We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. – T. S. Eliot
This post is a watershed. It’s been a difficult post to write .. because I’ve been wanting too much of it. I want to sum up where I’ve been that led me to this point, where I’m at right now, and what steps I’m committing to.
I’ll start with my big commitment – the writing and sharing of weekly blog posts. I know this one action will challenge me to take charge of my life. The challenge for me is both the declaring and nailing down of an idea or thought (rather than endlessly exploring it), and then in sharing it publicly. My past experience has been that I play with ideas in my head, but when I come to write them down, lofty thoughts suddenly appear as half baked musings. And to share an idea that I haven’t got entirely clear in my head has felt abhorrent to me. But the catch 22 is that endlessly rolling an idea around in my head does not lead me to clarity, but rather into a tangled and ill defined hazy mess. I’ve come to realise that waiting for clarity before taking action is, for me, a pathway to insanity. So here I will offer up my thoughts, with the intention of moving towards those thoughts becoming more refined, partly by getting them out there, and also by allowing for the input and feedback of others. I accept the need to get comfortable with the inevitable mess that may emerge .. and to honour that as part of the process.
It’s only from travelling to the depths of despair that I have come to see that sharing my thoughts is the first step on my path forward. I’ve been searching for years to find what contribution or offering I might have for the world that is in alignment with my own needs. In truth, my needs are very humble. I have learnt to minimise needs in order to retreat from the world and explore in my own time and my own way. The one thing always driving me has been a desire for Clarity.
Clarity, to me, feels like open space, ease, freedom, inspiration, joy and lightness. I have searched for it in so many places .. in meditation, in constant study, in travelling to different cultures, in seeking to understanding vastly different people and lifestyles, in searching for the essence, the deeper truth, of any moment. It has had me finish degrees that I might well have stepped out of earlier, to strive towards a life with as few attachments as possible, striving for the simplest solution to any problem, to strive to find, ultimately, the purpose for my life.
In my dream scenario I would experience a flash of enlightenment, after which everything would be easy. I’ve come to see life doesn’t work like that. Instead I’ve found that while bursts of clarity gave my life moments of joy, they never gave me the elusive answer I was searching for .. the answer to the Meaning of Life .. although I believe I’m getting closer than I’ve ever been .. Which brings me to what was perhaps my biggest source of clarity ever .. my discovery about three months ago of a system of personality types called the Enneagram.
The teachings of the Enneagram, in the first instance, described to me – with clarity – my own search for clarity. Turns out that is the natural inclination of my personality type (type 5). The Enneagram maps out nine personality types, describing how different people experience and relate to the world according to beliefs and structures that are fundamental to their personality type. After a lifetime as ‘the observer’, the clarity I experienced in learning about the Enneagram felt mind-blowing. I watched as my mind travelled back in time to every person and situation I had observed, and it felt like I was watching the trillions of pieces of a puzzle flying through the air and falling into place. It felt like the world and my life suddenly made sense.
In my ideal scenario, this would have been where suddenly everything got easier and the next steps would be clear. Instead I went down another rabbit hole where the impact of my withdrawal into mental constructs became painfully apparent. It seemed to be a wake up call to step out of my head and into the world. I got a clear message that I need to move into action. Writing and sharing this post is a step in that direction.
In upcoming posts I intend to explore a range of thoughts and ideas that I have been dwelling on. Is there is something I’ve touched on that you’d like to hear more about? Do you have any comments or thoughts? Please share. Communication opens up our world.