The Rudder that Steers the Ship
Three primary questions I kept asking myself when thinking about my path in life were, where do I want to be, where am I suppose to be, and where will I be in the future. Although I still do ask myself these often, I am beginning to see that the answers will come if I put more of my focus on the present rather than the future.
I used to think I knew where I wanted to be. Long ago I thought a good paying job, house, car and a beautiful wife was what, and all I wanted. When I was young I didn’t think about things like health of the physical, mental, emotional or spiritual kind. As time progressed the mundane and repetitive work week, my unhealthy diet, unfulfilling and superficial social engagements, and lack of any deep or meaningful acquisition of knowledge or experience left me in a sorry state. I found myself out of balance on every level. I eventually realized that what I thought I wanted wasn’t actually.
Where am I suppose to be? When I figured out where I thought I wanted to be actually wasn’t, I started to ask myself this question. A question that alludes to other questions about this reality and elicits deep thinking. Is there a place I am suppose to be? Fundamentally it is a question of purpose. Is there a purpose for my life? How will I know what that purpose is? What determines that purpose? I wrestled with these on a daily basis. Many people find their answer from religion, their parents, gurus, governmentally sanctioned institutions and so on. I would not be so easily satisfied with these answers that were offered. The quest to answer this question was the start of a very important chapter of my life. It raised the awareness that spirituality is as important to my well being as much as anything else, even though I’m not sure that I could accurately define that term. It caused me to begin to search inside of myself. It helped me to come to terms with the fact that I truly don’t know myself, or the nature of my reality. Figuring out that you don’t know something might not seem like much progress, but it may be one of the biggest steps one can take, or fail to.
Where will I be, the question of consequence. What if I don’t end up where I want, or where I am suppose to be? If I’m not in the right place, then I have ended up in the wrong one. What does it mean about my life, and perhaps more importantly, after death? Surely know one wants to end up in the wrong place at the end of their life.
I am changing the way I look at these questions now, and I it has made changes in my life and the direction I can see myself heading. With all your attention on the future and obsessing over these question will hinder you from getting a positive outcome for all of them. This is because the only place we are is the present, we always are, and always will be. We will never make it to tomorrow, because tomorrow doesn’t really exist. It is an imagined concept in our mind. “Tomorrow never comes.”
I had read a lot about how our intentions influence where we end up in life. You may have heard about the law of attraction, positive thinking brings positive things, intentions create reality, and other ideas like that. Basically all those concepts are about how we can bring things into our lives by focusing on them. And I used to say to myself, “OK, I will think about a Ferrari every night, then one day I should have one if this works”. In the meantime, I am miserable walking to work everyday, waiting for the future when I will have my new car. That future never comes.
I feel many people misunderstand this idea much like I did, and left it in the trash with much other pseudo science. It seems to me now that there is no Ferrari waiting for us in the future, because there is no future waiting for us. It doesn’t exist, and we will be miserable forever if we are waiting for it. The only thing that does exist, and the only thing you can change is the now. Now is for eternity, it will be now for the rest of your life, the rest of the universe, and reality. You choose what to do with your now. You can change your reality, but your attention must be focused on the present. When you are focused on your actions in the present, you can act in away that is likely to bring about the present you are looking for. Every action you take, shapes your now, changes the way it looks and feels, makes it more the way you want. It’s as if each and everyone of our personal “here and now”s is a sculpture. It may resemble something that we don’t like, and we wish to re-sculpt into another form. We need to focus on what we can changed now to progress it in the direction we want it to be. Akin to a rudder steering a ship, with the relatively small movement of a little rudder, over the course of a journey it will have great effect on the destination. Slowly it will start to resemble the form we want. At first, it won’t look like much progress has been made, but slowly more and more it will become what we intend it to. The closer we get to completion, the more it looks the way we want. We can never get there by just looking at it and imagining what we want it to look like in the future.
But what if we don’ know where we want to end up, or where we should? This is the beauty of acting and focusing in the now. We simply need to focus on feelings, and what we know, and unite them with our actions. Our life is the sum of our decisions, each and every little one adds up. Don’t do anything automatically. Focus on every decision, do what you know and feel is right. By merging our feelings, knowledge and actions, we will automatically manifest the present we wish to have. Step by step, every little decision we make will chisel a small piece of the sculpture we call our present. It may take time, but the more you keep with this the more you will see you world change around you.
I don’t mean to say that we should never consider the future, but we definitely should not worry about things we have no ability to control or change. Since we only truly have control over ourselves and our actions, these are the things we must direct our attention on. It means less worry, more enjoyment, and watching your here and now morph into what you love. This is how we create our own realities.