A good practice is to ask yourself very sincerely, “Why was I born?” Ask yourself this question in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night…every day.
~ Ajahn Chan
~ Ajahn Chan
Use missteps as stepping stones to deeper understanding and greater achievement. – Susan Taylor
Now that I’ve begun to understand and achieve more, it’s easier to relate to this quote than it was in years past. I no longer have regret, and I know that I am not making excuses when I say that I needed all the missteps in my life to bring me to this threshold of the latter half of my life.
That’s not to say there aren’t things in my life that I wish I could change; many of the things I would most like to change come from the missteps of my life (as do most of the things in my life I would not change)…but, each thing in this world is created with its opposite – much like a sheet of paper has two sides. It’s more than simply having to take the good with the bad; it’s accepting that light causes shadow, footsteps leave footprints, the sounds we hear are causing disruption to the air around us…and each thing we do (or don’t do) has some type of effect which is only good or bad depending on our perspective.
I’ve been explaining the concept of karma to my children this week; especially I’ve had to work to dispel the common notion that there is “good karma” and “bad karma” – there is neither. Karma is simply a force which can have desirable or undesirable effects, or which can be used to create or destroy, help or hurt. The example I have used most often is that of our breath, which can be used either to blow out a candle or fan a flame into a fire. The breath is the same, only the intent is different. (Of course, we could fan a flame into a fire that causes massive destruction – but, the question would be: was the destruction our intent, or was the intent simply to have a fire to warm ourselves or cook with….).
As humans, it is very easy to get caught up in analyzing our actions and the result of our actions, rather than simply acting with the intent of doing the least harm possible to ourselves or anyone/anything else. What it boils down to is love, love for each other, love for life and living and love for ourselves. What we love, we will not harm. And the harm we do cause (harm, after all, is inherent in this world) we can call missteps – stepping stones to deeper understanding and greater achievement.