Just about everything you need to know about life lies in nature. The knowledge of God, the knowledge of self, the one true knowledge, lies in nature all around us.
In nature you will find hills, valleys, mountains, plains and plateaus. The mountains and their peaks, come seldom and far in between. In our lives, we will be faced with great, seemingly insurmountable obstacles, but they will come seldom, and far in between. We will also come to moments of great revelations, life-changing moments where we will make complete 360 degree quantum leaps, the stuff of pure cosmic intervention, the peaks of our lives, but they will also come seldom and far in between. To reach those peaks, one way or another, we will have to climb those mountains.
Opportunities and Triumphs
We will have to put in the work, be consumed with exhaustion, despair, burning pain and even tears. But in each of those moments of desperation, an opportunity presents itself to demonstrate fortitude, exercise resilience, strengthen our willpower, show grit, build on our character, lean on faith, be relentless in hope, focus on progress and celebrate the small victories. This is the journey. This is life. Those glorious peaks are only the rewards of the journey, the cherry on top – they are neither the journey itself, nor the destination.
Happiness is not a goal, it’s a by-product of a life well lived.
― Eleanor Roosevelt
Plains and plateaus also occur as frequently in nature as they do in our lives. Sometimes life is drudgery, it’s nothing happening, nothing lit. We often make the mistake of thinking that we are stuck when life plateaus out, an unsettling and worrisome feeling, but that is not the case. There is beauty in those plains. There is serenity, contentment and even though it looks like you’ve been walking for miles and are still no closer to your destination, there is paced progress. Something is happening.
Every other day we have our battles and triumphs, hills and valleys, some bigger than others. It is the jig of life, the up and down rhythm that we should enjoy in the same way we enjoy the climax of a song and the feeling of satiation we experience as it declines. If you replay the climax of a song enough times, you’ll get sick of it eventually. In business, we call that the law of diminishing returns.
Clinging onto the good moments in life, (and the mind has a way of doing that, replaying them constantly and trying to relive them), causes an imbalance. Other areas of your life are neglected. That dopamine high is not physically sustainable and it is not meant to be. Constantly chasing it and seeking it is one of the main reasons we fall into addictions. To be truly content in life, you have to strive to be aware of where you are, and make peace with it. Go with the flow, roll with the punches and trust your journey.
For just one second, look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there’s nothing else. It’s here, and you’d better decide to enjoy it or you’re going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever.
― Lev Grossman