“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. (Einstein) Yet, we find ourselves repeating, often fruitless, patterns time and time again. In my own not so distant past, it was simply that don’t give up mentality, “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again” inspiration that had me looking and feeling insane. It took me some time to differentiate between insanity and perseverance. I, then, learned to be flexible, to forge a new path to the same destination, to try a new way, to open, and stay open – examining new possibilities, new angles, new approaches, shifting the paradigm, reinventing aspects of my persona.
Yet, many would argue that what is missing from either equation is the element of Faith, that unfailing belief that what you are pursuing is possible, that “yes we can”. Whether that faith is in some unseen power out beyond the clouds, or in an energy and power right within one’s self, the implication is the same. “What you believe, you can achieve.” “Thoughts become things.” “If you can see it, you can be it”, Law of Attraction, etc., etc., etc., in my Yule Brenner voice. The many would argue that insanity is the absence of Faith. Doing the same thing over and over, believing in the mere act of doing, doing something new and different, believing in the newness of the thing are all futile where there is no Faith in some internal or external power to fuel the effort.
The concept of Faith as crucial to the accomplishment of anything, has been analyzed and debated ad nauseam. “Faith without works is dead.” “Faith must be enforced by reason; when faith becomes blind it dies.”
In recent years, finding myself at a familiar crossroad in life, or passing a sign I’ve seen before, in what resembles a repeated pattern, the first of several questions I have asked myself is, “What is different now, from the first time, or second, or third, that I found myself at this place in life?” Age, that growing relationship with mortality, forced me to realize I was not so invincible, and might be running out of time to accomplish those dreams and goals. I reached a stage in life where I no longer wanted to waste time doing things with no meaning or relevance to my purpose for being here. Then, there was the, been there done that, got a t-shirt mentality, boredom with going around the same mountain that motivated me to tolerate the deeper questions.
Thus, I have come, tonight, in the knowledge that there is no greater navigator than self-awareness, awakening to the essence of one’s self in relation to the whole of creation. Being aware of and fully engaged in that awakening equates pattern repetition to wearing a tight bra, or more eloquently, pouring new wine into old wine skins. Everything just comes bursting out.
At this familiar depot where I pause tonight, it is awareness of self, forged in the fires of insanity, dogged perseverance, mustard-seed faith, and hard inquiries that will dictate the movement forward.