Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thoughts following Emerson

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” ~ R.W. Emerson

How do I build my life after my own heart? It’s a scary thing to follow one’s heart and abandon reason. All too often we are pressured into following the rule of normal because its what is expected of us. We crush out the flame of our sole in exchange for the acceptance of those around us. Rare is the heart that beats without regard for those around.

I spent a very long time trying to appease the people around me. I am a pleaser; I like to see the people around me happy. Even if it may cost me something, I tend to give because I enjoy helping those around me. I like to see people succeed. I get joy from watching the success of others.

Following your heart is probably one of the best things we have as humans. Way I see it, you can fall off that path a couple different ways.

First, when your heart’s desires harm others, part of me hopes for the fundamental goodness of people, that at the core they are good, but I have met some really bad people in my life who had a black heart. Fucking the co-worker because you want her ends up hurting your wife, that’s not a good thing. You must be faithful to your commitments, guard your honor, do the right thing, but follow your heart as well. This could also be from when your pursuit of desire brings hart to others, perhaps unintentionally.

The second could be if your heart is so twisted that your desire is twisted as well. I guess this could be tossed in with the above, but there is a little difference. This is an intentional harm to another in order for you to gain pleasure from that act. Its much darker and evil.

That being said, how do we follow our heart’s good intentions? I can truly resonate with this text about finding others who love to tell you exactly what your duty is. My purpose in life seems so clear during those quite moments of peace, but enter the noise of life and all my peace seems to go out the window.

I am far to easily swayed by the opinions of others. How to find that strength to hold my own heart and my own thoughts centered. Also to do this at the same time as being open to learning and changing as I grow and encounter new people and new thoughts. Self reliance is good, but arrogance in your own self knowledge is bad.

There must be balance between following your heart and being open to what the world has to teach you. Easy to say, hard to do.