The only way we can continue existing in good conscience despite having an infinite number of responsibilities and a finite number of resources is through the prioritisation of that which edifies. Once appropriate priorities, we can very quickly discover that we house the capacity to be substantially more effective, productive and enlivened than we think of or expect, in normal circumstances. Getting to that empowering mental state, where we can see ‘just how brightly the sun is shining’, although frequently seeming to be beyond our current state, is easier to access than most of us realise.
This is because our conscience doesn’t actually demand perfection of us, just progress towards it through the honest utilisation of what we have. We don’t have to fulfil every responsibility, but we do have to prioritise what’s most important. We can’t ignore what’s most important and expect to not suffer for it. We will. However, those who fulfil at least what’s most important, have already completely most of the required steps to edify one’s conscience and begin clearing those blinders to ‘the sunshine state’. Getting right with ourselves is often much easier than most believe as the line in the sand is much closer to ‘just begin doing what we can’ than it is to ‘master every aspect of our lives’, but when we’re failing to prioritise our efforts, it can feel like a much greater challenge than it is.
Through better understanding of our unique gratifying habits and our calls of edification that our conscience is currently asking of us, we can clearly know what’s most important. Yes, sometimes we feel that ‘the world’ or ‘everything’ is expected of us and it can be quite overwhelming. However, my experience has been that overwhelming feelings are most prominent when we’re either doing nothing to make progress or just failing to do whatever is most important. Such feelings quickly shrink to a much more manageable size immediately after we’ve begun doing at least that which is most important. Particularly when we are able to maintain our priorities throughout the whole day, we find ourselves going to bed very comfortably and promptly falling asleep in good or even great conscience, despite our infinite list still being infinitely long. Whenever it feels too overwhelming, we’re probably not prioritising what’s best.
If we struggle to properly identify what’s best, but are at least ensuring we edify ourselves more than we gratify ourselves, progress will still be made, function will be increased and our conscience may be happy enough. But our conscience knows the limitations of our resources and is well aware of when we’re not honestly utilising what we have. It’s not really possible to continue on in such a state ‘in good conscience’. It will become increasingly self evident over time as we will begin to feel more and more that our life lacks meaning and feels hollow.
Perhaps the easiest way to change paths, for those who find themselves walking the gratifying path, is to better understand gratification, as if we can but cut out more of it than we are currently utilising edification, than we can tip those scales in our favour and return at least to a path of progress. Of course, better than just cutting out the gratification, is replacing it with edification, as we can then not only slow our digression down, but speed up our progress.
I think many of us experience ‘the sunshine state’ at times in our lives, or ‘temporary psychological highs’ in more general terms. Sometimes it’s when we’re intensely exercising, sometimes it’s when we’ve discovered some amazing new concept/truth, sometimes it’s when we’re travelling, sometimes we simply experience something that suddenly provides a whole new outlook on life. I’m confident that even now as you read this, your own mind is wandering back to those times you can recall where you felt ‘quickened’ by information, made to feel alive, saw your whole world in a brand new, empowering light.
An interesting point is that it might be caused by one specific or niche focus area and yet the by-product of which effects your whole life, perhaps even for days/weeks/years before it starts to fade back to a new ‘normality’ or maybe even the sometimes just the same old ‘normality’. While it’s there however, it ‘heightens’ your perspective on everything. It makes me think of the RCHP line “with a baby inside getting high on information”, because that’s what it feels like. We are, at least temporarily, returned to a state we frequently as tiny children where the ‘flood’ comes in, the possibilities are endless and the hope/excitement that such produces is nearly overwhelming.
We find ourselves “seeing” the world much more intensely, with a much more detailed resolution; concepts we previously struggled with, we can suddenly and very easily comprehend, in all it’s synergistic parts. One time I was ‘high’ in such a way (I think perhaps after writing) and somehow found my way into a number of ridiculously detailed YouTube videos on atoms, quantum physics, chemistry and the periodic table and after a few hours I had felt I learned more, genuinely understood more, and acquired a much deeper appreciation for such subjects than I had ever acquired through all my years in school. I remember going over the periodic table again and again, thinking, “this thing is a genuine work of art!” How quickly our minds can digest information, comprehend it, visualise the intricacies of it. We can so easily view ‘potential application’ and simultaneously be “energised” by the experience, like the information is a river of ‘life’ flowing through us where we’re usually ignorant of being in the river at all. It’s as though it’s always there and always flowing, but we realise that most of the time we’re either aware of it’s movement nor taking any of it in. Truly amazing experiences.
