“My definition of a devil is a god who has not been recognized,” said mythologist Joseph Campbell. “It is a power in you to which you have not given expression, and you push it back. And then, like all repressed energy, it builds up and becomes dangerous to the position you’re trying to hold.”
17th-century writer Rene Descartes is regarded as the father of modern philosophy and founder of rationalism. His famous catchphrase is a centerpiece of Western intellectual tradition: “I think, therefore I am.” Here’s what’s amusing and alarming about the man: He read almost nothing besides the Bible and the work of Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas.
You can’t give what you don’t have. Here’s a corollary: You can sort of half-give what you half-have, but that may lead to messy complications and turn out to be worse than giving nothing. Devote yourself to acquiring a full supply of what you want to give. Be motivated by your frustration at not being able to give it yet. Call on your stymied generosity to be the driving force to inspire you to get missing magic. When you’ve got it, give it.
One of your allies or loved ones will get caught in his or her own trap. Your response will be crucial for how the rest of the story goes. On one hand, you shouldn’t climb in the trap with them and get tangled. On the other hand, it won’t serve your long-term interests to be cold and unhelpful. What’s the best strategy? First, sympathize with their pain, but don’t make it your own. Second, tell the blunt truth in the kindest tone possible. Third, offer limited support without compromising your freedom or integrity.
In 1936, Libran author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about the “crack-up” he’d experienced years earlier, including this tough realization: “I had been only a mediocre caretaker of most of the things left in my hands, even my talent.” This is a seed for your oracle.
On a late summer day in 1666, scientist Isaac Newton was sitting under an apple tree in his mother’s garden in Lincolnshire, England. An apple fell from a branch, plummeting to the ground. A half-century later, he told his biographer this incident inspired him to formulate the theory of gravity. Fast-forward to 2010.
Most birds don’t sing unless they’re up high, flying or perched somewhere. One species that isn’t subject to this limitation is the turnstone, a brightly mottled shorebird. As it strolls beaches in search of food, it croons a tune the Cornell Lab of Ornithology calls “a short, rattling chuckle.”
Let’s discuss that thing you’re eyeing, coveting and fantasizing about. You can enjoy it without actually having it for your own. It’s best if you enjoy it without possessing it. There’s an odd magic at play here. If this thing becomes a fixed part of your life, it may interfere with you attracting two future experiences I see as more essential to your development.
“Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way,” said philosopher Alan Watts. You’ve either recently made a personal discovery proving this true, or you’ll soon do so. The brain-scrambling, heart-whirling events of recent weeks have blessed you with lots of shiny new questions, vibrant replacements for tired old questions that kept at least one old dilemma in place.
“There is for everyone some one scene, some one adventure, some one picture that is the image of his secret life,” said Irish poet William Butler Yeats. Identify that numinous presence. Then celebrate and cultivate it. Give it special attention, pay tribute and shower love on it. Now’s an excellent time to recognize how important your secret life is – and make it come more fully alive than ever.