How to prepare for the journey: gird up your loins

Have you ever felt the anticipation of the journey in front of you, the adventure of your life — exciting, isn’t it?! Consciousness is a two-pronged struggle, a two-front war, to be more dramatic. On the one hand, you have the self that you seek to understand and nurture into a value and a mission; on the other, you have the deep desire to explain yourself so that you can have real identity and comprehension with other human beings: those that “you” love and care for. It is a difficult and taxing brawl, not for the “faint of heart.”

The streets and train stations in many cities are littered with those who have given up the fight, those who have resigned themselves to the fact that this wrestle with life, this battle for existence, is arduous and long with no preset results — no fate determined at birth. The vast majority of “the broken” are addicted to some form of addiction, again self-induced. (1) It is my life and my reality. But, it is worth the struggle? This uniqueness that I have been gifted by the cosmos is but one more addition to the great corpus of humanity. But, I must do something with it.

The expression “gird up your loins” is an interesting one. “Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.” It is originally thought to be from the Book of Job in the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh. (2) The meaning is essential to prepare yourself for the vagaries in the campaign of life.

It is relatively simple to succeed when all conditions are pleasant and beneficial: you have a good job, your boss is decent and the money is sufficient. It is much harder to “stay the course” towards your mission or meaning when difficulty or trauma have become your bedfellows. It is easy to seethe with anger, at yourself or others, when you feel you have been treated unfairly. “How could I let this happen?” or “How could someone do this to me?” are common questions of the human experience.

Behind every bedraggled beggar is usually an excuse for failure. “I am here because … .” Sadly, there is no exoneration from an incomplete life. It is important to note that, because it is your life, it is only you judging its successes or failures. How do I find a method of relief when I feel the most fragile, the most lost, and naked?

In a word — prayer, in whatever form that takes: invocation, incantation, meditation, or a simple walk in communion with nature. So, figuratively speaking, take a spiritual shower and get ready for your expedition. You surely won’t be disappointed. The old suffer mostly suffer not from old age but from the unrequited life.  (Parts of this essay were first published in 2017)

The great Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, (3) leaves us with a thought: You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer.

A closing thought: It quickly becomes apparent to any thinking being that life is fraught with pain and frustration. These emotions are concomitant with those of passion, joy, and pleasure. It is up to each individual to determine which will pilot the liner to its final magnificent destination. I see my world through my five senses. The six sense, our direct communion with God or the cosmos, can only be achieved in a state of sobriety and clarity.

To sum up: This week, we spoke about what or who gets in the way of our success. “You are your own worst enemy,” is the popular idiom. This is a problem common to all men. If we do not want to become wage slaves, a way must be found to alleviate these frustrations.

To be noted: Have you ever been overwhelmed with bureaucracy? I have. My name is Leon. To this end, I do not have a stamp that says L-E-O-N. Recently, I was prevented from opening a bank account until I got one made and duly presented. I am not making this up: great fun! Kafka (4) would be proud.

For reflection: 

This week, please remember your own epiphany moment, through prayer, when you got your “life back on track.”

Every day look for something magical and beautiful.

Don’t be a wage slave – critical thinking is great!

Quote: The greatest gift in life is when you realize that you are in control of your life, though it is like a cork bobbing in the middle of a violent typhoon.