Posts Tagged 'maturity'

When You Can’t See…

speedbump

This is part of a church parking lot near my residence. It is on a route I commonly run as part of my fitness routine. Due to my schedule, I often get up at 0-dark-thirty, braving the cold to run in the morning. There are some lights around, so it’s not completely black. I discovered one morning they had added this feature to the road connecting two lots. I didn’t see it. Imagine running along in the solitude of your thoughts, listening to an old Boston record, then suddenly finding yourself face down on pavement! That fast it jumped up and grabbed my passing foot. (I realized later these had replaced some that were there before, but had been painted with stripes so they stood out in low light.)

My iPhone took the brunt of it. I am nothing if not determined, so I got up, shook it off and ambled on, the inconvenience of darkness suddenly transformed into a protective cloak preventing anyone from seeing my dumb move.

It occurred to me later that when you’re unable to see them, mere speed bumps become stumbling blocks. Getting blindsided is emotionally taxing in the moment, but generally illuminating as we get some distance and reflect. Never one to pass up a good metaphor, I thought about some ways this impacts our lives.

  • An automobile accident – Even the person not at fault will play it back to see if there could have been a way to be more observant, to avoid it. Maybe more alert next time.
  • A hurtful word or phrase – spoken in haste, without proper regard to for the message the hearer takes away. Slow down and think it through before letting emotions carry you too far.
  • An unwanted business or political outcome – Were you wrong, incompetent, or apathetic? What can you do better next time?
  • A breach of trust – Was the trust well grounded?
  • A personal setback – We you trying to leap beyond your means, or was it other circumstances you should have been able to see?

Getting back up and getting on your feet is the easier part. The real key is in taking the lesson being offered to you. Not just during the time of heightened awareness produced by the emotions, but in an embodying, long-lasting way. Some would call that wisdom.

 

 

 

 

 

Structure as Wisdom

Girder1

When we lack the maturity or day-to-day wisdom to guide ourselves properly it can often be compensated for by providing structure.

This is the role of policies, as well as our attempts to remove temptations from our lives. We make rules, rituals, schedules, lists, and even track our actions all to funnel ourselves down a preferred course while trying to hold ourselves accountable to it. Accountable to something tangible. Something that requires a little less thought, or whatever that inner quality is that provides wisdom to us in a way that keeps us content.

Structure is often a valid tactic for managing ourselves as well as others…in the short term. Good habits can be formed. Setting a standard communicates something about ourselves, to ourselves and others. Adhering to one also does. But we mustn’t fool ourselves. Structure can appear as maturity, but it isn’t. It denotes a modicum of it. That one has the foresight and wherewithal to deploy a workable structure is meaningful. But the end game is to not need it.

To live a life where the wants and desires are reconciled with the needs is the real goal. That harmonious balance is the place from where peace and happiness come. Put your structures in place if you need to. Obey the rules where it makes sense. But don’t let them become a crutch for real growth, because they will ultimately hold you back. It would be better to graduate beyond that, to a higher plane of awareness.

Note: this doesn’t mean doing what other people, or society thinks you should do or any conventional wisdom (those are just rules and structures in disguise). It’s a matter of figuring out your real Self, what you really want, and then accepting it and living consistent with it while unburdened from the rest.


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