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Of patience, persistence and the art of independence.
It is the natural inclination of the human being to be accommodating. To bend to the will of the environment, and in a way this is possibly one of the primary reasons the species has been so successful. Because we're so adaptable and eager to adapt.
However, this is also probably one of the primary obstacles to our happiness.
Let me explain.
We are not all just one environment, one surrounding, but a diverse cultural and geographical array of great diversity and our adaptability is not absolute. Instead, our adaptability appears to decrease with age, which is understandable to an extent. Once a habit has been reinforced for 20 years it becomes all that harder to break.
This creates a pattern where we spend our early years being molded and shaped by one environment only to leave it for another in adulthood and beyond that we find ourselves discovering that our environment is not static, it changes.
Yes, we are eager to bend to fulfill our place in our surroundings, but this gets harder with time, and even more difficult the more foreign our surroundings are to us.
And so, we find ourselves either trying to change the world around us against it's will, or we try to change ourselves against our own will. Neither are exercises that are likely tosucceedand so we reap nothing but anger, hostility, pain and resentment for our efforts.
By changing the world around us I do not mean the fight for freedom, I mean the fight to oppress. There's a difference between demanding that the world allow you to make up your own mind and demanding that the world agree with you.
When we inevitably find that we are unable to control the beliefs of others we seek out those who already agree with us, seekingsolaceand support in a smaller environment, a society within society. We do this in part because we are adaptable, and so our beliefs, feelings and ideals will always be fragile, changable with the environment we inhabit.
Sometimes we do this because we need somewhere where we are free of fear, but sometimes we do this because we need to find somewhere where we aren't demonstrably in the wrong.
The adaptability we have isn't patient and so exercising patience is often difficult. It can be seen as something that goes against our nature. But truly, I believe that patience is never the less essential in order for us to be able to find happiness in life,in spiteof our adaptability.
Our adaptability depends on freedom and harmony. The freedom to live in harmony with ourselves without detriment to our harmony with society. It's only when we have that freedom and that harmony that we can experience true joy.
And so, when society won't change to accommodate us we become frustrated and angry, and when we sacrifice our own harmony for sake of society we become depressed.
So where does independence factor in?
We, as a species, aredependenton one another for survival. No man is an island and no man can be. Our minds and bodies deteriorate without the support of ourpack-mates without human contact, and we can not hide from this reality of our nature.
But we have become too dependent on the thoughts and ideas of others. Too dependent on agreements. Too dependent on things that do not affect us, that aren't ours.
We carry the weight of the opinions of others upon our shoulders as if their opinions were our food and drink.
At times, the opinions of others can be a matter of life or death, for example when their opinion calls for our deaths, but in reality, most of the time, the opinions of others are not something that affects us so deeply, not unless we choose to make them affect us deeply.
Life is like one big classroom, and carrying the opinions and ideas of others on our shoulders, allowing them to weigh us down, is as if we are carrying the schoolbooks and schoolwork for all the other people
These things aren't ours. These things aren't ours to carry. These things aren't our responsibility, and yet we insist on carrying them upon our shoulders, even if these aren't even truly the right things. We assume and give opinions to others and then proceed to choose to weigh ourselves down with our own assumptions.
Independence, true independence, is to see, to know that what we are carrying isn't ours to carry. This realization allows us the freedom from the weight, should we choose to put it down.
It is in that moment when we claim our freedom to be in harmony with ourselves and in turn give openly the same freedom to others, because by realizing that our opinion isn't theirs to carry we stop trying to place it upon their shoulders. We free ourselves and we grant freedom.
And those that learn this do get asked how they found the strength to defy convention, how they found the courage to stand up and be themselves even if it meant being different, and the answer is simple.
We found the reason to let go of what wasn't ours to carry anyway.
And by spreading this word, we spread freedom.
Is there any greater gift?