Recently I was inspired by this poem by The Beautiful Due.
And it came to pass when the I that is me was no longer afraid of the words spoken by the God that dwellest between the cherubim, that life ceased being a problem to be solved. Ours is a drama to be played, the we that is us well cast at occurrence and narrative: the coffee brews/ you say finally/ I say good morning/ we drink as the curtain rises.
Just beautiful, right? The idea that really hit me was that “life is not a problem to be solved.” I often approach life, and the journey to find my calling in life, in this way – as if it is a problem that needs solving.
For instance, although I love talking theology and philosophy and trying to nail down the “meaning of life,” it’s true that if you’re constantly agonizing over finding the meaning of life, you aren’t really living. It’s the great paradox of it all!
In another sense, this idea of approaching life “as a problem to be solved” reminds me of my recent quest to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life. I’ve been very critical of myself, examining every task I do to see if it’s getting me closer to choosing a career path (of which there are so many to choose, but I’m not sure I’d be good at any of them). This poem helped me realize that I don’t have to have it all figured out right now.
Similarly, if we’re constantly running around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to meet deadlines or meet a goal, we’re not really living in the moment. I recently read a book for my summer class (oh, yeah, by the way, I started my MBA. Surprise!) called Mastery by George Leonard. He’s got lots of good stuff to say, but one of my favorite ideas is the importance of “goalless practice.” In other words, practicing a skill or a task “not in order to gain something else, but for its own sake” (74).
It just lifts the burden, doesn’t it? Doing something for the sake of just doing it? Not to get better, not to meet a goal, but just to do it because you want to, because you want to live.