Dialogue with a Druze Youth
Youth: Ancient One, what can I do to better set goals in my life?
Ancient One: In the early years, goals tend to be defined for us by our environment. As we grow older, experience, knowledge, and wisdom tend to increase, and we are better able to define our goals for ourselves and utilize the resources of matter, energy, space, and time to achieve them. We take greater responsibility to effect the changes we feel necessary to accomplish our goals. In making decisions we come to know that the more information we have, the better the decision. We realize that it will be only through our efforts that change will occur. We learn to depend on ourselves. We realize the our external environment has influenced us to the extent that much of what we do and believe is determined by it; therefore, we constantly reexamine what we do and believe. An important realization is that there are no absolute guarantees that what we want to happen will. The insight dawns that what can be done is to effect the probability that what we want to happen will. It is extremely important for you personally to carefully define your life's objectives. From all directions and at all time there are influences that are attempting to define your reality for you. Knowledge is your most powerful tool. What is hoped is that you will carefully evaluate your resources, your past, attributes, values, attitudes, character, abilities, and interests and then establish personal goals. Never stop learning and constantly add to your intellectual war chest whenever the opportunity arises. Determine as best you can what is needed to achieve your goals. In the knowledge that nothing is absolute and with the careful and knowledgeable utilization of matter, energy, space, and time, you have the ability to alter the probability that what you want to happen will.
Youth: OK, so I set some goals in light of what you say. When do I start and what do I do?
Ancient One: You are in this world at this particular time. Let us assume you will have around 75 or so years of life to play around with. One game plan could go somewhat like this: In about the first 15 years you are dependent on others for your food and shelter. During the 2nd 15 years or so you gain the skills to survive on your own. During the 3rd 15 you figure out what it is you need do (the most challenging period). During the 4th 15, you learn to do it and during the last 15, you do it. "The game's afoot" and to create change is what it will be about during these 75 years. For your journey all that you need lies within you. Your tools to effect change are Matter, Energy, Time, and Space (MaEnTiSpa). How you control these will determine the nature of your journey. Once the Will stirs your Desire and you have thoughtfully defined personal goals, you turn on your Mind to create a plan to Make the mind's vision Real (5 Luminaries applied). In the manipulation of MaEnTiSpa, realize that regardless of what you do, it can always be done better and with each doing you move closer to perfecting the idea of your objectives. The combinations of MaEnTiSpa are infinite and even if you think you are using the perfect combination, there is no guarantee that what you want to happen will. In reality, you can only manipulate MaEnTiSpa to alter the probability that the event you want to occur will (very important that you understand this). Know that you and you alone are responsible to make things happen. In this process, knowledge is extremely important, any kind - it's all great. All knowledge is connected. The more information you have on a problem, the greater will be the probability that it will have an appropriate solution. Experience is important. That is why you must seek the wisdom of those older than yourself. Observe and listen. Exclude nothing. Arm yourself with a working shield of character (the Druze Way is the best I have been able to find among humans) so that nothing can detract from your journey. Along the way, help others to help themselves. This will make the way easier for you. Respect your body, for it is the mind's tool: feed it well(unprocessed food as much as possible), care properly for it, and exercise it. Accept the way of others without necessarily agreeing with them. Influence, yes, but do not seek to change others. Live your life fully, squeezing all that you can from each moment, and perhaps by your example, you will inspire others. Welcome every experience, even the painful ones. There is no failure, only learning experiences. It is as important to know what does not work for you as it is to know what works. The only thing that we know absolutely is what happened in the past and from this knowledge you work in the present to alter the probability of a future event. (Remember it is only the probability of future events that we have any control over and that this probability is created in the present through the skillful manipulation of "MaEnTiSpa") Create an eventful past, one of which makes your humanity a joy to the Existence. Be patient. Know that meaningful change takes place in small increments. All events are ultimately connected in time; therefore, everything matters, so choose carefully how you expend your energy, in what place, with what things(people included) and in what time. How will you know your journey is on track? If you began to feel a connectedness to all that is, then you will know that you are on track.
Youth: Along the path of this journey to Existence, what shall I believe?
Ancient One: Let us assume that you have defined long and short term objectives, goals, projects, etc. Before you can set out to make these real, there needs be an belief system, infrastructure, philosophy, points of reference, value system, principles, attitude, and the like against which you measure your acts, determine what action to take, evaluate what has been done, etc. Every act must be in accord with your belief system. To operate in a "moral" vacuum is like sailing a ship without a rudder. Most of those who have achieved have had some kind of belief system. A belief system evolves as new insights grow from new experience. It is a life process. Find something, if you have not already, to believe in and in its evolution your life will grow more meaningful and you will feel more a part of Existence and your fruits will be many giving nourishment to self and others.
Youth: What happens when I fail in my journey toward Existence?
