This topic, for me, goes back a long, long time. My ideas have changed a lot over the years, but there have been a couple of new thoughts recently that have brought it to the fore, so to speak. The first was something that came to me a few months back. I always used to say that I’m not sure what my potential is, but I know that it’s more than I can know it to be. It always gave me something to work toward, something to look forward to… What came to me was to look at this from the other side of the equation, and in doing so I realized that I was always telling myself that in every moment I was less than I could be, would be someday. The message I got that day was that I am not simply ‘unrealized potential’. In every moment I am the completion of who I am, right now.
More recently I had another shift which was sparked, in part, by a video I watched. I don’t remember the gentleman’s name but I do appreciate what he had to say, which was essentially that when he was on an airplane one day he realized that one of the most basic beliefs he had about himself was that he could overcome any challenge or problem. Now you might be thinking, “Good for you!” After all, entire practices are based around the idea of overcoming challenges, mounting hurdles and using persistence to overcome whatever challenge it is one faces. There’s a small white wildflower called ‘saxifrage’ that has the genus name ‘Lithophragma‘. Roughly translated that works out to ‘rock breaker’. The roots of this plant will seek out the tiniest crevices in bedrock, and as the roots grow they literally break the rock apart.
The person in this video went beyond that assessment of himself, however, and looked at it from the opposite perspective. If your belief about yourself is that you can overcome any challenge or problem set before you, how do you prove that, to yourself and others? Simple: you find or create challenges to overcome, and having done so you seek out more. It becomes a continuing cycle, because without having that next challenge or problem you fail at being who you have defined yourself to be.
I recognized myself in that talk, because for a very long time my base paradigm has been about goals and the steps taken to complete them. My whole life has been about ‘doing’, about getting things done, and having things to do. Actually accomplishing something became secondary; it always paled in comparison to what was left to do. Next task? Throw it on top of the pile. Didn’t matter if I pushed the pile over; it was still there. Goals were still to be met, dreams still to be fulfilled. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having goals and dreams, but when the action of completing them becomes more important than the achievement of the goal or the fulfillment of the dream, then somehow the perspective has become skewed. Part of the problem there is that I am always in the place of being un-fulfilled. There’s always more to do, more to complete, more ‘to dos’ stacked up.
Now, Abraham‘s always saying, “You’ll never get it done.” Okay, from that perspective the emphasis shifts. Rather than focusing on what’s left to do, I shift my focus to what I am doing, right now. The task at hand becomes more important than what’s left to do, and my focus shifts from the future (what’s next) to the present (what’s now). And when I focus on what’s happening now, an entirely different set of questions emerges… am I enjoying myself? Am I having fun? Am I experiencing beauty in this moment? The answer here had best be an unequivocal ‘YES’. By experiencing beauty now, no matter what I’m doing, my entire world changes. Any time I answer ‘no’, it’s time to shift to doing something else. We don’t have to choose between ‘doing’ and ‘being’, as long as we are BE-ing ourselves and BE-ing present in every moment.
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