I was walking with a friend, and we were talking about life and its challenges. We were talking about how sometimes we can get driven along by the frenetic pace of life, lose our balance and be tossed around on the currents of circumstances, feeling like we are adrift and aimless. And other times, like we are being bashed against the rocks of life.
As we spoke, a quote from Paulo' Coelho's book The Alchemist came to mind.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
The Alchemist is a story of a boy named Andalusian and his journey in pursuit of his treasure. It chronicles his interaction with people and circumstances that while independent of each other work to help our hero discover a deep sense of self, meaning, purpose, and ultimately .. his treasure.
So, I shared the quote in the context of the conversation, and it was mistaken for an idea that was taught as a part of what many might know as the Secret. (It was one of those reminders that context is indeed everything and my friend was privileged to the unspoken context in my own thoughts.)
No, I am talking about something much more significant. Something that satisfies deeper than the allure of the Let's Make a Deal life, and one in which our deepest self is discovered - the treasure. When we commit ourselves to something bigger than ourselves, we discover ourselves in a transformative way in the process.
Happiness Paradox - the counter-intuitive relationship between seeking happiness as an end in itself and actually achieving it. Research has demonstrated an inverse relationship between one's pursuit of happiness as an end unto itself and the elusiveness of feelings of happiness. Research reveals that those who have the most of what is often believed would make them happy (money), often reported feeling the least happy.
It is in the process of the journey that we learn the path is one which looks like we give ourselves away or downward mobility. We realize that self-discovery is not found from within the Billabong of self-centeredness, rather it is found in things bigger than the egoic, small self. That bigger thing that with time, we find has resided within us, as if from the very beginning. Jesus would talk about this when he spoke about those who cling to their life will lose it, and those who gift their lives as a gift to others will find genuine, deep life.
To do so, we commit ourselves to love, to faithfulness, to generosity of spirit, peacemaking, to truth (as an experience not necessarily a set of propositions) and wisdom (defined as integrated living of truth in real life). The lived journey of cultivating these in our lives will excavate our true self from the cultural graffiti that has super-imposed its vision of who you are upon you. As you live into life through love, mercy, beauty, generosity, and creativity, you will discover your emerging true self as a natural process of the journey itself. You see, what you are really seeking is not found at the destination, but in making the journey itself, it's that we realize the truth of is the case when we arrive at the subjective destination. In the words of T.S. Eliot:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
It is to this way that all of the universe conspires in helping you discover authentic life, - your treasure. The process of this journey not only serves you but as we discover our true self, as we become love, it inspires everyone and everything around us. Our becoming, living from our authentic self, contributes to others on the same journey. We serve as signposts and encouragement for them along the way. We become co-creators with the universe (I prefer God) of the new creation, and you'll discover your unique place in it.