Life is like a great bicycle race,
whose aim is to fulfill one's Personal Legend - that which, according
to the ancient alchemists, is our true mission on Earth.
At the start of the race, we're all
together - sharing the camaraderie and enthusiasm. But as the race
progresses, the initial joy gives way to the real challenges: tiredness,
monotony, doubts about one's own ability. We notice that some friends
have already given up, deep down in their hearts - they're still
in the race, but only because they can't stop in the middle of the
road. This group keeps growing in number, all of them pedaling away
near the support car - also known as Routine - where they chat among
themselves, fulfill their obligations, but forget the beauty and
challenges along the road.
We eventually distance ourselves from
them; and then we are forced to confront loneliness, the surprises
of unknown bends in the road, and problems with the bicycle. After
a time, when we have fallen off several times, without anyone nearby
to help us, we end up asking ourselves whether such an effort is
Yes, of course it is: one must not
give up: Father Alan Jones says that, in order for our soul to be
able to overcome these obstacles, we need the Four Invisible Forces:
love, death, power and time.
We must love, for we are loved by
We must be aware of death, in order
to understand life.
We must fight to grow - but not be
fooled by the power which comes with growth, for we know it is worthless.
Finally, we must accept that our soul
- although it is eternal - is at this moment caught in the web of
time, with all its opportunities and limitations; so, on our solitary
bike race, we must act as if time existed, doing what we can to
value each second, resting when necessary, but always continuing
in the direction of the Divine light, without letting ourselves
be bothered by the moments of anxiety.
These Four Forces cannot be dealt
with as problems to be solved, since they are beyond our control.
We must accept them, and let them teach us what it is we must learn.
We live in a Universe which is both
vast enough to contain us, and small enough to hold in our hearts.
In every man's soul, dwells the soul of the world, the silence of
wisdom. As we pedal on towards our goal, we must ask: "what
is lovely about today?" The sun may be shining, but if it is
pouring with rain, it is important to remember that this also means
that the black clouds will soon disperse. Clouds come and go, but
the sun remains the same, and never fails - at times of loneliness,
it is important to remember this.
So, when times are tough, we must
not forget that the whole world has endured such moments, regardless
of race, color, social standing, belief, or culture. A beautiful
prayer by the Sufi Dhu 'l - Nun (Egyptian, died 861 AD) perfectly
sums up the positive attitude necessary at such times:
"Oh Lord, when I pay attention
to the voices of animals, the sounds of the trees, the bubbling
of the waters, the chirping of the birds, the howling wind or the
crashing thunder, I perceive in them evidence of Your unity; I sense
that You are the supreme power, almighty, the supreme wisdom, supreme
"Oh Lord, I recognize You in
the trials I am enduring. Allow, Lord, Your satisfaction to be my
satisfaction. May I be Your joy, that joy which a Father sees in
his son. And may I recall You with tranquility and determination,
even when it is difficult to say that I love You."