It is said of Richard Feynman, the great 20th century physicist, that when he lectured, his students understood the subject matter clearly, yet as soon as they left the lecture hall their understanding evapourated. I had a similar experience when I wrote and posted the previous entry, ‘Desperate To Belong’. During the writing of it, I had clarity about the injunction of not being allowed to dream and the reasons behind my struggle of wanting to conform but also go my own way. Yet as soon as I published the post, the sadness I had written of returned, followed inevitably by the familiar doubt that maybe I am making the wrong choice.
When I shared this with Karaj, he assured me the doubt will never leave me. If I choose to go it alone, I will always doubt whether I should have settled down. And if I settle down, I will forever doubt whether I should have gone it alone. Given the limitless influence the world and society exerts on us – conscious or unconscious, active or passive – to follow particular pathways, it is hardly surprising that we feel unsure when we set off down a different road. Especially when those who have chosen to do the same are not visible. They are there, but the nature of their journey means they are quiet and unseen.
In his own words: ‘The awareness journey does not guarantee awareness; just as marriage does not guarantee happiness. Once you have made a decision, stick to it. Doubt is natural because you’re a human being. It will keep on coming. Doubt – just like confusion – is okay because then you’re alert. There is no guarantee for anything. On the awareness path, you could die a miserable death. In marriage, you could die a miserable death. It’s the same, whichever path you choose. There are no guarantees.’
So now I know: I will always have doubt and regret for the decision I have made; I will always love her and think of her; and I will always wonder what it would have been like had I stayed. That’s the way it’s always going to be, so accept it. Indeed, I offer similar words to others. Only two weeks ago, I wrote the following to a new client: ‘These issues are always going to be there so don’t waste energy wishing they weren’t, or trying to get rid of them, or getting frustrated and annoyed when they appear. The best thing you can do is manage them. The way you do that is with procedures.’