Continue On

Sometimes, when you lose your way, you become disappointed in yourself. Your plans, even the ones forged in spiritual wildfires, have not revealed the desired way. The way you need to make you feel at home in it all. To be all you can be or, some say, what you were meant to be. Then, when it is time, to leave without regret.

Recall the other times in your life when you lost your way. They began by setting out on a new course. Your energy renewed. And your plans carefully made. But somewhere along the way, as it always has, disappointment sets in. Then, inevitably, there was a subtle yet persistent erosion of hope. Finally, after months, sometimes years, you find yourself back on the familiar terrain of uncertainty.

Most of your time has already moved through you. Your body displays the accumulation of time. The aches and pains are a reminder of the irrevocable wear and tear of aging. Yet, you do not feel sad. Nor do you desire to be young again. One life is enough. There is no need for more.

Now, in this moment, you release the idea that you should gather your life so that it can culminate in something that matters. That there is a way to bring it all together. To make sense of it all. To find the crucial narratives waiting for you. And, if you can reflect deeply enough, to discover meaning. Or, in your weakest moments, that you can find wisdom in your experiences. Even as you watch these words appear, your expectations haunt you.

The world is not more peaceful or sane since you arrived. Darkness intensifies in the human condition. Is it species arrogance? Psychoses indistinguishable from culture. Narcissism the essence of power. Fiction as faith. Humankind foreshadowing self-annihilation.

But what good does it do to talk of such things? To go over them. To itemize the problems in outrage, yet again. Stop complaining. Do your part and accept that you cannot control what will happen to the world. All you have is your own experiential milieu. The places and spaces your life moves through. Care for that. That is the best you can do.

You want your life to make sense. To form a coherent and meaningful narrative. Arrogance, self-importance, and entitlement join in a hearty chuckle. This will not happen. Life isn’t coherent. You don’t find life’s meaning, you invent it. There have been times when you thought you had answers and knew what to do and how to live. It’s make-believe. Your rational mind, that unrelenting tyrant, with all its plans and goals leading to this or that, is exhausted – frail – now.

Now comes the task you have denied. You must learn to relax into loss. There is no other way. Your life, from birth to death, is a liminal encounter with the world. There is no convenient fiction to assuage your insecurities. The mystery will not leave you alone.

Strangely, in the final stretch of your life, you understand that loss is the way forward. It always has been. That you are already where you need to be. Don’t pursue transient emotional states. Instead, be mindful of your presence here. Learn to be grateful for what you will eventually lose. And be thankful that there was something, rather than nothing at all.

It is here, in the midst of irrevocable loss, that you can finally come home.

The incessant yammering of your rational mind deceives you. Feel the fluid movement of your presence. Sense its transience. Gaze at its horizon. Touch the magic. Only then will you be ready to venture back into the world.

Only then will you be ready to continue on.