"Would you tell me, please which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."
"I don't much care where-"
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go."
-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
The above quote represents all manner of life. To have a direction of one's own making is like having a golden ticket in Willy Wonka.
It is easy to take the path of least resistance. The world will create this for you. It is harder to carve a path. The world will fight against this.
But as the world fights against it and we fight for it, a release happens. In aikido, the practitioner is not meant to use force against an opponent. He or she uses redirection.
Like the redirection of the opponent's energy in aikido, it is important for us to know when to control desires and when to release them. When forcing thoughts or desires into the physical world, the manifestation turns wonky. The result is not what we expected.
Years ago, I had success teaching metaphysics. I defined success by the amount of people in the class I taught. I thought, I can go bigger. I can teach even more people and move up in positions at the organization I worked at.
However, in thinking this way, I lost the original purpose as to why I was teaching. I loved seeing individuals better themselves. The continued improvement I saw in class and outside of class satisfied my heart's desire to help people.
The day came when the "bigger" class was supposed to arrive. Zero people came. Z-E-R-O.
My ego came up and bit me. It took me a couple of years to figure out what happened that night and many other experiences of results like this. But I did learn something crucial.
I now remember that this physical world is made up of change. It is constantly growing and folding in on itself. I can control only so much of what I see in my head and how I create it in this world.
If attached to anything, be attached to an ideal, a purpose, a calling. In order for the highest Self to unfold, it needs a form. So don't just ruminate on it. Act on it. Yet, don't be attached to what that looks like. The conscious mind can't figure it out. Be attached to what qualities are building within. Bring those qualities out in every moment.
In Ram Dass' book, Be Here Now, Baba Hari Dass says, "If a pickpocket sees a saint, he sees only his pockets." Know what's important. Go after the realization of the Self. Be vigilant, disciplined, and open to the fruits this brings. Fill the mind with high thoughts. Slowly, this will let go of the low ones.
Know the things that take longer to build are the important ones. Qualities like compassion, love, tolerance, and contentment can take a lifetime. This shouldn't be discouraging but liberating. Start now.