One of the first principles states: "Nothing can happen to us that is so bad that it cannot be made better-- or worse-- by the way we respond to it. And nothing can happen that is so good that it cannot be made better-- or worse-- by the way we respond it." We hold the key to how well our life goes by the way we respond to how our life is going. Our response determines (or strongly influences) everything that follows. And so, we Stop. Look. Listen. And we Look Both Ways Twice. This means before we act/react/respond in every life setting. Because our response to what is happening is much more important than what is happening. We set-up what happens next by the way we respond to what just happened. If you are ever going to believe anything, believe this-- and act accordingly.
The symbols that are alive for us have to square us up with the life that is ours to live, and the world in which we live, so that we find ways to be who we are in the time and place of our living. Our symbols call us to life, and guide us in finding ways to incarnate the deep truth of our being within the circumstances of life-in-the-world-- to break into the world as the Transforming Word, the Sacred Act, of Life coming to life and shattering the expectations and assumptions of life in so doing. Symbols are life and death in the making. What are the symbols that are alive for us? To what do they point? They are doorways opening to what? What are they calling us to do, to become? Two of my favorite "living symbols" are Yoda and Obi-wan Kenobi. The two are one. They stand before me as projections of my own Inner Guides, my Mentors within, reminding me that I have all I need, if I will be still and listen, and look, and write! When I write it out, there it is-- exactly what I am looking for! Calling me to incarnate it in the way I live moment-by-moment, day-by-day.
Life at its best has an organic flow about it. There is a time to sleep, and a time to eat, and a time to work, and a time to refrain from working... A circadian rhythm governs the planets in their orbits, and the tides in their cycles, and the seasons in their traces... To live in accordance with the times is to be on track and in tune with the Tao. In the ancient Greek way of thinking, this is kairos, the opportune time, the right time, the time for acting. Our lives tend to be more orderly, more routine, more predictable, and are run by the clock and the calendar. We eat at noon whether we are hungry or not. We go to bed at 10:30 whether we are sleepy or not. We live buy Chronos, clock time, calendar time. The time bills come due, and school starts and stops, and the day begins and ends. Working Kairos in with Chronos is a balancing act only humans have to master. The rest of the natural world turns when it is time for turning, dances when it is time to dance, and naps when a nap is called for. Eating when hungry, resting when tired is the ideal to strive for. Doing what is needed-- what is necessary-- in the time and place the call is issued, is the sine qua non of a True Human Being. How close can we come, and how often do we dare, are the questions which, when answered, tell the tale.
We belong in one place, not in every place. We belong to one thing, not everything. Knowing where we belong, and what our "thing" is, is essential knowing. Honoring what we know, and living in accord with it, is essential wisdom. Allowing where we belong and what we do to evolve over time is essential grace. Living out of essential knowing, essential wisdom, and essential grace is to compose a well-lived life. No one can do better than that. And no one can tell us how to do that. No one knows what we know. No one. We are the teacher, and we are the student. We are the chisel and we are the stone.