Over the past two years, I have read the revelation “Building the Four Pillars of Your Life” on a semi-regular basis. It was received by Marshall Vian Summers in September of 2008. I wrote a post about this teaching slightly over five years ago, called “An Antidote For Inconsistency.” Repeated readings have yielded encouragement to me. Each time I find a little more of the treasure within.
I must climb this great mountain
In this revelation, living a life of greater purpose is likened to climbing a great mountain. There are many people who relish such an idea. Alas, many of these people fail to consider the preparation necessary for such a life. The necessary preparation is building strength and balance in the areas of relationships, health, career/providership, and spiritual development. You can imagine that this is a great deal of work. Many people want a short cut. There isn’t one.
“It [living a life of greater purpose] is like climbing a great mountain. You start off and you realize it is really steep, and you do not have the right kind of shoes for it, and the things that you are bringing along are not really the things you really need, and you find you do not have the strength to get very far. You do not have the provisions. Your expectations were perhaps too romantic. You thought this was going to be easy.”
I cannot settle for the little mountain
So many people fail for lack of preparation. How do they respond? Many settle for less than their greater purpose in life. Rainer Maria Rilke wrote about this in his poem “The Man Watching:”
What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights with us is so great.
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.
When we win it’s with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
The knowing that you avoided the engagement of which you dreamed, is a great disappointment. “Building the Four Pillars of Your Life” teaches,
“Or it proves to be hard, and you really do not have the strength to undertake it. So you settle for something much less in life. You tell yourself, “Oh, well. This relationship will be good enough for me,” or “This job will be good enough for me.” And you compromise yourself, and you give your life to things that really have no promise. You give your life to people who are really not going anywhere. And though you might feel more secure or relieved of the challenge, in your heart there is a great depression, a great misgiving.”
Climbing the great mountain is not a dream
People see how much effort is required. People see how many people fail for lack of preparation. People see how many people settle for less. People see how many of those who settle for less have a great depression, a great misgiving. Therefore, many people think that living a life of greater purpose is a dream, an illusion, a fantasy. “Building the Four Pillars of Your Life” heads that off at the pass as well:
“That is why to give you the promise that you have a greater purpose and a greater meaning in life, the essential elements for building the foundation for this must be provided for you. And the education must be provided for you. Otherwise, the idea of living a life of a greater purpose, greater meaning, is only a dream—beyond your reach, beyond your capabilities.
But it is not a dream. It is the fundamental reality of your life. But it requires a very strong foundation, and this foundation must be sustained through time. This will give you strength and confidence. This will free you from dangerous obsessions. This will prevent you from falling into despair or being pulled away by the obsessions and the addictions of others.”
Therefore, I must prepare
If I attempt to climb the great mountain unprepared, I will fail. If I settle for climbing a little mountain, I might succeed, but the triumph will make me smaller. If I call climbing the great mountain a dream, I will be ignoring the reality of my life. Therefore, I must prepare. I’m reconciled with this taking a great deal of work. I must climb this great mountain.
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