“You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there is a way or path, it is someone else’s path. You are not on your own path. If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realize your own potential.”
The key to living more freely and happily lies in the choices and decisions we make. So our decision making skills are critical to our experience of life. Better decisions are made when we can see the big picture.
When we see the bigger picture we can put setbacks or a temporary struggle in perspective and see that in the greater scheme of things, what seems like a hardship in the short term, could be beneficial in the long term. If you look back over your experiences, perhaps you will notice that some of your greatest disappointments that may have seemed earth shattering at the time later led to something ultimately better.
In the big picture, everything is ok. It is when we zoom right into one small part of our life and give it a level of importance that is far in excess of what it really warrants, that we get stressed and frustrated.
There are two great mistakes we can make that cause us to limit our perspective, which makes us feel trapped and as if we are without a solution for our challenges. As a Truth Seeker you will avoid these, but we must be vigilant to stay clear of these easy to fall into traps.
Where the Comfort Seeker looks for someone else to provide the path and the Power Seeker looks to shape the world to their template, you as a Truth Seeker must never delegate your autonomy, ignore reality or interfere with the choices of other people.
The Power Seeker’s Folly
The first pitfall is the Power Seeker that never looks for ideas outside of their own head. The Power Seeker is more concerned with bending the world to their will than understanding it and so they remain stuck by the blind spots and distortions in their perspectives.
Sometimes the Power Seeker might seem to be seeking out other’s opinions, but only listen to those who agree with them or only meet people who are very similar in their thinking. In organisations this has been called Group Think, where groups fail to see pitfalls because of a lack of diversity in their members and their thinking.
The Comfort Seeker’s Mistake
The Comfort Seeker though, can be all too happy to listen to other ideas, avidly seeking outside ideas, who is reading books and going to seminars etc. Often they can get attached to a particular Author or an approach and in their enthusiasm for what they are learning, replace their beliefs with the Author’s or the Movement’s. In its most extreme form this can result in them joining a Cult, where Power Seeker meets Comfort Seeker.
No one is perfect. No one book, training or movement is perfect. Every book, every training or movement has flaws and blind spots of their own.
Truth is a living, dynamic thing that exists in our hearts, in our interactions. It cannot be contained in some dry text. The limitations of language and interpretation mean that we can never commit Truth into a set format and transmit it to everyone without misinterpretation or misunderstanding.
Yet sometimes people referring to a greater power, as in debating a point and they will say ‘X says this’ in a way that assumes that this is the end of the argument. As if because someone has certain skills or achievements that automatically means that their opinion carries greater authority. Surely though, it matters more what is said than who says it?
Your life is unique. And you as an individual have your own unique blueprint. Your goal is different from that of others. Even if we are to take happiness as a universal goal, the way that you define and understand happiness is different from the way other people do. And so your take on situations has to come from your view. Only you can be the expert on what is right for you. Of course it’s helpful to seek out as many perspectives and thoughts on a subject, but you must be the one to make the ultimate decision.
Sometimes people abdicate their decision making because they feel in awe of someone who seems to know so much more, other times it’s a lack of faith in your own opinion or even not making the effort to make the belief your own. Whatever the reason you must always be the final Arbiter.
Obviously, I’m not talking about referencing others or being influenced by other people’s ideas. We need to be aware and educated by the thoughts of others. However there’s a line between being influenced and blind acceptance. It is a different thing to say ‘I agree with X’s take on this because…’ than ‘But X says’. In one you are agreeing, but in the other the other person is taking sovereignty over what is right or wrong.
The Truth Seeker’s Responsibility
If you are seriously to take the path of a Truth Seeker than you must take complete responsibility for your life and your growth and that means making the effort to go beyond other people’s opinions to really examine them and then to select what you truly believe from all you are aware of.
The extent to which you succeed in doing this is the extent to which you will have conviction and security. You see, often people come to conclusions of what they believe quickly and because their beliefs do not have deep solid roots, they will easily give way in times of deep stress.
There is a difference between deep convictions and theoretical beliefs. Sometimes we speak intellectually of things that should provide security and comfort in even the most trying of circumstance. Yet when push comes to shove, we are quick to worry and panic because often we are not prepared to have our beliefs and opinions challenged. Our level of certainty is dependent on our level of awareness and how actively we have grappled with the factors before coming to a conclusion. Merely reading a book or listening to a speech does not develop conviction. Conviction comes from your thinking and your decision making.
There is a dichotomy here. On the one hand we must be open to changing our thinking on anything when life gives us evidence that proves our working map of reality is flawed. Yet on the other hand we need strong convictions to resist obstacles and operate in the world effectively. There is a thin line between being closed to ideas and accepting them too easily. The mastery of where that line is, is the core attribute of the Truth Seeker. It is also the basis for confidence.
Changing Times Need Strong Convictions
These are not comfortable times for those who seek stability and safety. Modern technology is transforming the way we work, operate and interact. And so beliefs and customs that have been held sacrosanct have been turned upside down overnight. Politically and economically our world has become too large and too complex to be controlled in the same way. We have seen levels of civil discontent that haven’t been seen for a long time. Terrorism has changed its face. Our weather has become so changeable and dramatic that across the globe we have faced previously unseen problems.
To survive happily in today’s world you will increasingly need a strong and secure conviction in yourself. For when all about you is changing, you need an inner sense of stability to confidently cope with life. This doesn’t come from repeating words that came somewhere else. The great thing about books and training is that you can get the insights of 20 or 30 years worth of experience and trial and error. However you do have to work to give those nuggets the soil, the time, nurture and the nutrition so that they flower in your head as an organic part of you.
An idea alone is worthless. There are ideas all around us. Ideas only have power when they are connected to passion, to action, to purpose and nurtured to conviction. Then they can change worlds.
So in a nutshell, what I’m saying is seek out ideas, but make them yours. Change the flavour, modify them how you like, combine them with others, but let the seed of the idea germinate in you, until it has deep and secure roots.
Regardless of where the seed came from, let it germinate to be a part of you.