Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The universe is unfolding as it should

All my life I have considered impatience my principal fault. What however redeems the inadequacy is the regular occurrence that if I hadn't pushed things along a bit I would not have discovered an even greater fault.  Relying on events to somehow unfold without lubrication has proven to be quite unreliable.  Admittedly I will never know if the same discovery might have arisen had I been more patient. On balance it's apparently a chance I wasn't willing to take; and a quandary I am prepared to absorb.

I will nonetheless concede that there is value in patience. Perhaps what removes the perspective from being an unqualified absolute is that, as in most things in this life, it depends.  It depends for example whether the issue about which one is anxious is critical or at least meaningful in more than a mundane sense.  If not, then I can't see that there is any particular motive to do what one can to predict the future.  On the other hand if there are circumstances upon which one's important personal agenda turns, then I'm all for getting at it.

Sometimes I find that my own curiosity about future performance drives me to be more enthusiastic than I should.  Perhaps the inquisitiveness is directed solely at someone else's affairs, not my own.  In that case it is possible to become annoying to others who for whatever reason prefer not to press the matter at the moment.  Frankly I seldom have much confidence in that arrangement because invariably I see it as merely an excuse for procrastination - and a feckless cause for incompetence.  But that's part of my impatience, the unwillingness to endure the evolution of time.

At the heart of this dilemma - between impatience and letting things unfold - is I am certain a disposition to act independently.  I have never evaluated myself a team player, not because I don't think other people have a clue but because I am determined to fulfill what I believe is the correct option.  The safest  - and least offensive - manner in which to follow own's own voice is to do it alone.  I am learning that this altruistic demeanour is not always welcome.  It may even be that the other person for whom I am anxious is equally singular.  I am therefore starting to think I have to pull back from my best intentions.  This is certainly more manageable if there is no intimacy between me and other person; less so if otherwise.  I am always tore between doing what I think is proper and letting people fall flat on their own face.  The motive doesn't disappear just because the relationship alters.  The debate becomes somewhat less clouded if the issue involves strictly legal matters - since although I continue to be a member in good standing of the Law Society of Upper Canada I am no longer entitled to practice law.  Even recommending other legal counsel is a potentially dangerous environment.

What placates my ennui about what I should do - charge ahead or shut my mouth - isn't at all a spiritual recognition about the infallibility of the universe, rather an acknowledgement of my own unreliability or irrelevance.  Nor does it matter how I convince myself of that adaptation.  It's not exactly a contest between me and the gods.  The risk though is that one becomes uncaring - whether by default or intentionally.  Removing oneself from the ambitions of the universe is a slippery slope.

In the end if may only be possible to dwell upon one's own immediate concerns.  I admit I haven't any admiration for those who subsequently observe that they sat back, knowing or questioning what was about to transpire.  You're in or you're out, not both.  My current choice is more for avoiding proving myself an imbecile - and, just to be clear, by that I don't mean I rely upon the universe to unfold as it should.

"Desiderata" (Latin: "desired things") is a 1927 prose poem by American writer Max Ehrmann. Largely unknown in the author's lifetime, the text became widely known after its use in devotional and spoken-word recordings in 1971 and 1972.

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible without surrender
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even the dull and the ignorant;
    they too have their story.

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
    they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others,
    you may become vain and bitter;
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
    Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
    it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs;
    for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals;
    and everywhere life is full of heroism.

    Be yourself.
    Especially, do not feign affection.
    Neither be cynical about love;
    for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
    it is as perennial as the grass.

    Take kindly the counsel of the years,
    gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

    Beyond a wholesome discipline,
    be gentle with yourself.
    You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

    Therefore be at peace with God,
    whatever you conceive Him to be,
    and whatever your labors and aspirations,
    in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful.
    Strive to be happy.

    Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

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