Over the last few years while working on site development, I have reflected often on just what a solid foundation is. What is it that gives us the firm footing from which to approach all the other aspects of our lives? In material terms, what is a solid foundation?
For me, this firm footing is a combination of mundane practical measures and data. The knowledge, data, is often easier to acquire than the day-to-day “stuff”. Knowledge in the form of factual tidbits on how to manage one’s money, how to write up a resume, how to compose one’s thoughts in essay format, what basic tenets different religious faiths hold to be true, the definitions of esoteric terms, brushing one’s teeth regularly, etc.
It is difficult to separate the knowing and the doing, since they often intermingle in the acquiring. One could be driving to work, the same as you do every day, and for unknown reasons on a particular day you arrive at a deep meaningful insight about the way the Universe works. Or while poring over a stack of books on Eastern Philosophy, you may be inspired to create a monthly budget to gain control over how your money is spent. The key is to confront all of this head-on, instead of avoiding either aspect.
Building this foundation takes time for most of us. We take small steps towards self-improvement. To change everything at once seems impossible and becomes a major block in our progress. Looking at the seemingly impossible, we throw up our hands and do nothing. Rather than take this defeatist approach, break down what it is you need to do. The main areas in our lives that need consistent attention are Personal Health & Hygeine, Cleaning & Tidying one’s Home & Property, Managing one’s Finances, Feeding the Soul.
How does this tie in with studies at the Fatum Operandi? Assessment is the first level of study, designed to help you learn to steer yourself through the waters. By examining the Material, Intellectual, Emotional, Self-Control and Spirit of your self, you see where you have areas in which you desire to improve. Through our and other’s writings, perchance things you may have overlooked will grab your attention. By setting aside a portion of time each week, you can and will improve your life as far as you are willing. Reading things here will not magically change your life or give you a solid foundation. It takes hard work on all of our parts in order to build a strong base.
Being honest with yourself is the first step. If you work fulltime, go to school fulltime, have parttime jobs, are a parent, spouse or significant other, there are automatically large chunks of time in each day that are accounted for.
If you are just embarking on this journey of self-improvement, and are deep in the doldrums, the one thing I encourage you to do each day, No Matter What, is to Get Clean. Take a shower or bath, wash your hair, brush your teeth morning & night, and put on clean clothes. Sitting there in old sweat and crumpled garments is not the way to feel motivated to do More. Turn off the soap operas, box up the mind-sucking fiction books, limit the time you spend “doing nothing” online (perhaps start by cutting one hour off the amount you currently spend). Dust a bookshelf, sweep a floor, empty the trash, mow the lawn, fill the tank in your car, Eat Breakfast! These may seem like no-brainers, but if you’re truly in a slump, it is easy to let “things” slide until you’re living in squalor.
The principles of Feng Shui are worth studying. While you may not actually use Feng Shui in your home, at the very least work at de-cluttering your environment. Clutter breeds stagnation, stagnations makes it difficult to begin anything. You want to sweep things clean to prepare a place to build your foundation. If you have a foundation in place, inspect it. Check for metaphorical weak areas, dusty corners. Most of us have areas in our lives that we can improve. If following a strict schedule doesn’t mesh with your personality, try a more loose-knit approach, simply jot a list of things you’d like to accomplish within a week, a month, over the summer, etc.
Once you have some stability, the back-ground mental energy spent worrying over issues such as food, home, job, school, is freed up and you can then narrow your focus on more advanced areas of concern. Assessment is designed for everyone to use as the beginning step at Fatum Operandi. Whether you are just brushing off a little bit of dust, or building a whole foundation from scratch, approach each sub-section with openness and honesty towards your self. After having gone through Material, Intellectual, Emotional, Self-Control, and Spirit, you will have an idea of where you need to focus a bit of time to spruce things up. If bugdeting is your weakness, create a budget that is realistic for you and make it a goal to have using it Second Nature, before moving on to the next level of studies here. Perhaps you have avoided learning, for whatever reason; now is the time to set aside a distaste for studies or reading and tackle that area. Is your self-esteem too high? Too low? Finding balance in that area will be of great benefit as you explore deeper topics later on. Being able to have a flexibility when it comes to control is good, as is understanding what spiritual beliefs are part of you.
In many ways this Assessment level of study is akin to a toddler learning how to crawl & walk, in preparation for the immense pleasure that comes from running across a lawn, or climbing a tree, or playing hop-scotch. We’re acquiring stability, balance, and strengthening muscles. We’re finding out what makes us tick, what we enjoy, what we really desire to do and learn. Some people will begin this level and decide it isn’t for them. Some will get all the way through, and discover that it was helpful but they want to walk another direction. Others will find a compatibility with what we do here, our vision, and stay for the next phase in learning. Some will even revisit the FO after initially not finding it useful, and realize that there is something here that is helpful at this particular moment or phase in their life. We encourage each & every person to listen to that inner voice that tells you when something is right for your self. You are the only person who decides if and how long to commit yourself to studying and sharing here. Coming, going, visiting, it is your choice. If people learn nothing else in their time spent here, I hope that they go away with a more solid sense of who they are, what they want, how to live life actively instead of passively, with their feet firmly under them.
Many of us know that in terms of building a house, a solid foundation would be bedrock, or very hard soil. We know that the flat surface of a table works better than the carpet for building card houses. But when it comes to the field of esoteric or metaphysical-related studies, we find ourselves in a state of bewilderment.
To be blunt, it is very similar to the first five years of childrens’ schooling. We learn vocabulary and symbolism. We learn to connect the dots. We learn the simple definitions of many points of philosophy, religion, mysticism, politics. We learn what the sky looks like at night and how to find major constellations. We study the philosophers to glean what we may of the truths that have already been uncovered. We learn how to first strike the match, just so, before attempting to light the candle. We learn that when we do it wrong, we burn our fingers. Once these things have been mastered, we are ready for the next step of our journey.
What you as a student will find in the first 6 months to year of learning is that as you learn to walk and then run, you will be given guidance and at the same time the freedom to utterly destroy yourself if you have not patience. Training is designed to allow you the greatest amount of self-determination while providing you with the tools and means to build your foundation rock solid. If someone suggests you hold back on learning a particular aspect of studies for a bit, my advice is to listen to them and wait a while. Be intelligent, learn from those who have gone before, do not try to reinvent the wheel where unnecessary.
“Everyday life is a stimulating mixture of order and haphazardry. The sun rises and sets on schedule but the wind bloweth where it listeth.”-Robert Louis Stevenson