A close colleague remarked how fatiguing it can be to remain aware of how food and movement impact everything, including every thought and feeling throughout the day. Frustrated, he asked me if we have free will to forge our own destiny, or if our future decisions are fated by whatever collage of genetic and social circumstances.
I replied that my life flows smoothly, when I accept both. I can choose to consciously intermingle with my future potential, or wallow on the leash of whatever unconscious choices I am allowing to control my life. If I hesitate to participate in my food and movement, thoughts and feelings, I am controlled by my circumstances. But if I actively remain conscious, I can free myself to unlock my full potential.
Two days ago, I had driven to my mother’s home with my children. Due to my travel schedule I don’t get to see her enough, but because of a recently botched surgery she had suffered, I had refused to let any of life’s details intervene. She had needed the support of her son and the comfort of her twitter-painted grandchildren flitting about her home.
After flying three thousand miles, we had driven another three hours to her cabin in the mountains. My children exhausted, had remained asleep in the car. So, my thoughts, as usual, had churned with their projects; currently writing my biography, I mentally reviewed the chapters for any gaps in the story line. My thoughts turned to a story which had remained absent…
After three semesters at my first University, my dean had called me to her office to inform me that when the semester ended, I needed to change my major of Philosophy to my minor of Psychology for my degree, or transfer to a different school. They were dropping my department. Stunned, I left her office to go think.
I sat holding my final term paper in my hand. What use did this paper make? Nothing I wrote would matter, since it would not contribute to my degree. Surrendering, I reread the paper. Yet finishing it, I had decided that I would transfer. My thesis had so much potential, but I had not developed my skills sufficiently. I couldn’t quit at “blue belt” thinking. I had enjoyed the study of the mind (psychology) but despite it not being a career driven discipline, I had loved wisdom (philosophy) more.
As I had been driving to my mother’s house, I had wondered what had happened to that decisive paper. It had steered me to pursue my destiny, rather than accept my fate. The reflection was interrupted by my arrival, and I had intended to be fully present for my mother.
The kids romped, and my mother beamed. But because she still cannot walk without a painful limp, she called my son to retrieve the Bible on her table by her couch. When he returned, she pulled out a letter inside and handed it to me. Opening it, it was the very term paper I had been so critical thinking upon during my trip to visit her. I sat with mouth agape.
She said, “That paper has been so important to me, because in it, you talk about how we do not need to have faith in order for God to help us, but if we DO have faith then we can also help ourselves. That’s what I want to do to help my leg get better. I want to be involved in my healing process. I will keep praying everyday but I’m also going to DO something about it too.”
And there it was…
-> The answer to my colleagues question.
-> The reason for my critical decision choosing my path.
-> And the providence reaffirming the divine presence in both my destiny, or my fate, regardless.
If I had not actively participated in my reflections upon my past, these signs would remain concealed from my awareness. They’d still be happening; but without my attention. How much richer, more loving and more confident life becomes when we observe this elegance! Yes, it is fatiguing to remain conscious of our food and movement, thoughts and feelings, and how they’re all connected. But that fatigue brings so much incredible beauty to our lives.
David Cuschieri wrote, “The mind is a powerful force which can enslave us or empower us. It can plunge us into the depths of misery or take us to the heights of ecstasy. Learn to use that power wisely.” Conscious awareness empowers us to active participate in our destiny. Unconsciously slumbering, we become enslaved to a socially and genetically predetermined fate. What will you wisely choose today in your life?