We can't live fifteen minutes without taking sides. Generally, that would mean taking our side against all others. This is the baby screaming to be fed. It's always something. Wanting this, not wanting that. My Way Now! There must be cultures where this is not the case, perhaps where the baby's needs are anticipated, and not allowed to run the show. Waiting until the time is right. Knowing how to read the times. Knowing what now is for-- what it is time for now. That is the most important knowing. Not, "What do you want?" But, "Can you tell what time it is?" And, "Can you submit to the times that are upon you?" "Can you sacrifice yourself to serve the needs of the times?" If we could live attuned to the times, attending the times, living as loyal devotees to the times that are always at hand... It would be a different world. We can transform the world just by living to be what the times need us to be, doing what the times need us to do, living in accord with the times that are at hand. Here and now.
We are built to impose our way upon the world. At least it seems that way. The people who impose their way upon the world are in charge. At least it seems that way. Those Who Know Best And Must Be Pleased stand out in a crowd. They are built to impose their way upon the crowd. Any crowd. Every crowd. They are your preachers, and your politicians, and your activists, and your community organizers. Bullies all. Pushing people around. As though they actually know what's best. If they are so smart, why is their family in such a mess? The old saying, "It is easier to be a saint than to live with one," applies doubly to Those Who Know Best And Must Be Pleased. Nobody can live with one of those. They don't seem to notice, or care. It is hard to know what they care about, beyond having their way. Nothing, probably. And the rest of us have to deal with them, which means giving them wide berth. But that means leaving them to run the show. Look around. Things are in such a mess because Those Who Know Best have been running the show. Every show. Forever. Which leaves us where exactly? With knowing what's what and what's to be done about it. We have to draw a line. And pay the price of drawing the line. The very thing we are most hesitant to do, and Those Who Know Best count on it. On our being hesitant to draw lines. We have to draw lines. To draw lines, we have to live out of our adamantine core. Out of our rock-solid center. Out of our crystal clarity about what must be done, and where, and when, and how. And do it. We have to say "NO!" Where it needs to be said. When it needs to be said. How it needs to be said. Because it needs to be said. But it takes so much out of us to do that. Nevertheless, it must be done, and it is ours to do it. And you know what I'm talking about. Do it. As often as it needs to be done. Your center knows. Live from there. No matter what. Forever.
There is being clear and right about what needs to be done in each situation as it arises, and doing it, no matter what. And, that is all there is to it. This is where mixed-motives come into play. On the one hand this. On the other hand that. And on another hand that over there. And don't forget that other thing over there... We lose focus, leave the path, depart from the way, stray far off the beam, and wander forever in a wasteland of conflicts of interest and mutually exclusive desires. And here we are. The way back to Eden winds through the heart of Gethsemane and across the face of Golgotha. This is the narrow way, the slippery slope, the dangerous path, like a razor's edge. And those who manage it are few. I can tell you what it takes, but I cannot tell you how to get/have what it takes. Heart, for example. I can tell you it takes heart (And soul, and mind, and strength), but I can't tell you how to find heart (Etc.). How to get it, develop it, have it, trust yourself to it, devote yourself to its service, with liege loyalty and filial devotion, moment-by-moment, day-by-day, in each situation as it arises, forever. But that's what it takes. And maturity. Maturity that is self-awareness, and self-discipline, and self-correction... We live ourselves to all these things over the full course of our life, or not, depending on all the variables that have to fall into place at the right time in the right way to enable the right response to the events, context, and circumstances that make up our life. What are our chances? And so it is said, "Fine is the balance, thin in the line, between having it made and having nothing at all." Which leaves us with knowing what's what, and seeing what needs to be done about it right here, right now, and doing it. In each situation as it arises. And letting that be the strategy that guides us along the slippery slope, the dangerous path through our personal equivalents of Gethsemane and Golgotha, to resurrection and new life at "the still point of the turning world," the Axis Mundi, in the center of the Garden of Eden, where it all begins.
Actual reality is moving, changing, shifting, transforming, transitioning all of the time. We can't pin reality down, or pen it up. That's true whether we are talking about the position of electrons, or protons, or quarks, or how likely we are to change our mind (about anything). Approximate reality is the best we can do. This is how we are now, we don't know how we will be then, whenever we declare "then" to be. We make declarations of conviction and certainty that seem as though they will be valid forever. And are divorced in six months. Or three. We might take the brevity of our deep commitments into account, and preface them all with, "At the present time," or, "For the foreseeable future..." We are all becoming other than we have been. We are wrong to think not, and need to be more open to it and deliberate about it. We are on the way to seeing, thinking, realizing, believing, being different in a number of possible ways. It is going to happen with, or against, our will. Why not assist it? Encourage it? Participate joyfully in it? We are wonders drinking coffee and eating bagels! Why not wake up to the wonder of being a wonder? A wonder being alive to the wonder of being alive? And wonder what's next, and look forward to seeing what the rest of the day holds?