Your last blog essay really spoke to me. I enjoyed the quote from Moby Dick very much, and read it over and over. The English is beautiful, and difficult, (not modern) but I think I draw the meaning. What I hear is, "Who we are is whatever is in front of us at the moment. Why shift our attention and effort to what is elsewhere, imagining that other paths and prizes are more satisfying? What we are confronted by, presented with, comprises the life we are meant to live, in spite of our protestations to the contrary."
I understand what you mean about avoiding identification with a role, but I'm not sure that identification with a goal is so much better. Would you clarify? Maybe I am not defining "goal" broadly enough. I am thinking that orienting ourselves with goals can still easily get us hung up on the success/failure duality.
Is it possible to not identify with anything, to simply move forward moment to moment embracing whatever is? Yes, we need to set appointments, tackle assignments, complete our work, meet deadlines, & I suppose those objectives could be lumped under the heading "goals." However things turn out though; and whatever unexpected turn things take, even if a "goal" is not reached, we are to be open to the lesson, the teacher, that is imbedded in the twist of fate brings peace within. Ishmael thought perhaps, that only such openness would bring true contentment. Thoreau said, "Success is when you feel contented with only a sense of existence." That would be a pretty tall order for most modern-day folk. Still, I hear the wisdom in the notion that our "being" should trump our "doing" as we reflect on what gives our lives meaning.
...we are evolving beings who must continue to risk ourselves and fail in order to learn.
So, if we refrain from judging the painful moments, the fearful moments, we might learn something? If we lean in and listen, instead of labeling, escaping or disassociating, we might make friends with our fear and our pain?
Thanks for the wonderful essay, AB.
Wow, I love your new paragraph! It adds much clarity.
So we can get so involved thinking about the what that we forget about the how. "What are we going to be when we grow up?" we are usually asked as children, not "How are you going to live your life?" Ironically, the what, in the final analysis, accounts for little, to the extent that the how is disregarded. That's a key understanding that seems to be lost today. If one has the title, the degrees, the fame & fortune, what could be missing? Oh, maybe peace, contentment, kindness, compassion, character, integrity?
Could also be, "... danger in wanting to be seen as popular by our friends," rather than in wanting to simply be a friend. Yes, friendship can deteriorate into an exercise in adding another notch to our belts, a grasping for evidence of our worth, rather than seen as an opportunity to be kinder, more patient, more compassionate, indeed an opportunity to be friendly, to be a friend!
Duties are ours, events are God's. How liberating. What a great quote. We do our best & let the outcome rest.
We should identify with the painting and not the picture, the dancing and not the dance. Beautifully said!
I will try to remember these teachings.
Thanks so much for sharing further thoughts!