A political victory, a rise in rents, the recovery of your sick, or return of your absent friend, or some other quite external event, raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you. Do not believe it. Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, from “Self-Reliance”
It seems to me that circumstances, when they are agreeable, make it feel like we’re on the right path. Everything looks good and there seems to be no reason to make adjustments. Needs are hard to notice while they’re being met.
When circumstances go awry, we look for what we’re missing.
Maybe agreeable circumstances can be found, much of the time, along the wrong path too.
So maybe agreeability and ease are not such good signposts for finding the right path.
The path we’re on, then, isn’t what we do, or where we are. It’s why we do what we do, and how we got where we are.
Our principles define the path that’s right for us. We don’t choose them, we uncover them.
If we aren’t living up to our principles we are wandering off the path, even if circumstances still feel quite agreeable, for the moment.
When circumstances become disagreeable, clear principles will illuminate the right path. If better days happen to arrive on their own accord, they may only make you forget to look for it.
What do you think?
Photo by David Cain
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