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Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought. - Basho
One of the dangers of following a hero is the temptation to emulate them too much instead of walking our own path.
A friend mine quit his job and started his own company when he was twenty-four years old. Five years later he sold out for millions of dollars.
We want to be like him so we try the same thing and go broke. What happened? Is the universe against us? No. We just got confused about the difference between learning from a hero and trying to walk his path.
The path of my friend may have led him to start a company; your path may also lead you on that course, just not at the same time in your life.
We can still learn much from our heroes and the people we admire. Just be aware that their path and time frame may be different from ours. When the time comes for you to start that business, learn a new skill, enter into a relationship, or whatever you’re hoping to do, the experience will be there.
The experience will be ready for you when you’re ready for it. Your timing may be different from everyone else’s.
I know people who got married after knowing each other for only two weeks and then stayed mostly happily married for more than thirty years.
I know people who date each other for years and still can’t decide if they’re ready to commit. My friend made the transition from living in the Midwest to living in New York in months. We each have our own stride and path. And while many of our lessons are similar, each of us is unique.
If we spend our time trying to emulate a person rather than an idea, we’ll at best be an inferior version of our teacher and at worst will never discover our own path.
Their stride will be too long or too short for us, and we won’t learn the true lesson, which is to trust our inner guide. Gautama Buddha found enlightenment while sitting under a banyan tree; Milarepa found it while living as a hermit in a Himalayan cave.
Gaining enlightenment isn’t an exercise in following a person; it’s an exercise in following your heart.
In 1922, Egypt hailed the discovery of King Tut’s tomb by archaeologist Harold Carter. On the walls of the tomb, the magicians in the king’s court had scrawled that severe punishment would befall anyone disturbing the contents of the burial site.
Over the next ten years, more than twenty people involved with the excavation died suddenly or mysteriously.
Whether you call it a curse or a hypnotic suggestion of sorts, what we’re talking about is the tremendous impact that suggestions have on us. We’re talking about the power of belief.
I am doing the best that I can. - Children’s Letters to God
Sometimes all we can do is all we can do.
“Maybe my talent is being a good listener,” said John. “Maybe I’m not supposed to be rich and famous. I’m supposed to be the person who just sits and listens.”
The world needs listeners, too. If everyone were the storyteller, it would be a noisy place, and no one would ever get to hear the stories.
Maybe you are a storyteller; maybe you are a listener.
Maybe it will be your path to achieve recognition and fame; maybe yours is an anonymous path of service.
If you’ve done all you can-whether it’s to pursue your dreams, work on that relationship, help someone else, or take care of yourself-then you’ve done your part.
Maybe all we can do is all we’re meant to do, that day.
Sometimes things seem like good ideas and aren’t, really. - Piglet
Ask for guidance first.
Self-will is a tricky thing. So are impulse behaviors.
We’ve heard of impulse buying-making purchases quickly and without thought, based on momentary impulse.
It’s easy to get caught up living our lives that way, too.
So often, we run off in the heat of the moment.
Spontaneity is good.
Saying yes to life is good, too. But impulse living can get us into trouble.
We can overreact to a problem, and then sit in a heap of regrets.
Sometimes, the next step presents itself clearly, in a flash of inspiration.
Sometimes, we’re meant to go forward and not let our fears and negative thoughts hold us back.
Sometimes, we’re acting on impulse and may end up sabotaging ourselves.
Ask for guidance first.
It takes only a second to check the map and see if the turn we’re thinking of making is where we really want to go.
The Sufis have a saying: Praise Allah, and tie your camel to a post. This brings together both parts of practice: pray, yes, but also make sure that you do what is necessary in the world. - Jack Kornfield, Seeking the Heart of Wisdom
It’s easy to play the martyr.
We spend our lives in struggle and turmoil longing for the sweet by-and-by when everything will be fine.
Today is the sweet by-and-by.
Yes, right now.
If we’re to have good in our lives, it’s up to us to seek it out.
Here are two things the Bible teaches about faith: One, it says that faith is like a mustard seed.
The tiniest bit of it can grow tall and in its own time will sprout.
The other thing the Bible says is that faith without works is dead.
If you’re not doing something, then you’re not keeping your faith alive.
Turn it over to God. But do something, too.
Stop waiting for someone to come along and rescue you.
Learn to rescue yourself.
Sometimes life sends fires raging through our lives, too.
Those fires are also part of the natural cycle of things.
Life, nature, or our Higher Power says it’s time to start over, again.
Use misfortune as an opportunity.
That fire rampaging through your life just might clear away the brush of the past.
Keep your heart open and stay aware.
You might learn something new and previously undiscovered about yourself
Mishaps are like knives that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or by the handle. - James Russell Lowell
Success rains down for no apparent reason.
Tragedy strikes like a freight train.
We’re left to deal with the results.
We can allow our egos to swell over our sudden good fortune, or we can humbly accept the fruit of our labor and continue to better ourselves.
We can lie down and give up after a tragedy, or we can grieve, get up, and begin taking steps to move on with our lives.
Look at the situations in your life. Have you been given success? Are you learning the lessons of loss?
Perhaps yours is the gift of the ordinary. Don’t walk too boastfully through your successes, nor remain too long in your grief. And don’t sleep through ordinary life. You’ll lose your sense of wonder and awe, and when it ends, you won’t know where you’ve been.
We cannot always control what will happen to us.
We need to let go of any false thoughts that we can.
We can choose how we’ll handle the situation just like we choose how we’ll pick up a knife-by grabbing the handle or the blade.
Watch out for the cutting edge.
What you do with what you have been given is important.
A healthy friend dies participating in a sport she loves. A husband works hard on his marriage only to come home one day and find his wife in bed with another man.
A knock at the door and a starving family opens it to find bags of groceries piled anonymously on the porch. A large order comes in just as a company is getting ready to close its doors, and the owner’s dream is given new life.
Sometimes life twists. Sometimes it goes the other way, too. Things happen. Sometimes we label these events good, sometimes bad. We cannot always see the reason or purpose in them, but most of us choose to believe there’s a Divine plan.
I don’t know why I’ve received some of the blessings I’ve been given; I don’t know why some of the sorrow has come my way. All I can do is trust that whatever comes my way, there’s a lesson at hand. Are you focusing on the circumstances of your life instead of the lessons? The circumstances are the tools. Be involved in them. Feel the pain of loss and the elation of victory. Let compassion works its way into your soul. Learn caring and kindness for others and yourself, too.
Instead of asking why to learn to ask what the lesson is. The moment you become ready to accept it, the lesson will become clear.