You Are Not Alone, or, The Wheelwright
A Story about Our Future
Have you ever wondered why we are here and where this all is going? You are not alone. All you and I really want is to “arrive” and to fully live life. Most of us feel the same; and some of us call this arrival “home” (though we use other names for it as well).
But rather than staying ignorant and feeling behind, allow me to suggest a path toward home. It involves only three concepts; I call them life-wrights. (Like the old-fashioned “wheelwrights” that fixed cartwheels and coach wheels, life-wrights make forward progress immeasurably safer and faster.)
Three life-wrighting concepts
Concept One: There is a significant part of us that is from the future. The future calls us and is our home. (More on this later.)
Concept Two: This Future self is composed of Love, Understanding and Gratitude. Love/ Understanding/ Gratitude are not what we have; they are what we are. Now and Forever.
Concept Three: The more we practice our Future self, the more we realize that we have always been Love, Understanding and Gratitude. This also means that the more we act with Love, Understanding and Gratitude, the swifter we arrive home.
Four spokes, one wheel
Here’s how these three elements (Love, Understanding and Gratitude) work together like spokes of a wheel.
· Gratitude for everything helps us
· Understand who we are and more about our situation. This Understanding melts away our chronic fears. Without fear, we blossom into our
· Love-ing self. As we take action,
· Our Gratitude, Understanding and Love spread beyond our own self-concept and self-contained energy… out to our environment, our family, our tribe and eventually to our enemies.
On this journey we discover (through Love, Understanding and Gratitude) that those “others” are like us, from the future, but (like we used to be) are still whipped by fear into Hate, Ignorance and Neediness, creating Desperate action (HIND) with a fixation on the past.
How the wheel breaks down
When the above concepts feel untenable or we are in a state of fear, we have life-wheel breakdown. (No doubt, you have seen this kind of breakdown anytime you encounter a new way of thinking or doing anything. And we are all habituated to think first with ego, fear and self-interested survival.)
You may ask:
· How could we be “from the future?”
· How could we be beings that are essentially Love, Understanding and Gratitude when there is so much wrong with the world?
· Why would we choose Hate, Ignorance and Neediness when we could have more pleasant and nurturing attitudes instead?
What these questions don’t account for is how much our vision has been tainted by our disappointments and our misguided leaders, how adaptable we are (even when lost and mired), or how we cling to these things in order to belong with our family and friends (who are also in a similar rut in the struggle to survive).
In the place inside that craves Love, Understanding and Gratitude, we instead entertain Hate, Ignorance and Neediness. And so, our choices become committed to HIND sight; we are be HIND, based on the past, living in a virtual swamp, mired and misaligned.
Back to the wheelwright
What a fully functioning wheel and a wheelwright do are all positive and forward moving. The wheelwright does not study the beginnings of the wheel, or tell the world the history of the wheel so the wheel can rise to the occasion. The wheel does not go forward by spinning a tale about where it has been. When the wheel is right with itself and with what it is, it acts on it with almost no effort.
Like the misaligned, stuck or spinning wheel, we need to let the past be less than a memory. Wheels are forward movers! And because a wheel always slows down and performs less precisely if unnecessary hardware or debris get attached to it, we see that there is no need for an ounce of attachment to where we have been.
One more concept to close
Okay, I said there were three concepts. But wheel dynamics require a fourth: letting go of all our past connections and present attachments. This allows us to be the future beings that move foward: home.
It is easy to recognize our present attachments to our stuff, our reputation, job, pleasures, appearance, etc. What we have not recognized (and I say this is almost universally true, even among many so-called advanced spiritual teachers): that going back (reliving the past in any form) is where we add hardware and debris to the wheel, stalling our forward progress.
· Focusing on our proud cultural or family history,
· Trying to recreate our pristine origins,
· Languishing over our “fall from grace,”
· Identifying our present and future problems with earlier (perhaps childhood) traumas,
· Tracing our tribal or family tree,
· Keeping albums and storerooms of memories,
· Practicing traditions that fortified past inequities…
All of these can lock us into a linear (rather than cyclical or multi-layered) concept of time, frustrate our awareness of our future imperative and throw wrenches into our gears of progress. They inspire Fear, Hate, Ignorance, Neediness and Desperate acts.
The wheelwright’s last words
“And there,” the wheelwright exclaimed to me, after several years of repeated fixes, “is where you went wrong.” And then, so I wouldn’t judge myself too strongly for disabling my own progress, he added,
“Not to worry, son. You’re not alone. Now, go forward and remember, there’s no place…”
“Like home,” I breathed.
As I moved toward home more easily with the wheel’s design, I looked back to wave goodbye to the wheelwright.
“No, my good man…keep your eyes front! Otherwise, you’ll need a new alignment in no time!”
copyright 2011 Richard Guy Miller
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