If you’re lost, look to the sky.
The sun, stars, and planets all move from West to East. If it’s too cloudy to see them, work with what’s at hand and be patient.
Once you have a sense of direction, you can get going. Let’s say we want to see the Pacific Ocean. That’s far to West from where I am. So we follow the sunrise, moonrise, and starise.
It’s a long, difficult journey. It’s easy to get worn out, lose focus, or forget why we set out to begin with. The Pacific Ocean is so far off that it’s an abstract notion, and all these berries, streams, and reasonably comfortable caves are right here.
“Why am I doing this?” is a constant companion along the way. “What’s the point?”
If we can’t answer, or if we decide that it’s more trouble than it’s worth, then that’s the same thing as losing direction. We might still be able to tell East from West, but it’s not going to matter.
If we’re clever, we might rationalize it by saying, “There’s no such thing as East and West! Those are just words!” But unless we’ve seen that directly, then they’re still more than words to us.
Don’t cheat yourself by being smart.
If you want to see the ocean just to see it, or so that you can be someone who can say, “I’ve seen it,” then that’s a weak motivation; you’ll lose energy thousands of miles from the goal and the trip is going to be arduous every step of the way.
The best answer is, “Because I have to.” You have to feel called to it, called to the waves, the sea air, the sand and the view. Called to it to the point that the ocean is there with you with each step. It’s with you in the valleys and fields, it’s with you in the swamps, deserts, and mountains. It’s with you in blizzards and on sunny days.
This call to understanding is extremely rare, but anyone can rouse it as long as they have enough doubt. Doubt in the answers we’ve already been given, doubt in finding lasting happiness in changing things. Doubt in our labels, views, and meanings, but never doubt in ourselves.
There we need trust. Trust in ourselves, trust in the call, the journey, the directions, and the ocean. Trust in doubt. This is all that we need to set out, and having set out, keep going.
When we finally get to the ocean, when we finally see it sprawling beyond the horizon and jump into its embrace, that’s when we know that that call was the ocean the entire time.
The call was never for us to move, but for us to be moved.
Because we don’t have a choice, we’re going to be moved, we’re being moved right now. But if we can truly let ourselves be moved, then it seems like nothing’s moving at all.