When I was young and quite naïve (and in my mind this surprisingly doesn’t seem like that long ago), I saw a human life as following a continuously upward linear path. I imagined that as time pressed forward I would only get “better” at life, and wiser too. More and more I’d get it all figured out, and as I did the smoother and faster my steps would be. Of course I had it all wrong. The path is forever almost cruelly jagged, and when it comes right down to it we pretty much end up where we started out, which makes focusing solely on some predetermined destination kind of pointless.
I love watching babies learning to take their first steps, and the way they instinctively seem to know that to move forward they must eventually let go of whatever it is they are clinging to. There is simply no other way toward growth but to risk the security of their parents’ clutch, and so with shaky tenderness they take a step into the unknown. More remarkably, even after tumble 978 they rise to their feet and try it again.
If in fact we never do develop true mastery of this life experience, then what is the purpose? I certainly don’t have any insider knowledge on such a big question, but it does seem that the mystics among us are onto something profound when they suggest that there is no purpose other than greater expansion and joy. How much can we extract from this moment, and how might we broaden our perspective?
All that seems to be required is to release our tight grip on certainty, and take that first baby step, again and again.