The Consequences of Not Following Your “One True Path”

Image by Jasen Miller (Creative Commons)

I believe that we all have a north star; a shining light that guides us down the “one true path.” “The one true path” is our own unique road that leads to the fulfillment of our calling, our all-consuming passion, our sole mission in life.

When we’re not following our unique path that was designed solely for us by God, by the Universe, or by biology, bad things happen.

Bad symptoms manifest: we develop diseases—mental illness, depression, and anxiety. We develop neuroses—our self, or our spirit, becomes divided. We develop dirtied characters—we become angry and self-absorbed, we fight, we shoot bombs at countries with differing politics, we argue and injure others and, in the process, we injure ourselves.

To reiterate, I believe that the reason for many of these symptoms—both on an individual and societal level—is because many of us ignore our north star. We deny our authentic selves, and instead live through our conditioned selves (the self moulded and pressured by society, by parents, by friends).

Why Is it Hard to Follow Our Dreams?

This is not our fault—no need to feel ashamed or guilty for not having discovered who we are yet. Structures like capitalism and values like materialism are partly to blame. Our culture pressures us to make more money to upgrade our iPads and buy bigger houses. But in doing so, we end up running away from our uniqueness. Many of us are so busy chasing the delusion of the American Dream, i.e. success, prestige, power, that we have no idea there’s even an authentic self to begin with. But there is, and many of us are suffocating our true selves in exchange for a superficial way of life.

This superficial lifestyle softens our spirit. As a culture, as a nation, we’re becoming weaker and weaker. We’re becoming lazier and less disciplined and less motivated to work hard. All we want is short cuts, fast-routes, and easy money. Our creative energy seeps into playing video games and partying and chasing fast-money, but not enough is spent on making real art.

Is it really worth selling our souls for such an empty life? Are we even that much happier?

Now I get the quote by Jean Caldwell:

“The only truly happy people are children and the creative minority.”

As an artist, as a creative person, your energy needs to burst out from deep inside you. By holding it down, it heats up and causes problems under the surface. These inner conflicts manifest themselves in psychological symptoms and spiritual ailments. Is that why humans have turned mindlessly to religion again and again for comfort? Maybe it’s because embracing your authentic self and living out your calling is, in itself, salvation. And when you’re not doing that, when your life has no real purpose, you have to find salvation somewhere else, e.g. religion.

It’s the hardest thing you will ever have to do in life, following your “one true path.” Whether you yearn to finger paint, write novels, or help young kids with their schoolwork, it will require intense courage and commitment. But, now that we understand the grim consequences that await us if we ignore our dream, do we even have a choice?

Best,
Aaron.

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