It is so easy to get lost in the details that we fail to see the big picture. Why do we spend so much energy in the minutiae seeing the trees within the forest and missing out on the beauty of the forest by focusing so much attention on that one individual leaf on that one singular tree which is not pointing at the sun?
It’s so much more satisfying and self-nurturing to spend most of our energy admiring the majesty of the suns’ rays shining off those leaves which are pointing towards the sun rather than wasting our attention on those leaves which are leaning toward the ground and living in the shadow.
It is always our choice to choose the light or the shadow, to look at the positive or the negative; the cup half empty or half full. Or is it? Always our choice. I read the other day that when visible light occupies the space which darkness occupied before the darkness doesn’t disappear. The proof is that once the light is removed darkness is there. It never left, it just sharing space with the ‘light’.
I now understand that it is my culture, beliefs and values which determines how I see the world. My religious upbringing, my parents’ outlook on life, and how I have followed their paradigm of ‘the given’ or whether I’ve challenged their every value and belief which they naturally passed on to me with or without intent. So how is it that I challenged my culture and my siblings didn’t?
Was it a matter of intelligence? or just a quirk of character? Or perhaps a piece of divine destiny?
So how is it that out of all my six siblings only two of us chose to challenge the paradigm, ‘the given’, the culture. My older brother, being second born, was naturally poised to challenge his older brother’s values and beliefs; the older brother not knowing he was imitating the ‘father’. Anyway, to make a long story short, my second oldest brother drowned when he was eighteen years old and I was ten years old.
I didn’t find out that he was non-conformist until later on in my adolescent life as I also became rebellious and was told by my parents that I would not live to be old if I didn’t mend my ways. Was that like trying to say that if I didn’t conform I would drown like my brother or die prematurely?
Well, maybe, and maybe not. Perhaps the intent wasn’t clear in their minds nor was it intended to be malicious. I think their intent was to say anything which might get me to conform like my other siblings. Why did I have to be the ‘rebel’? Because I chose to be?
Anyway I digress. I got lost in the details of my brothers’ drowning and totally missed the ‘big picture’ that non-conformists are likely to not live as long as conformists because they take more risks. My brother risked getting on a raft on a speedy rapid creek at springtime and didn’t think of the big picture that perhaps through no mal-intent of anyone the raft would break up, that he would fall into the rapids, but before that, he would hit his head on a log and pass out, thus making his ability to save his life moot.
For me being rebellious was my nature. It’s not that I wanted to be contrary; it just happened naturally. My friend tells me that the inability to see the big picture but to get bogged down in the details is something which is part of one’s character and which can’t be easily changed. Like being a rebel or being a conformist, or a homosexual. It’s not a character flaw nor is it a choice. It comes naturally as part of our ‘divine nature’. Perhaps something we inherited from past lives? How else to explain the ingrained tendency to behave one way or another which is, for all objective observers, not a matter of choice. So where is the element of free will? It is evidently not fully there in the fact that individuals are born with souls which have pre-determined character traits and sexual orientations? We know these character traits and sexual orientations aren’t passed on genetically from parents. So they must be ingrained in the ‘soul’? no?
That’s my story.