“Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For another union, a deeper communion”*
This is true for more than old men, or old women. It’s about the future and about possibility.
Going to the future makes it possible to alter, or rearrange, our present and change our past.
‘A significant part of the artistic challenge is to go beyond interpreting human experience to be an interpreter of human possibility.’**
The past is the past, but when we develop the skills to be formed by the future, we use the the past as resources for our art in the present – the contribution of beauty and goodness we must bring into the world.
Roz and Ben Zander identify practices to make this happen which I’ll be exploring through the weeks that follow:
‘[The practices of possibility] are geared instead toward causing a total shift of posture, perceptions, beliefs, and thought processes. They are about transforming your entire world.’^
We can only travel to the future, and change the past, to the extent that we’re willing to embrace discipline and practice.
Here are three I refer to throughout Thin|Silence.
These are future-opening practices because they open or rearrange our mind, most significantly from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. They begin to open the possibility of more.
Humility makes it possible for us to see the true self in the kind of detail that we’re able to imagine a future Self.
Gratitude enables us to both recognise and value, and to hold within our lives, all we contain and touch, making it more possible to be creative and loving.
Faithfulness allows us to figure out the personal ways we can explore the explosive combination of humility and gratitude.
(*T S Eliot, quoted in Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward.)
(**From Erwin McManus’s The Artisan Soul.)
(^From Rosamund and Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility.)
(Today’s cartoon derives from a conversation about freedom with my friend Alex McManus. Alex brought to mind these words from Frank Herbert: “Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.”)