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Painting by Seung-Hwan Chung

“We can’t lose the truth of our being, but we can lose the experience of it.”
~ Adyashanti


Amor Fati

You should arm yourself,
not like a Caesar with a raised sword
against the world, but with the words:
Amor Fati — love your fate.

You shall make this axiom
your strongest liberator;
You have chosen your path in the thicket.
Don’t look sideways at other paths!

The pain, too, is your servant.
Paralyzed, crushed and rejected
you see that it reunites you
with what is required.

The fall and the betrayal, too,
will help you like friends.
Your defeats are rich
gifts placed in your hands.

Once, contented
by being worthy of your destiny
you shall know: This was my will.
All that happens to me happens justly.

Then say, when the green woods
of your joy for life has been wandered through:
I want nothing different.
I want nothing changed.

— André Bjerke,
translated by Hossein Kashani

It’s important to identify and stay on your true path in life, something I learned after straying and wandering and even choosing several wrong paths over the years. Those paths that were not meant for me taught me a lot, or at least some of them did. If a path resembles your best path, you can stay on it and learn what you need to learn until it suddenly falls away from you.

A path that is dead wrong is another story. Feedback will be quick and painful. Don’t try to push through it. Listen to your body. Watch how you feel disoriented and unable to love anything about it. Leave it. It’s for someone else.

It does happen that you can be attracted to something you only have a small talent for, that you want to try and see what you can do. Do it. If you enjoy it, that’s enough reason to engage in it, but you’re probably made for something you have exceptional talent for. That’s where your soul will take wings. That’s where you have something unique to give to the world.

I was a hard headed young man. Nobody could dissuade me from doing something if I wanted to do it, even if it wasn’t my highest and best ability. In the end, though, it comes down to how much you love what you’re doing. That’s what is needed to get you through the hard times. A love of the work is linked to an innate ability to understand it and deal with its details. That’s called talent. Talent is nothing more than a specific intelligence attuned to an activity.

The more you use that intelligence the more you become yourself. When you are trying to live counter to your nature, nothing works. A deep and ever-lurking dissatisfaction will follow you everywhere. You may develop a certain competence, but not brilliance.

I have been given a lot of leeway in my life to try just about anything I was attracted to. I was even persuaded by a girlfriend to try tap dancing. I tried car mechanics. I tried building church organs. I tried to learn to play the piano. I moved to and away from a dozen world class cities. I tried an internet business.

We won’t talk about the inappropriate girlfriends.

I don’t regret any of that. I was learning. I came through with minimal injuries. Every “mistake” was a lesson. I would be a lot further along as a writer if I had just stayed on that path, but I’m thankful for a very forgiving universe that let me work it out and eventually come to a basic understanding of myself.

Can I pass any of that understanding along to others? I don’t know but if so, here’s what I would say; listen to what you naturally love. There’s your gold. Follow your heart in all things and you can’t go wrong.

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