“Only someone who is ready for everything, who doesn’t exclude any experience, even the most incomprehensible, will live the relationship with another person as something alive and will himself sound the depths of his own being.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
When I first moved to Montreal, I went into a rather small place that was conveniently located a stone throw away from work. It got cluttered quickly and having friends over was troublesome. Eventually I moved to a large place which seemed really empty when I simply moved my stuff from my old place to my new place. Suddenly I had all this space to do something with. From that space, I purchased items and arranged my place in a way that made it finally feel like a home. After having moved a total of four times in a year and a half, I finally felt settled. Finally felt at home.
I’ve often heard a phrase in ‘self-development’ that stuck with me through the years, and that’s that this is a process of ‘undoing’ or ‘unlearning’ more then it is about ‘developing’ something. We learned how to judge others, and our selves. We learned how to feel like losers or screw-ups. Whether from family or the society around us, we can’t help but learn a lot of things that don’t benefit us as we grow up. Of course, our capacity for learning benefits us heavily as well. It’s the only way we could read and consume something like this blog, or know not to take candy from strangers.
Not everything that is learned is beneficial though, and that’s why unlearning is necessary. This is the practical tool towards living out The King’s Journey. The steps go something like this once you take something you’ve learned before:
- Question why it is you’re supposed to do whatever you’ve learned in the way that you’ve learned it.
- If it still makes sense to do things that way, and it benefits you, then keep it up, if it doesn’t, continue to step 4.
- Start to break down that idea. Who decided it should be that way? Is it still relevant today? Would you be able to live your life without it? How essential is it really?
- Once the idea is seen as simply an idea, and it starts to fade away, you now have space.
- In this space, you may freely choose to follow a new idea or concept, one that benefits you in the life you’ve chosen to create.
To give a quick example, imagine an idea like following in your family’s footsteps of being a musician, even though you’ve been drawn towards being a biologist.
- I’m supposed to be a musician because my parents paid a lot for my practice as a child, and it’s all they know. My brother and sister are both working towards being musicians as well, and they seem to love it, maybe there is something wrong with me.
- The idea doesn’t benefit me because it makes me feel guilty about my future and my past up until now and makes me feel like there is something wrong with me.
- My parents decided it, and I’ve never really talked to them about it, so I don’t even know how they would react. Not everyone who came from a family of musicians went on to be a musician themselves. Even though I’ve spent so much time on music already, I still have my whole life ahead of me, to continue doing it from now on just because I’ve always done it, is only going to lead to more suffering.
- I’ve just been assuming everything so far, and was so anxious I’d be doomed to an entire life of this. Either I’ll make my parents understand, or I’ll find a way to continue living my life the way I’ve decided. I can’t actively choose to be miserable my entire life just to please my parents.
- I’m going to use all my free time to study towards being a biologist while I work towards convincing my parents and showing them where my passions lie. Now that I’m not spending my days worrying about my future and what might be wrong with me, I can move forwards towards living the life I want to create.
Perhaps you don’t speak quite like that, but that would be a quick example of how you can go inside yourself to find how much truth there is to something you’ve chosen to believe this whole time. If a belief doesn’t benefit you, break it down, and create a new one.
As I said before, The King’s Journey is often avoided because it means you take full responsibility. It’s much easier to go with the flow, follow in the footsteps or advice of your parents, to let them take care of everything. It can be parents, other family, society, friends, or even Hollywood. Everything and everyone is trying to tell you how to live, and what to do. It may be harder to take responsibility and actively choose to create your life and the different aspects of it, but the rewards surpass anything you could imagine.
When you have space, you no longer have clutter, and you have the opportunity to create the life you want. All you need to do is find the borrowed ideas, and supplement them with your own. It may take months or years, but the journey is a blast too.