I was reading just now-- The Wastelands; book 3 in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. I don't know why, but these thoughts came to me:
...actually, I won't jump into the thoughts that came to me, because it won't make any sense that way. I'll start with an explanation and the thoughts will follow. I have always been looking to the next moment. Many people suffer because they live in the past. A few people are at peace because they live in the present. And many people, like me, are never content because they live in the future. I have always been focused on my next achievement, my next place, my next stage in life. Because of this, I guess, I'm always reaching, looking, feeling, dreaming, thinking, wondering... about what comes next; how I will get there; what I will find; how it will be. Now that I am 31 and I have done many things, I feel like I've come to a place in my life where I can look back and connect the dots. I have enough perspective to see where my ways of life have gotten me; enough content to reflect upon and enough distance to enable reflection. I see that my most futile action has been doubting myself. Doubt has created fear and anxiety about the future. Doubt caused me to have higher expectations of myself than was fair or reasonable: I have tried to prepare myself for any contingency. My thought was, Be the best, and no obstacle will matter. Be perfect so my reasons to doubt will be inconsequential. In The Wastelands, I think this is what Roland, the main character, calls "the shadow of your self." I'm going to butcher what Roland says by weeding out the message from the particulars of the story:
You haven't finished, but not because you are afraid to finish. You're afraid of finding you can't finish. You are afraid to go down there, but not because you are afraid of what may come. You're afraid of what may not come. You're not afraid of the world, but of the small one inside yourself. Come from the shadow of yourself. Come now.
I've struggled, and made many mistakes, mostly by doubting myself, by standing in my own shadow, but by reflecting on the things that have come, I have proof enough that I can trust myself, and sometimes I have the presence to step out of my own shadow and see that... I've done good, I think. That's not what this is about, but one thing I've learned is to give myself a break, and to admit sometimes that I'm not perfect but... I've done good. And I don't need to or have to be perfect. My biggest struggle is trying to live in the present, rather than in the future. Trying to live in a place that doesn't exist is very difficult. Trying to live in your own shadow, a shadow that is as long or short as you make it, is very difficult. The future never comes. By the time it gets here, it has morphed into Now... sorry I'm confusing two things. Right now, I'll let them stay strewn amongst each other. They're good friends.
So as I was reading, I sort of had a daydream. I was me, looking through my own eyes, and time was flowing at me and around me. I stayed while everything moved, like a fallen tree in a river, who rocks in the current, but doesn't go along with it. That's like us; timeless with time flowing by. The tree is changed slowly over time by its surroundings, as we are.
In the sense that I write here, balance will never arrive because it is always coming, like time. In this way, life teaches and we make decisions and the learning is never finished. In the true sense, as I see it, when I stop to pull myself out of the gap between the present and the future and stand in the present moment, balance has not arrived because it has never been away. You can't arrive at a place that you have never left. But, there are two worlds of balance; the internal world, in which balance is always available to us if we choose it, and the external world, where balance teeters on the spinning world, reliant on our choices.
I guess that's it. I'm off to read some more.
PS: I don't know if it was the book or what, but sometimes I'm reading and thinking about something else at the same time. No, I'm not that awesome that I can actually do that effectively; I always have to go back and re-read those sections. This happened to me today, and while it did I thought of this:
Like fingers of the blind,
I'm touching you with my mind.