, what exactly is our ‘net gain’ from knowing who won?
So then, it is the activity, and not the result, that makes us care about something.
So to speak, what is the point of a dance? Is it the beginning? Middle? Or the end?
If it’s about getting to the end, then the fastest dancers would be considered the best.
The point of the dance is the dance.
Secondly. The whole point of life is not knowing.
We do not know whether today will be our last day, or what fortune or misfortune may befall us, and it is this not knowing which makes life fun.
Because again, if we knew the future, it would already be the past.
Now then why do questions such as ‘am I going in the right direction in life’ haunt us?
It is because we desire.
We desire favorable ends. Favorable to us that is.
And of course just how there can not be an outstanding without an in-standing, there cannot be an favorable end without the probability of an unfavorable end.
If I were to ask you, ‘how are you feeling today?’ you would take a moment to think and probably answer ‘pretty good, thank you for asking.’
And now the reason why you feel this way is because way back, all the way back in the back of your head, there is something horrible that simply mustn’t happen.
And so in relation to that, you feel fairly alright.
And just that way, when you wonder about whether or not you are going in the right direction in life, it is because you are afraid that you might end up in the bad place. In the place where you simply must not end up.
And this fear is used as the incentive to ensure that all of society works hard and doesn’t become a bunch of lazy rascals. Because as Machiavelli observed, ‘people are only motivated by two things, fear and love.’ And so we use fear. Because it’s more convenient.
But the problem is that the path that we do take, to avoid the path that leads to horribleville, is taken not out of choice, but desperation.
And so we’re out of control. And that’s the worst thing one can suffer. Enslavement.
The loss of the freedom of choice.
Now then how do we avoid the path to the bad place, and pick the one destined for us?
The answer is Trust.
Not faith. Because faith implies conviction.
An act of trust is letting go.
To give the ball to the other person, saying “here you go, you do with it what you will.”
It is surrendering.
It does not mean leaping out of a window proclaiming that God won’t let you die. That’s foolishness.
And I’m convinced that even the Pope looks both ways before crossing the street.
So then what is surrender?
Surrendering is acceptance.
Accepting that each life is intentional, and purposeful. That each one of us has a mission, and has been born with an absolutely unique set of skills required to accomplish that mission. Unique just like our fingerprints, or the prints on leopards and tigers.
And we must accept that all is for the best.
That if we were to find out that our mission in life is something other than what we desired it to be, we mustn’t go against the wave trying to get what isn’t for us, regardless of how alluring it may be.
For even if we go against the tide and achieve what isn’t for us, we will never be happy.
Because again, the point of the dance isn’t the end, it is the dance itself.
Thus what we’re born to do, regardless of whether or not it’s what we desire, is the thing that is the correct path for us.
Because that is the only thing, of whose point is the thing itself, and not what it leads to.
Otherwise we would be stuck in an endless cycle of chasing things that keep leading to other things.
Therefore we must eliminate desire.
Because that is what deters us from our path.
The path that is very clear for children.
Because children know only one thing, whether they are enjoying doing something, or not.
They do not concern themselves with glory and fame and all else befitting the proverbial success that is associated with the activity, for them it’s only about the activity.
Therefore we must become again as children, and let the path choose itself.
We must find the activity that we enjoy.
Because that is nature’s way of letting us know that we’ve found our passion, just how feeling hungry is the indication that we need to eat.
This is the only place where the Truth lies.
That is the only Path we’ll ever enjoy.