You will forever give birth to yourself. There is no done, there is no finished, there is no complete. There is only the road, there is no destination. There will be points where you pause to reassess your direction, but these aren’t corrections as much as they are realizations regarding opportunity. They are more expansion than improvement.
There are facts, and then there is context. Until we see the fact in the context, we have no idea what we have engaged with. (e.g. you might think you know your child; until you see a recording of them with other kids.) Once we have those new facts, we then have the necessary perspective from which to make decisions for the new person we have become as a result of the experience.
Using the example above, you may have gone from an identity of a parent who was confident in your parenting style to being a parent that is suddenly uncertain and worried about what else you don’t know. The awareness of that possibility may initially feel unnerving, but this expansion of understanding is a natural process and it is good to become comfortable with its unfolding.
An aspect of anyone’s unfolding will be dissatisfaction. This is a signal either that we are failing to fully engage with a subject, or that we have fully engaged with it to such a degree that we are ready to shift our consciousness to other things. But dissatisfaction does not mean that we have gone the wrong way in life—it means that we have gone as far in that direction as we were intended to go and we should use those feelings to signal ourselves to watch for what feels natural to the newly expanded person we are.
These stages of becoming wave through us in time and space. To mix some metaphors, we coast downhill, with wind in our sails and confidence in our gait. We smile easily and generosity comes naturally. But even chocolate gets unpleasant if we have too much of it. Caviar, wine, and even sex too. And the nature of the universe is change. If we have the same experience for too long our naturally creative nature urges us to expand.
As an ego, we unfold our experiences as a narratives which we then judge as our life. We begin to question our direction, our intentions, our actions, and for these acts of thought we suffer. To narratively struggle against reality is suffering. To accept the pain of struggle with the knowledge that it is only half the experience of life, and that it provides us the wisdom necessary for us to shift ourselves into periods of joy and comfort. But we must be willing to travel the entire road to get to that peace.
Be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Be okay with not being okay. Appreciate that part of finding oneself is that you must begin by being lost. And since you will find several selves during your lifetime, you will also become lost several times. So don’t turn each difficult experience into some giant identity-creating story. Even if it’s a huge event, leave it where it is. Do not drag it forward in time with your thinking. The sooner you let the weight of that story go, the sooner you can float upward into where you have the space to be the wiser and stronger you.
Do not lament the ebb and flow of life. Without one you would not know the other any more than you could see these words without the white background. That is the Yin and Yang of life. Relax into it. Don’t argue with it. Feel the pain knowing it will pass as your thinking changes.
You don’t need to struggle against life. Yes its flow will naturally bring you into the rocks occasionally. But that’s still far less painful than swimming upstream for the entirety of your existence.
Stop thinking. Float on your inner silence. Listen to the universe around you and it will share its secrets. You’re always welcome there.
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.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.