Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” is a beautiful poem and one of the first “adult” poems I read that I “got”. I remember realizing its meaning and being dumbfounded by its elegance and simplicity while providing such emotional and spiritual depth. If you haven’t read it, take a moment to do so.
I wrote “The Solitaire Meditation” and mentioned knowing whether you’re going to win or lose before you actually play a hand. I’ve demonstrated this knowing for friends and others and they go from being amused to being amazed.
I also wrote in “The Solitaire Meditation” that it’s all about practicing, listening, knowing what card to play where and when without having to know why.
That without having to know why is an important part.
Lately The Universe has been repeating a lesson to me: know when I’m not going to win.
This is an interesting reinforcement at this point in my life. I’m embarking on a new (or at least different) career and knowing when I’m “not going to win” is a good thing. It’s not so much “not going to win” as it is “don’t play this hand, it won’t turn out” and knowing ahead of time what road not to take can be quite a time-saver, don’t you think?
The Universe isn’t telling me “you won’t win” so much as it’s telling me “Pay attention. Learn to recognize the paths that get you to your goal. Learn to recognize the road that will make all the difference.”
It’s a worthy lesson. Sometimes I play the hand because…I’d like to write “because I’m curious” and it’s more likely because I’m stubborn (remember Dan’s experience in Teachers and Lessons?). I can rationalize losing a game when I know before I play that I’m going to lose that game as a self-fulfilling prophecy (and a few dozen other rationalizations).
This is where Ockham’s Razor and Plato’s Life Boat (see NextStage Principle #56) meet. There may be dozens of explanations, the number of times I listen and it turns out as I’m told favor the “Universe to Joseph: Pay Attention” interpretation.
The Universe is teaching me to trust and accept, and to let trust and acceptance replace stubbornness as a guiding principle. Trust and acceptance tend to lead to “act” over “hesitate” more often than not. They definitely tend to lead to “Yay!” over “clean up this mess” more often than not. And acting without hesitating – especially when it’s The Universe making the suggestion – is a really good thing.
Another thing The Universe is teaching me is that the road not taken, ie, playing when I know I’m not going to win, is a distraction. It’s not getting me to my goal. All of those other paths that The Universe is telling me aren’t going to work out are distractions. It’s telling me “Focus on your path, not the distractions.”
For those not following all my posts, this is another aspect of The Calling; Focus on what you want to bring into your life and work towards it. Anything else you do is not bringing what you want into your life.
I’m sharing this because it’s important (I believe it’s important, anyway) that people wanting to study with us know we’re all still learning. Learning doesn’t stop. It can’t. Or if it does, it’s because you’ve learned all this life has for you and it’s time to move on.
So the next time you play solitaire, Practice. Learn to listen. Pay attention. Trust. Act.
You’ll be surprised how much easier things can be when you follow your own path.