“Live Free or Die.” — New Hampshire State Motto
Sometimes it feels like we have very little control over our lives. Kismet equals destiny, which then … equals tyranny, which in turn … equals subservience and submission. And all that is true, if you accept the idea that we are immersed in the unknown. Certainty is not a dependable reality. We cannot be sure it even exists. Our environment is replete with instability that injects chaos into everything that happens. And from all that chaos, we are forced to be naturally, creative, resourceful and whole. To be bigger than our immersion.
But … submitting to the unknown, well … THAT’S another thing altogether.
Hold on! Someone did a double-take. I’m sure.
Didn’t he just say, “our immersion in the unknown feels like a submission to destiny,” and now he’s saying, “we can be bigger than our immersion and, therefore, we don’t need to submit?”
What’s going on here?
What’s going on is the confusion we have between immersion (which is “a given”) and submission (which a response to that “given”). Potentially, we can have many responses to the unknown – Denial, Fear, Anger, Clinging. And all of those are just that – responses – they don’t dictate “who we are” anymore than our immersion in the unknown does. Now…do you begin to see the distinction?
Submission is when default reactions overwhelm us, robbing us of our freedom — a freedom which is ours, because we are naturally, creative, resourceful and whole. Because we are bigger than our immersion.
And to carry this further…what we desire most is self-determination AND we willingly align ourselves with those who challenge us with personal and unique invitations. A willingness to join is NOT submission. A willingness to join comes from our alignment to a larger purpose which counteracts the randomness of our immersion. What we fight and resist is the knee-jerk need to counteract randomness and chaos, the knee-jerk need to counteract that horrible feeling of submission. And what we want is to be purposeful. So we align ourselves with that which can sustain us through thick and thin. We look for personal and unique invitations from friends and family, and others. We look for that sense of openness and caring which invites us to be bigger than ourselves.
Let’s look at some examples:
John wants to buy a house; he has a down payment, but his employment feels potentially at risk. Can he in good conscience take on the risk? What sustains him through thick and thin is his family. After talking with them, they encourage him to accept the risk. They will stand with him if anything happens. John now has that invitation from his own particular “outside … other-interest.”
Sarah has dated Alan for two years. Alan might propose soon. Excitedly, Sarah talks about her options with her best friend and her sister. Can she in good conscience accept Alan’s proposal? Sarah’s friend asks, “Do you love him?” Sarah says “Yes.” Sarah’s sister asks, “Are the two of you compatible?” She says, “Yes.” Through thick and thin requires a lot of trust. Finally, Alan asks: “Will you marry me?” Sarah says, “Yes.” Their mutual invitation to one another, encourages them to accept the risk. The sense of openness and caring invites them to be bigger than their “immersion” as isolated individuals. They mutually responded to their “outside … other-interest.”
No one forces us to accept risk. We willingly commit ourselves. And we do that to be “response-able,” to meet ourselves, again, within the unknown. Our problem is finding the kind of alignment that sustains us through thick and thin. Initially, all our alignments are socially created — family, clan, community, or tribe. Only later, when they are value-generated; only later do we let go of socially created alignments.
Once we become “the arbiter” for our values, we assume a self-authoring stance. Alignment is now something we can determine for ourselves. We discover ways meet ourselves, again, within the unknown. But throughout our self-authoring discernment, we align ourselves with personal and unique invitations from “outside … other-interests.” And the question we always face is … do our alignments makes us larger than ourselves?
Being bigger ultimately means being bigger than the risk … being bigger than our immersion in the unknown.
After a certain point, even the evaluation of risk becomes secondary. When internalized completely, through thick and thin means risk assumes no meaning. Through thick and thin means that our shared dependence becomes, itself, the reason for our “being larger than ourselves.”
With no one else to turn to and with our immersion ever-present, we become naturally, creative, resourceful and whole … and bigger than our immersion.
That’s not a trick. Believe it. You control your destiny by the way you meet yourself, again … from within the unknown.
Thanks for listening!