Not Chaos-like, together crushed and bruised,
But, as the world harmoniously confused.
Where order in variety we see,
And where, though all things differ, all agree.
Windsor Forest – Alexander Pope
Most of us as rational human beings would prefer order to chaos. We equate order to harmony and chaos to madness. Is it possible that in our faulty perception of the world, we can’t see the order in the chaos?
Author Joseph Campbell points out what German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer penned about chaos: “Schopenhauer…points out that when you reach an advanced age and look back over your lifetime, it can seem to have had a consistent order and plan, as though composed by some novelist. Events that when they occurred had seemed accidental and of little moment turn out to have been indispensable factors in the composition of a consistent plot. So who composed that plot? Schopenhauer suggests that just as your dreams are composed by an aspect of yourself of which your consciousness is unaware, so, too, your whole life is composed by the will within you. And just as people whom you will have met apparently by mere chance became leading agents in the structuring of your life, so, too, will you have served unknowingly as an agent, giving meaning to the lives of others.” – Joseph Campbell.
So, if your life seems to be in a state of chaos right now, don’t panic! Perhaps in the chaos, an aspect of your being is under construction. Sometimes we require a breakdown of some part of ourselves in order to bring change. Love yourself, bear with yourself, and forgive yourself. There is a Divine Purpose in your life trying to get through to you. Be still and listen.
Have a happy journey!
“Learn what God has willed you to be
And find your place in the human world.”
Persius, Satires, III, pp. 71-73.
While thinking about what would be a good New Year’s resolution, I found these words penned by Roman philosopher and poet, Persius, who lived in 34 AD. At the time, I was thinking – what would be a good New Year’s resolution? These words totally changed my attitude of the yearly pursuit to formulate a resolution for the coming year. I could think of many – weight loss (ugh) or more exercise (really any exercise would be more truthful). Then, I realized what a waste of time and effort I would expend in choosing either one of these goals. Not that they are poor goals, it just occured to me that I needed to resolve something that would matter in the context of the world. This may sound lofty, but everything we do changes the world in some way. So, if I feel the urge to focus my resolve in a certain direction, then I want it to matter.
Persius summed it up for me – why not resolve to learn what God has willed me to be and find my place in the world? Finally, this is something that is worthy of my day-by-day, moment-by-moment pursuit. For me, it is the only thing that really matters. I want to focus my life to discover what purpose I have on this earth. It isn’t something that can be discovered quickly or without effort. But I resolve to head that way. I may not know exactly where I’m going, but I will know I’m headed the right direction.
Where are you headed?
Have a happy journey!