Chapter 17 - Granting Hope Substance - Strength for the Journey
We can all attest to the clear evidence that imperfect thoughts & emotions, leading to imperfect actions, culminate in imperfect results. What we are perhaps less confident in, is the Truth that perfect thoughts & actions also lead to perfect results.
Given the state of the world, it is unlikely we will soon encounter truly perfect thoughts, actions or results. However, all is not lost.
Imperfection is not a discrete state of its own. Imperfection is merely the absence of Perfection, which can manifest in vastly disparate circumstances. The path to Perfection is a seemingly endless spiral of personal educational situations, ever focused on diminishing the degree of imperfection.
The initial development towards Perfect alignment hinges upon three main overlapping spheres of self-mastery:
~ Mind - Mental Stability: Illumination, the increase of awareness & clarity of thought, leaving behind delusions that cause us to make poor decisions.
~ Heart - Emotional Stability: Composure, the moderation & curbing of desires & appetites that do not align with what is best for us.
~ Body - Stability of Action: Self-Discipline, the practice of putting our newfound wisdom to work, while reducing our own self-sabotaging behavioral patterns.
As we go about placing our conscious awareness on each of these areas, with full intent to affect concrete change, we find ourselves making wiser decisions, resulting in less imperfect (chaotic) situations for us to work with in the next round. Note that a particular level of personal development is required before one can focus on certain specific issues.
Each has their own preexisting life conditions to improve. What constitutes valid effort on the part of one person, may be more easily accomplished by another. This second individual, free from an obvious dilemma, must avoid the pitfall (Pride) to assume they have made sufficient progress. No, that person still has affairs in their own life requiring their attention, where more substantial efforts could be made. Their imperfection may reign elsewhere, in perhaps a less overtly destructive manner, but is no less short of the mark.
This life-changing program of development, while not kept secret from the world at large, has not yet found its way into the daily habits of the average individuals that make up modern society. There is no True and valid reason why it does not shape our world, the common belief in its ineffectiveness simply due to current world conditions, reflective of a lack of popular effort.
We can gain Faith in the process, when we acknowledge that Hope is not unreasonable. The 'problem', so to say, is that we tend to give up before fruit becomes visible. Ironically, our passionate desire for instant gratification further delays what we seek. If we truly want things accomplished as quickly as possible, we must first let go of our constant attempts to control reality.
Our problems with Hope are twofold. First, we are constantly dashing our own Hope in exactly the moment we decide to stop working towards it, primarily because we no longer feel the Truth of it. Secondly, we tend to feel that Hope is some vague, generic thing, something more accurately termed 'Hope-iness', or a general attitude of hopefulness. A more skeptical individual (justifiably) cannot bring him or herself to latch onto this airy concept. This mindset is certainly abstract when contrasted with its more visceral (and therefore more impactful) counterpart of Despair.
There is not always something wrong with an optimistic attitude, but optimism without action does not tend to lead to anything concrete at all. We need not Hope for 'change' or something equally meaningless. This is not mere semantics, as without a clear vision to Hope for, our potential Faith lies hamstrung.
We may not ever know exactly how events will work out, nor need we waste our time worrying or obsessing over every minute detail. However, we will be given a working vision of Hope, one that is solid enough to rest our Faith upon, and in turn, actually make real, significant progress. Of this, you can be assured.