Another great part, discussed in much more detail in a future book I’m presently calling “edifying your hunger for inspiration”, is that such experiences, although not capable of being ‘forced’ are certainly capable of being fostered. Like one dying to see a shooting star, spending countless hours watching the sky every night of the week… I feel too many of us struggle to sufficiently motivate ourselves to pursue such ‘awakenings’ just because there is no guarantee we’ll experience what we’re after. Simultaneously we fail to appreciate that anything over 50% is ‘favourable odds’, and my own anecdotal perspective is that we can get pretty damn close to 100%, I’d even be confident saying 90-95%.
Yes, it remains ‘guarantee-less’ however I’m very confident than many who experience such intensely edifying experiences would feel similarly to myself when I say that AFTER having gone through such things, even if the odds were less than 10% and you had to go through the ‘fostering/investing/sacrificing’ period 100 times before you got there, it would STILL be worth it. Now that’s always much easier said after the experience and don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent countless moments in that “SURELY I’VE DONE ENOUGH?!” stage. But again, post-experience, I find myself thinking how far off I really was when thinking of my efforts as ‘sufficiently justifiable’ for the reward.
Our visions awaken us to the possibility of improved realities
Another great ‘vision’ I’ve had involved seeing in my mind, our whole word, and it was just FULL of ‘intelligence’ or ‘light’, kind of how I imagine the internet’s ‘information highways’ flowing everywhere, connecting every one and every thing.
I can see how desperately everybody needs each other. How ridiculously amazing the ‘output’ our collective world is capable of when united, synergised and compounded over time. We can do far more than just ‘a world of good’ as our physical world, particularly when unified by our collective psychological worlds, has the capacity to do a ‘galaxy of good’, when viewed from the right perspective.
I also see that even the smallest failures/successes, once also giving consideration to their by-products after compounding, can enlarge into such immeasurable results & consequences, that we consider ourselves utterly foolish to think ‘just one’ gratification won’t hurt, just one small opportunity lost to edify, or even more-so, ‘just one’ person lost won’t ‘hold heaven back’ for lack of a better term… but it will and it does. We can’t afford to lose ANYBODY. Even the very WORST of us, if there’s any capacity for change and to get on that path of ‘enduring progress’ it’s absolutely worth it when considering the long-term compounding consequences of their contribution to our world as a whole, even if seemingly small initially. Initially, all contributions are small – don’t let that prohibit us from getting started on the things that change the world.
We’re ALL in this together; we’re ALL much more connected than we realised; we’re ALL much worse off for EVERYONE’S ‘small gratifications’ than we think, including everyone else being worse of due to our own.
Perhaps the ’empowering’ part of intensely edifying experiences/’the enlightenment’ less the amazing new perspective obtained and much more the genuine and authentic hope and faith that accompanies it. A sincere belief that the outcome is achievable and well worth the effort so as to convince one to start working right away.
Authentic motivation. Consider waking up in the mornings with a driving/powerful motivation to make the most of the day, to truly feel like it’s far too limited and valuable to waste. To behave/act/live in a way that gives consideration to those atrocities (previously discussed) and should ANY of them occur, or should you spend any time APPRECIATING that they have and are occurring, and you feel no regret for the way you’re living your life and what you’re doing… That KIND of mindset/mentality is available. It’s acquirable. It’s re-visitable. I still to suggest that it’s permanently maintainable, because in my own experience, it continually fades. Perhaps we couldn’t/shouldn’t stay in such a state all the time? Perhaps it’s too much? I’m not yet sure, but what I am sure about is the value of visiting it as frequently as one can. And so, let’s!