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Know Your Limits

Lord, grant me strength to change what I can change, courage to accept what I cannot change, and the wisdom to discern between them.

–An Old Prayer


In our own eyes, we are unique and independently acting individuals. This is a common human trait. Just think of the centuries of battles humanity has been through, only to finally obtain the limited personal freedom we have today.

We are not the only ones who suffer when our freedom is taken. All creatures struggle when captured; it is an inherent, natural trait to object to any form of subjugation. But even if we understand that every creature deserves to be free, we do not necessarily understand what being free really means, or if and how it is connected to correcting humanity’s egoism.

If we honestly ask ourselves about the meaning of freedom, we’re likely to discover that our present concepts have changed by the time we’re finished asking. So before we can talk about freedom, we must know what being free truly means.

To see if we understand freedom, we must look within ourselves to see if we are capable of even one free, voluntary act. Because our will to receive constantly grows, we are always urged to find better and more rewarding ways to live. Our growing desires leave us no choice in the matter.

On the other hand, if our will to receive is the cause of all this trouble, maybe there’s a way to control it. If we could do so, perhaps we could control our lives. Otherwise, without this control, the decline seems unstoppable. In short, we seem to be trapped in a rat race against our own desires, and we appear to be losing.

Still, we go about our business as though events depend on our decisions. But do they really? Wouldn’t it be better to give up trying to change our lives and just go with the flow?

On the one hand, we’ve just said that Nature objects to any subjugation. But on the other hand, Nature doesn’t show us which, if any of our actions, is free, and where we are lured by an invisible Puppet Master into thinking we are free.

Moreover, if Nature has a plan for us, could these questions and uncertainties be part of the scheme? Perhaps there’s an ulterior reason that makes us feel lost and confused? Maybe confusion and disillusionment are the Puppet Master’s way of telling us, “Hey, take another look at where you’re all going, because if you’re looking for Me, you’re looking in the wrong direction.”

Few will deny that we are, indeed, disoriented. But to determine our direction we must know where to start looking. This can save us years of futile efforts. The first thing we want to discover is where we have free and independent choice, and where we don’t. Once we realize this, we will know where we should focus our attention and our efforts.

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