I have sometimes limited my focus on my perspectives in life, and have often become caught up in a stream of events that I might not have anticipated. If my decisions about how to behave in the world are not aligned to my aspirations, I will surely disappoint my vigilant intuitions. Ultimately I reason that the mind is the charioteer of the will, the reflexive unconscious and gut, and the feelings of the heart that impels our behavior in the world. But if we do not have a balance of these integral human motivating agencies, then we find ourselves beguiled and possibly left empty. Precisely where we have a greater capacity for “possibility thinking” and achievement lies predominantly within the realm of the mind. Those who do not stride forward with their life’s ambitions often have failed to sail toward a once planned venture. They are rudderless, and follow a current that may lead them to unexpected courses in their voyages.
Plato’s Charioteer Tripartite Mind
1) Mind: Charioteer
2) White Noble Horse on Right: Spirit
3) Black Ugly Horse on Left: Appetites
Listening and acting on the advice from others and not acknowledging our own hearts may be a lifelong undertaking that leads us to misadventure. When reaching for greener pastures, we ought not to overlook that which is right in front of us. We become dissuaded and influenced by those around us, as we begin to doubt our own capabilities and ambitions which tend to slowly diffuse and disassemble as if they had never existed. The passion once felt is shrouded deep within our former selves replaced by other transitional interests that cover the deeper longings of our hearts. I have an affinity to what Henry David Thoreau set out to discover on his stay at Walden Pond.
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays
American philosopher and naturalist Thoreau isolated himself at Walden Pond in Massachusetts from 1845 to 1847. His experiences during that time are published in Walden (1854), which Thornton Wilder called “a manual of self-reliance.” In a well-known passage, Thoreau stated his purpose: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation…” In the first essay, “Economy,” Thoreau comments that most men are slaves to their work and enslaved to those for whom they work. He concludes: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation….”
If we embrace our heart, activate our resolve and nourish the potential of our minds, we create a force that is so powerful, the world of possibility becomes exponentially larger. But why do we not follow our “gut” feelings, and we delude our better judgements? Much of this comes from listening to external sources, and all too often from our own voice of self-doubt. We disband our goal to unify our lives with our passions by accident or by misdirection of an immersed ego caught up in a distraction filled world.
When we take a path with the least resistance, we may misplace our heart’s desires with a surrogate. Our lives are tempered with contention that customarily helps us find a quintessence in contrast to the banalities met in a lifetime. We must never allow ourselves to detach from possibility! Fortuity can be a life renewing salvation or equitably a life saving virtue if we are cognizant of it. The first step is taken when we recognize this dynamic in the equation. First and foremost, we must be open for opportunity. We must be receptive and keen to providential forces that dwell within our mortality.
But what creates possibility? The most satisfying creation comes from our own doing even if it is initiated indirectly; such as the consequence of our own talents which may open opportune doors to us. There exists possibilities that we are aware of, and those we are unaware of. There exists possibilities that we may never actualize, and those that we may never appreciate because we are caught up in other distractions or have distorted the inner balance within our minds.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
I’ve realized that I must aspire to create a cohesion between the mind and the feeling centers of my being. I usually operate on an intellectual level better than the emotional level because it comes to me more easily. Ironically I show great depth of empathy for others yet I fail to sometimes envision my own deeper feelings and emotive motivators that direct me. In establishing a cohesion with all of these forces is the challenge to be reconciled. This could be a daily routine, and with practice one can hope to achieve the balance necessary to bring about change in one’s life that aligns with a true self image. I ask of myself only for patience and dedication, as the rest will take care of itself! I say unto you live a life of possibility, and you will realize the intention you set out to do.
Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.