Round We Go. . .

The modern world is preoccupied with novelty, to our cost, for much that we are and love is not new. The compensation – and consolation – we need lies in carefully reminding ourselves of the balancing importance of things that are recurring and cyclical.

When we remember history (not live in it), rather than the news of today, we stand to discover that crises and emergencies, disasters, corruption and incompetence are pretty standard – to some degree – of all societies. Of course we want things to go better: but if we look at and remember history we gain a wiser sense of what improvement plausibly looks like. We won’t be drawn to dramatic solutions, we’ll be more patient with small-scale, boring-sounding incremental steps; we’ll not be too dismayed by life’s inevitable setbacks.

If we look at enough relationships through the lens of recurrence, we will similarly start to realize that there are issues that standardly arise and, therefore, are likely to feature in our own loves as well. If we look at enough careers in detail, here too we will discover just how much difficulty and pain lie behind all those goals and lofty accomplishments.

That problems occur is not the fault of anyone in particular. They are tied to quite basic features of the human condition: our limited self-knowledge; the fact that we must take decisions from a position of ignorance via our faulty minds. We may temporarily stave off or sidestep problems – but they will always make a return to our lives in some form. They belong to the cyclical downturns of the human condition.

Nature is perhaps the supreme teacher of the idea of recurrence. By studying it, we are continually meeting the same patterns: a tree puts out its first buds, it blossoms and comes into leaf; its fruit ripens and falls; the leaves change colour, wither and are blown away by the wind, leaving the branches bare. Our lives are at points no less similar and subject to necessity. Concentrating on the recurrent patterns of nature primes us to understand the structure of our own embodied lives.

We should not expect to have mysteriously escaped the laws of existence. We remain part of the beautiful cycle of time. There is, thankfully, little that is ever entirely and thus the paths we walk are well worn and we can rest a bit more easily through our understanding that we may be unique, but the journey is shared by all.

Peace and Love, Jim

#walkgratefully #thedailybuddha

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