It seems strange to say this but some of the best moments of inspiration I have experienced in my life came whilst reading books. Flashes of insight revealing how others overcome huge challenges gives me inspiration.
An insight that allowed me to bond much better with people was to recognise that we are all connected, indeed how we are all ‘one’. It may seem like a sort of woo woo mother earth kind of concept, but for me the message hit home slowly and over multiple iterations and inspirations. What hit me was that we all share the same experience of life, albeit we interpret that experience in our own unique way.
But the essence of it is that the experience is the same for all of us – we are all struggling.
We may tell ourselves different stories as to why we struggle, or even that we are not struggling, or that we do nothing but struggle, but one way or another nobody goes through life plain sailing.
We all have the same deepest fears – the fear of not being loved or not being ‘enough’, and again we tell ourselves different stories about this, most of the time not acknowledging that this is really where the chips on our shoulders come from.
For me the realisation that this is our plight was illuminating and inspiring, it made me feel more connected to people and less judgmental. We all do what we all do as a way of dealing with these very fears – we may all seem to do it in different ways, but in fact our different ways are not that different at all. They are so similar and so predictable that artificial intelligence bots can be programmed to respond to us based on our fears.
We all have the same set of needs, and of course food, air and water are needs, but this is not what I mean. We all have the same psychological mental spiritual needs, but we go about fulfilling them differently.
How we go about fulfilling them is how we live our lives. If we do this the ‘wrong way’ we end up suffering, and if we do it the ‘right way’ we end up happy with meaningful lives.
When we get into the habit of doing things the ‘wrong’ way it can be very difficult to get ourselves out of that pattern, because we have become identified with it and this takes the problem to another level. There are however some key tools we can use that will get us out of there, but the catch is that we have to be willing to use them – and that’s a big catch because the tendency is to not exercise will power for fear that we will have to face facts which are uncomfortable.
These tools were mostly learned from great books that changed my life in subtle ways and gently inspired me back on the track of meaningfulness.
One of those tools is to take total responsibility for our lives. Make no mistake about it, many people cannot bring themselves to do this and as a result we live in a blame culture. It permeates our political life and the media representation of it. People avoid responsibility explaining it away using internal stories that allow themselves off the hook. I’ve done it many times.
Another tool is to practice delaying gratification. This is the famous Marshmallow test! Find a kid who can delay gratification and you have a winner!
And finally, if there is one overriding principle I use as a tool to help me find my way it is dedication to the truth. This is not an easy one to explain because truth can be different to different people. It’s not, as it may seem at first glance, a universal truth. It’s not the kind of truth you find in a murder mystery…did you shoot her to death or not?
The truth is to do with more than just facts, though it must be built on facts. It is to do with what one truly feels, and it is precisely because it is based on a feeling that it can be misinterpreted. So, the key is not to get hung up on what the truth ‘is’ but rather to pursue truth as an ideal, knowing that you wont always get it right.
If you face infertility the above rules will get you home – if you are willing to (ie have to will to) use them.