If you’re human, and I’m assuming most of you are, you likely think about a “perfect” life sometimes. I don’t mean peace, love, and harmony kind of perfect, I mean that one where you have the perfect job, perfect body, perfect relationship, and perfect mate. In that perfect life, you always have plenty of time, plenty of money, and feel loved and fulfilled all the time.
This kind of thinking is funny, in a way, because you may not think about it like it actually could be true, but as an “it sure would be nice if…” kind of situation. You know you won’t have it, but it doesn’t stop the fantasy. We’ll call it “ideal.” It’s ideal because, well, it’s an idea. Ideals are fine, but they really only serve you if they spur you to do something. They don’t really help if you think your life blows in comparison.
Ideals are something you can aspire to, but they’re always limited by the material, or actual, life. I mean the world that shows up with all of the limitations of time, money, job, kids, weather, distance, motivation, monkey wrenches, flies in the ointment, and other various and sundry circumstances and conditions that pop up like weeds in your Garden of Eden.
That doesn’t mean that material is bad, it’s just different from ideal. It’s almost two ways to see the same world. Both actually have validity and are real in different situations. What I really want to bring your attention to is a third way to see that same world. It takes the same ideas and circumstances into account but looks at them through an extremely power lens. The lens of action.
You see all three of these views swirl together and change the ebb and flow of your concept of reality, but the one that really changes things is action. No idea by itself changes anything. The material world will go on happening to you if you just sit there. It is action that lights the fire. You can talk all day about what you want your life to be like. You can analyze like crazy all the reasons it’s not that way. And neither will change things one bit.
Nothing transforms like action.
No amount of thinking, talking or analyzing goes even 1% as far.
Without action, your experience of life will be formed by your opinion of what happens to you.
It really doesn’t matter if it’s the right action. It’s almost an insane worry. Each thing you do will give rise to innumerable effects you couldn’t have planned for. Many of them will be far more interesting than what you were going for anyway.
There’s a concept in Zen called shoshaku jushaku. It means “Life is one continuous mistake.” It literally translates to “succeed wrong with wrong” and it describes a life of mastery. You have no chance at mastery without making many mistakes, one after the other.
How will you know you are taking action? You are making mistakes! How will you know you aren’t taking action? You aren’t making any mistakes. Make them! And they will make your life.
Photo Credit: “Flashmob” by JD Hancock – Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons