Reflections: On Self Understanding

Why do you act the way you act?

Why do you think the way you think?

What is your purpose? Your intent? Your understanding?

Are these your own thoughts or someone else’s? Are these your own actions or someone else’s? How do you become an individual?

What obstacles are you putting in front of your own self? How are you lying to yourself? How are you adding to your own suffering and hardship?

What are the things you should be doing? What are the things you should not be doing? Why aren’t you doing them? Why are you doing them?

Why did you make those past mistakes? Why haven’t you fixed them? What mistakes are you currently making? Why are you making them?

Recently, I have come to know one thing about myself. It is that I only want the end goal. I don’t want to work for it. I just want the fruit without the labor. The reward without the work. To go to the Grey Havens without bearing the burden. This laziness and lack of commitment are in me and that must change. For me, that change is a change in perspective.

The end goal is clear but it is the everyday that matters. The process of getting there. Loving the process itself. Understanding and appreciating the struggles of the everyday and not craving for the easiness of the end. That is what it comes down to for me. Easiness. Wanting to be comfortable, to live easy, to have made it. But that has to be a distant thought in one’s mind. The Stoics might advice me to live in the present, to live in the now and not think about future which is uncertain. That advice was true in the Ancient times and it is true now. Living in the present means embracing whatever that is happening, not what is going to happen or what has happened. In the happenings of the now, one must find pleasure and peace. It goes back to the cliche saying about how its the journey that matters not where the journey ends. In stories, it is the transformation of the characters as they go through their ordeals that attract me, not the peaceful or unpeaceful end of the story. For myself, the lesson is in that.

Embrace the now, embrace the work, embrace the hardship. Without it, the end means nothing. The process of living is what should dominate my thoughts, not the calm end. Loving the hardship, not seeking the soft life of those who have made it. They have put in the work, I have not. It’s simple but it’s also difficult to put into action if you are constantly thinking about the end. So, I have to narrow my view to what is in the now and just work.

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