Sunday, May 18, 2014

Letters to a young man 34

Hello my friend.

Having just completed one of my most busy periods, my thoughts turn to you. I wonder how you are getting along and what you are focused on. Do you read over our last correspondence and wonder whether I have abandoned you? I have not, yet let me make up the difference for what it is with.

Do you still suffer from the yoke you have placed on yourself, the burdens of youth? Scrambling to and fro seeking your next refuge? The next soft place to rest your weary head. The next trend to follow in excitement. The next diet which keeps you busy in measuring and withholding. The next routine meant to hold you upright. The newest philosophy. The next aphorism.

The refuge you seek lies within you, inside your heart and mind. Nothing upright can be built without self-cultivation. You apply yourself diligently for a time, then fall away. You may need me there to encourage you to stand up again and carry on. Yet I am always there with you if you listen to that part of you that expects better. We are one and the same. In fact, that voice inside of you is better than me.

It exceeds me because it knows all of your hiding places. I can only guess at where they are but you know full well. Deep down you have an inventory of every place you go to escape that voice. But the voice which urges you forward toward improvement is always present, even when I am not.

Listen to this voice. He is not a voice without reason. He understands you and knows when you need rest and novelty. Yet he also understands when you need to resume your efforts. He allows no slack when no slack is truly needed.

Study history, including your own. Learn new languages including the one which he speaks to you. Cultivate his voice and your ability to understand it. Better yet, cultivate your ability to listen for him. He calls for you at every waking hour, pushing you to be a better man. And what is better? He understands from day to day what you need better than I do, though I know you well enough to guess. Still, a thousand of my guesses is outweighed by the slighted hint from him.

He is your salvation when you fall. The strong trunk of your tree which has deep roots. Come, let us together water those roots and admire the heights to which he has grown. You sit on his branches, rising high with the fruit-and I am there with you.

Farewell for now.