Everyone’s wondering which way they should go. I would suggest we should be more concerned with how we go than where we go. Because our attitude will follow us wherever we go. And attitude is actually a great word for it, because pilots also talk about the attitude of an airplane. Is the plane pointed toward the sky, or is the plane pointed toward the ground—that’s attitude. Well, same for you, but your wings are thoughts.
A plane can fly over a storm. It can also fly low enough to smash into a mountainside. But whether the terrain below is warm, and soft, and hospitable, or whether it is jagged, and icy and dangerous, the plane flies over it in the same way. As long as its attitude is good, then the ugliness of the terrain below it is irrelevant. So it is with life. We should be less concerned with what landscapes we are passing over, and we should be more concerned with maintaining positive control over our attitude. You’re not the storm, you’re the sky.
If we focus all of our attention on looking down at some ugly spot of reality or possibility, we will obviously lower our attitude and fly toward it, that’s why they say in a skid in your car look where you want to go not at what you don’t want to hit. Otherwise, if we choose to do that long enough we will crash. (That’s what people mean when they talk about the law of attraction.)
We obviously cannot fly based on where we don’t want to go, we must fly based on where we do want to go. In fact, our preferences are our natural individual guidance systems. That is why we shouldn’t question ourselves. When we argue with ourselves we are arguing with nature. We are arguing with the universe. It would be like paying attention to the guages even if they conflicted with what you saw out the plane’s window.
You do not have a path. This is to misunderstand your role. You are a co-creator in the universe. You are an aspect of the big dream. And it is you who gets to fulfil your aspect of the universe’s magnificence, and you do this by being yourself. By actively being yourself. So there is no wrong way to go. Do you see? Hitting the ground is equivalent to falling for an external goal. It will never be as satisfying as living out your own life.
You cannot go wrong. The way you go is the way to go. And the way you get there peacefully is by paying less attention to the weather outside the plane, and more attention on how you as a conscious pilot are maintaining your attitude within it. That’s how Mother Teresa not only survived, but thrived working in a slum all of her life.
Don’t spend your life avoiding what you don’t want. Life’s too short for that. You want to spend it by pursuing what you do want. You will have to fly over some ugly terrain to get to all of the places you’ll want to see, but again, that’s irrelevant if you’re focused on maintaining a positive, healthy attitude.
Accept that there is no such thing as ready, and there is no such thing as your path or the right thing to do. There is only what you do. You represent the little part of the universe that is you. This is how you contribute. You enact yourself. You become. You make the universe bigger by simply being yourself fully and completely.
Your journey will include times where you will abandon control, or when your flying will be near-suicidal. We all do that. The plane-of-life doesn’t come with instructions. But with a bit of luck—and maybe some help from this blog and your friends—you can ensure that you’re being vigilant and aware of the choices you’re making regarding the angle of your attitude. And that, in the end, is really all you need.
Have a great trip!
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.