Consistency has a rhythm. We breathe in, we breathe out. We hold on, we let go. This perpetual rhythm anchors us to the consistency of our lives, whether we are aware of it or not.
As philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said, “each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death.” The rhythm of life unfolds before us, in each breath; in each day; throughout our entire lives.
As much as we try to craft a life worth living, we are often unaware of this rhythm until we look back and see its pattern.
The pattern, whether purposeful or accidental, offers us an illusory meaning to the unintended left turn when we meant to go right. It provides solace after the loss of a long held belief. It justifies the unintended suffering of a missed opportunity. We say we wouldn’t change anything because these are the things that have made us who we are.
But is this simply because we imagine our lives not as a predetermined path laid out long before we were born but rather as a personal triumph of will against some external agent or unseen influence?
We reflect. We assess. We learn from our mistakes. But we look too long and we get lost in the past. We lose the rhythm of now. We forget that staying in time with that ever changing rhythm of life is what manifests our future, one note at a time.
Our consistency of breathing in, breathing out; of holding and letting go; of trying not to try keeps us on step with that unobserved rhythm of the present moment and produces the symphony of our lives.
The aesthetic is in the consistency. The mundane becomes sublime in its ability to supplant the fatigue of routine by giving us permission to lose ourselves in the moment and to sit fully aware in the space where epiphany occurs. To the outside world looking in, our welcomed embrace of the grind looks like some kind of magical talent. The talent is nothing more than letting go and leaning into the rhythm.
Mindless automatons behave without agency, without intention. Consistency requires an intentional choice of will for something intimately eternal and ultimately unknown. The sublime aesthetic of the process eventually replaces the need for seeing a definitive outcome. Once that need to know “what it’s all for” dissipates, the process itself becomes sublime.
Consistency can not be faked because it is a function of presence. The body, our body, and the mind, our mind must be present for consistency’s rhythm to manifest.
Consistency lies just underneath the small changes we make day after day that result in desperately divergent paths that eventually lead us to this moment. We never know what this moment was to be or what it might have been but we have faith that consistency keeps us from living an unintentional life of meaningless false starts.
We must let go of forcing ourselves into a rhythm and instead lean into the impermanence of the present moment. Now is what matters and now consistently arises, like our breath, over and over. Hold onto nothing but the consistency of your presence in this moment. If you lose the rhythm, that’s ok. Take a breath, hold it for a beat, and start over. The rhythm consistently goes on.
See you on the creek.