All is forgiven. The past is done, a fading memory. Yesterday’s misdeeds have been wiped away. The present is a clean slate.
We can become anything we want. The detritus of the past has sloughed off, like a snake shedding its skin.
The square pegs are free to leave the round holes.
The moving finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line
Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.
So Omar Khayyam wrote in The Rubaiyat. The 13th century Persian astronomer and mathematician had a way with words that slices to the truth like a scimitar.
We can’t change the past no matter how many regrets we have or how much guilt we choose to carry, but we can transform it by changing how we feel about the past, how we feel about ourselves and how we go the way of life.
We can, with our own finger, write a new beginning. While we love our problems and our wounds, our melodrama, we can change the channel and find a story that better fits our desire for growth.
These moments of life past so quickly that we do ourselves an injustice if we waste them doing things we don’t enjoy, punching a time clock until we punch out.
Most of our life has been reflex; we react according to the patterns established over a lifetime. We don’t need to think because we already know our position, whether it’s on religion, politics, science or who will win the Stanley Cup.
We’ve chiselled our position into the concrete of our souls so thought becomes irrelevant. The grooves are so deep, like the ruts in an unplowed road, that we fall into them easily.
It takes a lot of energy and effort to get out, so it’s easier just to follow the path forged by other people.
We can, however, plow our own path, investigate our beliefs and thought patterns and find the mystery that is at the centre of every life.
“The divinity that shapes our ends is in ourselves … all that a man achieves or fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts,” said James Allen, author of As A Man Thinketh.
We create our lives every day by what we do or don’t do, by what we believe or don’t believe, by what we choose or don’t choose.
We can consciously decide to create positively or let circumstances create negatively.
Either way, it’s our choice.
Every day we have a priceless opportunity to create a masterpiece, to make it and ourselves a work of art. We can live a lifetime in one day.
We are born when we awaken and we die every night, many lifetimes wrapped into the time we spend in this form, energy masquerading as matter.
If we fall short of our expectations today, we have a new life tomorrow to choose rightly, or at least better.
And there is no particular pressure, other than what we put on ourselves, to get it right today, tomorrow or the many other daily lifetimes after that. We’re on a journey where the destination has been already decided, but we choose the path and our travelling companions.
“You cannot prevent the birds of unhappiness from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from making a nest in your hair,” goes one proverb.
Think of it as reincarnation, the philosophical underpinning of some eastern religions and philosophies. While it was not a tenet of our religious upbringing, it was a belief in early Christianity.
When Eleanor Roosevelt was asked if she believed in reincarnation she said: “I don’t think it would be any more unusual for me to show up in another life, than to show up in this one.”
Whether we return after the long sleep is irrelevant to this moment. We have a daily reincarnation and we owe it to ourselves to paint a magus opus on that blank canvas.
We devalue ourselves if we don’t do our best because it’s Monday, or we aren’t feeling well, or we have a meeting that we just want to be over. Wishing away time, remembering the good old days or focusing on the future dilutes the now.
It has been said numerous times, but needs repeating, now is all we have.
In one of his last lectures, Jiddu Kristnamurti, groomed from childhood as the world teacher the Theosophical Society was seeking, walked onto the stage and said: “Do you want to know my secret?”
The audience craned forward because, of course, they wanted to know the secret of one of the most eminent spiritual teachers of the 20th century.
“I don’t mind what happens,” he said.
Simplicity itself. Going with the flow, not staking out a position he had to defend and not getting upset with people or circumstances.
Kristnamurti also told his followers: “If you would seek the Truth you must go out, far away from the limitations of the human mind and heart and there discover it — and that the truth is within you.”
We can start each new day, each new life, with one goal — peace of mind — and judge each situation on whether it will contribute to that serenity. If it doesn’t, we disengage.
Ah, my Beloved, fill the cup that clears,
Today of past regrets and future fears —
Tomorrow — Why tomorrow I may be
Myself with yesterday’s sev’n thousand years.
— Omar Khayyam
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.