Ancient One: Consider the following questions written to Marilyn vos Savant: "In a competitive world, whether it would be between individuals, corporations or nations, is it possible to have winners without also having losers? What should be the fate of the losers? What is our responsibility to them?" Marilyn vos Savant answers these questions as follows: 'In a way, it is not possible to have winners without also having losers. But we need not bemoan their fate, and one of our responsibilities may be not to feel sorry for them. Those who chose to compete, whether they win or lose, have improved themselves in the process. When we study to get into the school of our dreams, try to built an even faster computer or launch telescopes into space, we're better off —not worse— and so is the world. So, in a more important way, the "losers" are really winners too.'"" Dear Youth, what she is saying is that failure is as important as winning.
Youth: Sometimes I feel out of place, that I travel alone. How can I deal with this feeling?
Ancient One: Some degree of disconnectedness is normal. This will be a time for you to "reevaluate." There will be a time in your life to assess your personal reality, to examine what you do as a consequence of what you believe. Is what you do in harmony with what you believe? And is what you believe truly within the context of your experience and knowledge and character? It may be that your reality satisfies you and that except for its fine tuning, will remain fairly intact for the rest of your life. This is great. You are fortunate to have had guidance from family, history, culture, institutions, and society relevant to your essence . In any event, each individual is ultimately responsible to define his or her personal reality. This comes from the idea that each one of us has direct access to Existence ("God") and that no intermediaries are required. That does not mean that you travel your path alone. On the contrary, the totality of Existence is your guide. Listen to all sound, but chose for yourself the song you will sing. Drink all that is within your vision, but chose the colors with which you paint the portrait of your life. Seek all that is known, but chose carefully the ideas that will reflect the essence of your becoming. It is a process that goes on for the rest of your life and into the next. And it is the process that is important. It is not the arriving, but the journey that matters, for there is no place to be. There is only becoming.
Youth: I am overwhelmed at all that I need to change within so little time. What can I do?
Ancient One: It most likely will be that you will not be able to achieve all that you set out to do in the short time period that marks the life of a man, but there will be other opportunities. Meanwhile, while you are an occupant of your present body, "change" within the context of "time" is facilitated by the following: • Do the important things during your best time of day •Set up routines when appropriate realizing that they are subject to modification • When doing errands (shopping, appointments, visits) group as many as possible during the same once per week period • While doing the first task, visualize or plan the second one, and while doing the second, visualize or plan the 3rd, and so on • Routines done daily should be organized for the minimal use of time • Be disciplined and patient enough to spend extended time to set up a method to do a given task more quickly in the future • If several independent steps are required to complete a task, start the one requiring the most time first and the one least, last • Activities that are unrelated can dove tail one into the other, that is, when one is nearing completion, another is started • Don't be discouraged when progress seems slow (meaningful change occurs during small increments of time) • Don't spend too much time on activities that require creativity. The most meaningful change usually occurs early in the activity and the return per unit time decreases thereafter. Leave it for awhile and then come back to it • As soon as possible formulate a "life time line" (the best time to acquire information in quantity is early in life, to accumulate capital during mid-life, to expend high energy during early life, to integrate and communicate experience in late life, etc.) • Plan ahead for both the short term and long term. Make sure what is needed is "in hand" or "in head" before beginning • Do not execute the first solution that comes to mind. Let ideas incubate through time. • Don't spend unnecessary time looking for things. Have "a place for everything and everything in its place" • Regard time as a continuum, a resource, all of whose moments are to be valued equally • As much as possible determine how your time is spent • Develop a sense of how long it takes to do a task or series of tasks • Develop a sense of how the past, present, and future are related and flow one from and into the other • Become aware of factors tending to control how you spend time ("people making demands on your time," media influences) • Create a space that expedites the effective expenditure of time (North Pole vs California, freeway vs side streets, one bedroom apt vs a 30 room house) • When possible spend money to save time (computer, dishwasher, car, power tools) •Within time's context, know what becomes denied by the choices we make and what becomes possible by what is consciously denied • Pace yourself both in the short and long term. At times it will be beneficial to force yourself to slow down, "To smell the flowers." Do not hesitate to do so. The future for the most part is unpredictable. We can, however, increase the probability that certain events will happen by the mindful management of time, space, matter, and energy. Those events that happen unexpectedly can become opportunities provided we are prepared. Preparation comes from experience, knowledge, and wisdom.
Youth: Do I sweat the small stuff?
Ancient One: Can you believe that there was a time (Newton's) when it was believed that all things scientific had been discovered? At the end of the 19th Century, I recall Lord Kelvin commenting that "only two small clouds" remained on the horizon of knowledge in physics: the inability to detect the "ether" predicted in the Michelson-Morley experiment and the inability to predict the energy of different frequencies of light in the "ideal black box radiator." (Menas Kafator, The Conscious Universe, p. 13) Two small clouds indeed! More like two giant supernova, for their partial resolution has lead to the relativity and quantum theories (the internet, computers, lasers, atomic energy, superconductivity, space travel). One never knows; so, to be on the safe side, I suggest that you develop as part of your attitude and life style the idea that "Everything matters." Just as physics will continually redefine itself, so must each one of us in the light of new experiences and new knowledge.