Question: Do you ever do this? And if you do, how does it change your life? (Alas, this is less effective for those of us living in the glare of city light pollution … but the message is still relevant.)
The source for this quote is unknown to me, but you can see the Facebook meme where I found this here:
Here is a not-so-pithy expansion on this pithy meaning:
Some addictions are obvious, such as drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, etc. Others, however, may be subtle—seemingly normal and acceptable—such as materialism, sugar, coffee, TV, Facebook, etc. In either case, an addiction is a habit that distracts us from an authentic experience of the present moment, and in that way, it traps us in our own little slice of Hell.
“Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.” — Max Ehrman (Desiderata)
I associate this quote with the Hermit for its implications of both the wisdom of age and the passage of time. (The Hermit has traditionally been associated with Father Time.) My interpretation of this quote from the Desiderata is, briefly, as follows:
First: Learn and become wise as you age. In other words, use your experiences as an opportunity to learn, no matter what those experiences are, both good and bad.
Second: Realize and accept that aging is also a constant process of giving some things up, little by little, one thing at a time. Thus, there should be a tradeoff between acquired wisdom and the loss of things of your youth. As my mother used to say, “I’ve earned every one of these gray hairs.” Or perhaps leaning to release things gracefully (instead of grudgingly) is one of the best sources of wisdom.
We tend to assume that people don’t change, that they are the same now as they were when we first formed our opinions of them. But that’s not true, and although the changes a person makes over the years may be subtle, they also may be great. Who knows? Now and then we just have to take a second look and make a new assessment of them. This reminds me of this wonderful quote from George Bernard Shaw (from Man and Superman):
“The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.”
“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.” — Abraham Maslow
I might add that sometimes if we don’t step forward, the Universe kicks us out of that safety zone so we have to go forward.