Find your Bearings
The Need for Equilibrium in a Disorientating World
“…The ground is uneven
We stumble from day to day
You shelter where it's easy
Although your feet are like lead
But you gotta get underway…”
-The Starting Line: Keane
Every day it seems as though our world is getting increasingly more complex to navigate. Change is our constant companion and the ground beneath our feet feels rockier and more unforgiving than ever. As information and manipulation bombard us from every angle, the clamor for attention from “out there” is increasingly desperate and shrill.
There’s so much going on; climate change, inequality, polarization, inflation, war, distraction, confusion. We’re in danger of losing our bearings and, in the process, losing ourselves and the sense of the importance of our own sacred journey in this life.
And what happens when we lose our bearings? Disorientated, we become easy to manipulate, easy to alienate and easy to high-jack. And when that happens, we tend to go into survival mode. We either freeze like a deer in the headlights and succumb to paralysis or we flee to avoid and deny. This disorientation manifests in many ways from disappearing down the neck of a bottle to distracting ourselves with meaningless pursuits. Or we fight as we find things outside to blame for our plight.
All of this exacts a painful price for living life with values imposed upon us by others takes away our ability to live a truly balanced and authentic life. It’s little wonder that we are feeling a bit lost.
One of the beautiful things about being human is that we are, in fact, designed with a built-in compass; when we pay attention it tells us exactly who, why and where we are. So how does it work?
Consider procrastination and paralysis - it always brings us down. We don’t feel good. It makes us feel helpless and hopeless. Why? Because research shows that authentic long-term happiness comes from serving others and a feeling of making positive progress in life.
Avoidance and denial. Who are we kidding with this one? We always know when we’re dodging the issue and going for the quick fix of instant comfort. We all know that it’s not sustainable and that reality is always nipping painfully at our fragile heels.
Blaming others. This might feel good in the moment as it panders to our frail ego’s desire for self-righteousness. However if we spend our lives fighting unnecessarily, stuck as victim or aggressor, we totally lose our bearings because the fight becomes all that matters.
If we pay attention to this internal compass, we will begin to find our bearings and life will become more fulfilling. By paying close attention to our discomforts, distractions and feelings of despair we will instinctively come to understand that there are things we can influence, things we can change and things over which we have no control.
We will know where to expend energy and when to give it up. We will know who we are and what we stand for. Negative outside influences will bounce right off us.
Then when the road is rocky, we will never lose our bearings. We will have the balance and resolve needed to keep moving in the right direction. We will be unshakable in our resolve to live the best life possible with the hand we’ve been dealt to serve our higher purpose and the greater good.