Hello, dears! I’ve caught myself thinking a lot about virtues and vices lately (thanks, ‘Ristotle), and especially the ideals we strive towards. I felt inspired a few days ago to write a poem about this subject, but the poem was abstract and short, quite limiting for all that I wanted to say (you can read it at the end of this entry). Since all my thoughts didn’t fit in a few lines, here’s a blog about the Settings of Our Lives. Some things are really worth writing more extensively about.
Symbols, words, labels
First, some basic but fundamental information on symbols. The relevance of this will follow as you continue to read. So, symbols. We use symbols to make sense of our reality and we make use of these same symbols to construct our reality – as in, you know, language consists of words, which are essentially symbols. Symbols are used to represent something else, and only carry the meanings we give them individually and collectively. If I ask you the role or definition of a “mother”, I bet that our use of symbols, including the words we use to define “mother”, might differ, but the common understanding is a shared one – and created with symbols. If I ask you what you make out of the word “friend”, though our definitions might differ, the central concept will have similarities. Some of us have a broad vocabulary, and some languages are more extensive than others – allowing some to communicate relatively with more ease in comparison to others who know less words, or who use less words.
Symbols are very useful – even needed in today’s world. Symbols make reading this possible. It is with symbols that we create and share thoughts and beliefs. We create identities with symbols. Beyond identities, we create the world with symbols. All our systems are based on symbols. Symbols are important, y’all. Words matter. Still, a mistake many of us make in the process of conceptualizing our existence and constructing our reality is forgetting that words are like bridges to convey thoughts and information, to define, and create, but will never be that which uses them. Symbols will be never that which designed them.
So, why would users of words, creators of symbols, constructors of reality, let these symbols, these words, define the existence of What Is? There are many answers to this question. One of my beliefs is that we learn to become words. Since very young, we learn symbols, we use symbols, we communicate with symbols, and we create expectations from- and attachment to symbols.
Now, back to the notion of virtues that I started this post with. To me, virtues are essentially words with expectations. Words that for some, become goals and ideals. When it comes to morality, what is good and what is bad, who is a good person and who isn’t, we use words as well. Words that for some, become goals and ideals.
For example, ever since I went through my Spiritual Awakening, I wanted to be more of the “good”. Embody only the “good”, actually. I wanted to give “light” as opposed to “darkness”. I wanted to be “kinder”, more “generous” and “helpful” to those around me, embody more “love” and “grace” – basically all of the “good” things – because that was my symbolic understanding of what a virtuous, good, Godly person was. Nothing bad or wrong with wanting to be a “better” person – whatever that means to you and your personal philosophies -, but it becomes problematic when you deny your present state out of shame of yourself. A shame that comes out of your own expectations of who you should be, given who you declared you are (going to be). This happened to me.
I went through that phase for some years and am still going through parts of it till this day. I have felt ashamed of my behavior, my habits, my lacking will… Oftentimes I’ve felt ashamed of things I do and did that don’t match my ideals of who I should be or should have been (by now). Actions that don’t live up to my self-imposed expectations. I became imprisoned by my own mind and often punished myself with more shame and judgment.
This went on intensely for a few years. Until I decided it became too big of a burden to carry. Too many words to be. Too many things to accomplish. Too many goals to achieve. Simply because of the words I use and the settings of my life.
What’s the deal with Settings?
A setting can be associated with an environment, situation or position. When I write or talk about “the settings of our lives,” I mean the situations, the positions, and environments we find ourselves in. Every moment has a setting, and because of this, every moment is a portal for Spirit to come forth.
Spirit is beyond any symbols and can be in every setting. When there is a lack of harmony between Spirit and mind, we say one thing and do the other. This is because the mind is in command – and the mind in command is very unreliable. We become disillusioned by our actions, as we carry the burden of who we are and who we wish we were.
I noticed that the settings of our lives are the perfect premises to evolve. Too bad, though, without awareness of the present moment, the settings of our lives can also add to more insecurities, more self-doubt, and more of what we don’t want to be or experience.
This is because the settings of our lives, basically every moment, grants us an opportunity to BE. Be loving, kind, friendly, loyal, and wise. Be sensual and sexual, be honest, confident, motivated, graceful, compassionate, and just. The settings of our lives also give us a stage to be mad, fearful, jealous, hostile, unkind, demotivated. The present moment lets us be anything we can be, but most importantly, be aware. Being aware grants us the opportunity to choose what to do consciously. But, the thing is, these constantly fleeting moments pass by so fast that we often miss the windows we have to be more of what we want.
We mostly think of our existence in terms of becoming (future tense), whereas the portal to being anything is in the present moment – not somewhere in the future. As you work through the limitations and expectations, and the hopes and ambitions you have put for yourself, always remember that at the end of the day, symbols are meant to serve us, not enslave us. Be mindful to not become a prisoner of your own thoughts – your own shoulds and shouldn’ts. For every moment you spend lost in them, an opportunity to be, whatever you really consciously want to be, passes you by.
So next time you must wait, remember that it’s the perfect setting to be patient.
The next time you sense hostility, remember that it’s the perfect setting to be graceful.
The next time you face irritation, remember that it’s the perfect setting to be kind.
The next time you catch a random thought, remember that it’s the perfect setting to be aware.
Remember that every moment can serve you to be who you are being, who you don’t like being, and who you wish you were.