Life is an infinite and fantastic voyage towards light. This life is only part of the road. To travel means to evolve; to evolve requires transformation. No one is born ready. It is a sign of wisdom to understand that the useful things we have brought with us in our backpack may no longer be suitable for us. We must leave some things behind to make room for new ones. We must reinvent ourselves every day. Nothing delays us more that the lost train of prejudice, the canceled flight of obsolete ideas, and the dead-end alley of outdated attitudes. Pride, vanity and stubbornness are a heavy load that we often keep hidden at the bottom of the suitcase, or under the skirt of jealousy or the pants of selfishness. We need to be light to move. It is fundamental to make room for the new, to change the luggage we carry.
Check your backpack with affection. Love is the best manual to indicate the contents that are essential.
Whether we like it or not, we must move on. When we don’t, due to inertia, laziness or comfort, life unbalances us. It gives us new and, at first, undesirable situations to force us to move. Being unbalanced, in order not to fall, you take a step forward, trying to balance yourself, and then another, pursuing new stability that, sooner or later depending on your ability to perceive and understand the timing, will come. You will then look back and see that you are no longer in the same place. You have moved, and that happened because you sought new balance. There were transformations, you have evolved.
Look back and check who you were 5, 10, 20 years ago and who you are now. Do you perceive the evolution? Can you understand the changes you have operated on yourself? I do not mean material or financial status, but the clarity of thoughts and the amplitude of feelings. These are the instruments of fulfillment that we all seek. Serenity in face of the storm is one of these signs that indicate good progress; after all, it wasn’t always like that, do you remember?
If, after all this time, you are still seating on the side of the road, be prepared. We walk either because we want to or because we are forced to. This choice will define the flowers that will color the landscape.
Pay much attention to your choices. We make dozens or hundreds of them every day, from the most ordinary to the most complex ones; from smiling and greeting a stranger on the street to changing jobs, moving to another city or ending a marriage. The sum of these choices defines who each one of us is; it defines how many transformations you have allowed yourself to undergo, how much you have evolved.
Buddhism teaches that we must always walk and be attentive to the landscape, but not stick to it. To differentiate the eternal from the transient means to be ready to take part in the great symphony of the universe. To have a nice house and a comfortable life are wonderful things, but are temporary assets; to be a good son, a caring father, to exchange hugs and sincere smiles, to establish loving bonds with whomever, to have a harmonious environment wherever you are, these are imperishable goods.
The voyage is endless, and what stamps the passport at the next station is the content of our luggage. It defines the counter where we will get the ticket for the next station. As a loving father who scolds his child because he wishes he/she get to their destination, life will unbalance you if you just sit and watch the train pass by. So, stand up and go through your luggage. Put your backpack on, and have a nice trip!
Translated from the Portuguese by Carlos André Oighenstein.