You must do in life what you alone have been “created” to do, which doesn’t mean that your fate is your destiny; because in fulfilling this responsibility — of what you have been given to be — you also realize the possibility of transcending the nature that accompanied you into this life, and whose essence constitutes the possibilities of your character at birth.
Consider the seemingly disparate roles of the warrior and the poet. These types could hardly be more different in the parts they play in life. And yet, seen more closely, both characters express and reflect a single great freedom that each aspires to know, and to live: strength of body and flexibility of mind; power and purity; unflagging persistence in the face of insurmountable odds, including a love of righteousness that overwhelms any native fear.
So the real question before us shouldn’t be “What’s my role in this life?”…But rather, “What’s the root of all my confusion about it?”
Can you think of any natural creature that doesn’t know exactly what to do with every moment of its life? Each is endowed, at birth, with an innermost impulse, and each answers only to its given direction. No Red Robin looks with envy at the talons of a raptor, wondering if it would feel better about itself if only it could swoop down on some unwary rabbit or rat for its meal. Is the great soaring Albatross greater than the simple white Egret that stalks its meal on foot, walking upon the Lily pads?
No creature in nature is plagued with the conflict born of comparing itself to another; none fear they should be something other than they are; each serves all, and all serve each.
If you want to know your real role in life, begin with giving yourself to what you love… And not wasting your precious hours in haunted deliberations over what you think others will love about you if only you “step up” and satisfy their socially contrived expectations.
Do one thing and one thing only: give yourself to what you love; if this passion remains unknown, or uncertain, look for the trail of its promise hidden within you. Follow your longing; it’s already connected to the source of itself, as surely as a river empties into the sea. In the gradual unfolding of this daring act you will come to find, and to know, the greatest love on earth: Being what you are created to be, doing what you alone are meant to do, and knowing that you have found your Self.
“Turning to learning” begins with the honest recognition that our present approach to solving personal problems just doesn’t work. This may come as a surprise: Learning to live without recurring problems begins with losing faith in our habitual responses that tell us how to be free of them.
Losing confidence in your own heated, or heavy-hearted, reactions does not mean that you have to see yourself in a disparaging light, any more than stepping out of the way of a runaway truck would make you think of yourself as a coward.
The superior way for us to deal with personal crisis situations is to let the runaway truck pass us by because we know it’s only a mindless machine. We realize it can’t recognize the danger its own undirected nature represents. This means that we must learn to let our own habitual reactions roll by us because, just like the wild truck, these reactions of ours are mechanical in nature. And since we know that machines can’t learn, this means neither will we learn what is really needed to free ourselves as long we allow our reactions to lead the way.
Reactions never reveal. They conceal. Remaining under the rule of any reaction limits your choices in life to only the direction that reaction gives you to take. But the key point is this: no reaction-supplied direction can ever lead anywhere higher than the level of the reaction. If these mechanical responses actually knew as much as they pretend to, we wouldn’t be repeating the patterns that always lead us back to the same kind of personal problems. It should be clear. Our mechanical reactions are at the root of our persistent problems, and not the way out of them.
Don’t be concerned that what is required of you in some moment of crisis is more than you know how to handle — that if you let your usual reactions go by, you might find yourself unable to learn what you must do. You will learn!
The whole process of self-liberation through higher learning is under definite spiritual laws. The very act of turning away from mechanical reactions is the same as facing in the direction of a free mind. You’ll find that who you really are is an endless learning ground, a limitless possibility for higher and higher self-discovery.