As I get older my life appears to repeat itself in cycles and patterns of behaviour. Past failures, momentary successes and experiences seem to materialise, dematerialise and then rematerialize in divers ways and forms.
And unable to break free all I have is a feeling of powerlessness and hopelessness; as if some indescribable and ominous force controls my free will. Of course this could be a self-fulfilling prophecy, and my very own destruction may be self-inflicted, my fall foretold and my fate may be signed, sealed and delivered. Over and oven again.
So what if my desires were conflicted? What if I do not really know what my desires are? And what if I do not really know what desire is?
I believe that there is a cognitive dissonance between what we as individuals and as a collective want to experience in this present moment, versus what we think we must work towards and desire in order to live in the present moment.
During my 20s I spent a significant proportion of my time trying to prove to myself that I was not a failure. And I had some short-lived, fleeting success in my employment going from job-to-job, getting pay rises, taking on greater responsibilities and buying more expensive suits.
I would always compare myself to others in a negative light; I would feel insecure and see myself as less than my colleagues because of their qualifications, their buzz-words, their appearance, their interests and their reputations, so I would try and work myself up to be their equal. The irony being that I would invest all of my energy into getting the next job or promotion and in modelling myself based on what I saw as successful, in the hopes that it would make me happier and give me some greater sense of self-satisfaction and pride.
A good analogy would be the symbol of the Ouroboros, the symbol of the serpent eating its tail. I imagine the serpent desiring to eat, but in its desire to be full it consumes itself; a paradox of human existence when chasing what we believe that we desire, but harming ourselves in the process. And this is because we do not know what we really want, we do not know ourselves and do not know what is good for each and every one of us. Instead our only desire is solely fixated on our next meal, pay check or our next task or step in society as we know it. And this knowledge of these other things supersedes our knowledge of self.
But it is when the serpent takes its own tail out of its mouth, when you are alone, when you are not occupied by meetings, and lingo, and reports and charts; when you are not on autopilot, and when your mind is not occupied with writing the next report, preparing for the next presentation or even deciding what you will eat for lunch. It is that moment when you must have the courage to go through the gates of ‘Hell’, and pierce the void of pain and the world of the unknown in order to find true sustenance, in order to ascend to ‘Heaven’ so to speak.
In summary, when you begin from a position of powerlessness as I have, and as many of you all may have experienced then you will always be chasing your own tail. Your purpose will be shaped by whatever necessitates your survival but never about living, and when we confuse survival with desire then we can never truly live.
But if we can all truly learn to live with and for ourselves then we will truly know free-will, then we can break those cycles that seem to hold us back.