Despite the plethora of sayings, I’m convinced that the road to enlightenment isn’t paved at all. Not with riches, not with reason, not with anything. Instead, enlightenment comes differently for each one of us. That epitome of epiphany depends on your own road in life, and it would be in err to make a generalization.
Then again, that’s just me.
Regardless of my somewhat downtrodden stance on the subject, I’m still a believe that there are strategies for reaching this enlightenment (which I also believe can be dubbed solace or mental balance). I do not claim to be a guru of any sort, nor a spiritual guide. I’m just another traveler, that’s all.
Number 1. Identification
For solace (or for any end you seek), the first step is to understand and identify what it is you seek. Without knowing your destination, you can hardly begin your journey. This may, of course, sound easier than it actually is. But as long as you find a general direction – an underlying focus – you’re well on your way.
For some, this may take many years. For others, they have it down before the law sees them as adults. Just keep this in mind: there are two types of running. First, you can run from something. Sure, this gives you direction; however, you are unaware of (and perhaps unconcerned) with what lies ahead of you. The opposite is running to something. Here, you’ve identified the pathway – you’ve made a goal – you’ve made resolve. This is the ideal form of running.
Number 2.Trust Yourself
Nothing can handicap your journey more than a lack of self-confidence and trust. Not only will your actions suffer, but the effect of those actions (as well as the random stream of events) will be changed for the worse. Tackle the problems you face because you know you can.
I once heard that if you’re really worried about something, perhaps an interview or relationship, it’s because you care. That worry, though, shouldn’t devolve into self-doubt. Instead, it should exist because of you tremendous hope of success. Trust yourself, even in failure, and your road will become slightly more paved.
Number 3. Acceptance
Failure, then, should not be an element of psychological blockage. I do not mean to suggest, though, one should think about failure. There are two general methods of study: the study of failure, and the study of success. It’s too difficult to assess which is more effective, but there is a similar principle in both – you need to accept that ‘such and such’ happened and learn from it.
When you succeed, understand what it is you did. When you fail, understand what it is you didn’t do. Of course, the picture isn’t always clear enough to apply such analysis, but that doesn’t mean you cannot accept what has happened.
Freud once noted that we have something called ‘libido’ (no, not sexual drive – although it does have the same name). Libido represented one’s psychic energy. And just like the fuel in our vehicle, we have a finite amount of it each day. The more you cling to problems or troubles (or successes), the more psychic energy is used, preventing it from being used for new endeavors.
Take each event in passing – each success with a grain of salt, and each failure with a grain of sugar.
Number 4. Optimism and Idealism
With whatever the circumstance you find yourself in, remain optimistic. I do not advocate, however, blind optimism. Instead, I argue for cautious optimism – a sense of an ideal, but with an identification of a reality.
Why is pessimism not included? I simply do not see its benefits. Now, practicality is invited. The general in battle should always be prudent with his or her choices. There is honor in retreat if it means saving the life of your men and women, who would otherwise perish in vain. Pessimism, though, is too negative a plight for any person.
Do not think that you cannot succeed simply because it is hard or it takes an unknown pathway. Those blinded by pride are equally handicapped as those blinded by fear.
Number 5. Embrace the End
After a life of journey, you may find yourself at a completely different end than you originally thought. Perhaps the direction completely changed. Perhaps you have become what you hate.
What do you do?
There are two options: regret and embrace. It may indeed seem right to regret one’s pathway – one that is filled with things you “should have” done. But where does that put you? The road has been traveled – the life has been lived.
Instead, embrace your circumstance and your person. Know that you cannot choose or control your destiny; you can’t only hope to direct it – to angle yourself if in the ideal direction and hope the tide carries you there.
Truly, if you can do these things, you will have found solace or mental balance. These principles look pretty on paper, but they are no easy task, and I have yet to find away to accomplish these goals. Despite the difficulty, I’m hopeful. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to the future – rain or shine, good or bad. Solace is in there somewhere.