My personal philosophy of moving in circles is not about traveling. It’s a life statement. It’s one of those counterintuitive ideas that mean something at the apparent level, but mean the opposite at a closer analysis. We are accustomed to giving “moving in circles” a bad name. We are displeased when we feel it happening, but let’s look at it closer. What is the purpose and meaning of life?
When we are frustrated and feel like we are getting nowhere, we usually say that we “move in circles”. We seek continuity towards a goal, a relationship, a career. And a sudden change, interruption which makes us change course gives us the impression of regression to ground zero or under. Hence the feeling of frustration and getting nowhere.
Where exactly are you trying to get?
At a closer look, these are all material things that happen on the outside. And yes, when we look at the apparent level, life does seem to have a linear course. School, job, marriage, kids, wealth, retirement – all have specific stages, milestones, and even proper ages. When a relationship or career ends, or whenever we have to change course unexpectedly, the comfortable linearity is broken, and we feel like we have to take it all from the beginning.
Linear move towards… what? It’s not clear to me the end goal of a linear course. The fact that we are born naked and that’s how we return to nature is well known, and yet we all seem to run towards an undefined something.
When we look at the deeper level, we do have the intuition of circles. We sometimes get the feeling that we moved full circle, like a complete lesson, as if something has ended its own cycle. We internalize a lesson and we can naturally move on to another circumference of our life, closer to the core. Have you ever had that good feeling that something has naturally ended? That something has gone full circle? It is a beautiful feeling when we complete something in life, and I mean a work of the soul, so then we can move on to another stage.
At other times, we may have the feeling that something repeats itself many times, just like a broken record, and we fail to see the mechanics of it to fix. We can’t quite grasp it, and life puts us into the same circumstances over and over again. I found a shortcut to deal with broken record situations: change the angle by looking at yourself – why you do the things you do, what keeps you in those circumstances, what are your weaknesses, what do you want – and all things will get a whole new perspective.
There’s a quote I really like, I don’t know by whom: “In the end, everything’s gonna be ok. If it’s not ok, it is not the end”. The end is always the full circle.
I certainly feel that life is a move in circles around ourselves, rather than a linear one towards… death perhaps?! And to be technically correct, a move in spiral if we factor in the time.
I see that all around me moves in circles. The seasons, the sun, the earth, the entire cosmos, the cycles of life and death – all have a circular move around a core. Moving in circles is the natural move of life. The next time you find yourself in a circle, try to identify the core, and you will always find your own self at the core of your every move in life.
Although everything in nature moves in circles, we try to fit life in a linear pattern. Isn’t it perhaps just our ego, our mind, our intellect that is stuck into the same motion? Out of the fear of change? We repeat the same familiar tunes? We are stuck into the sweet misery of routine? Into the comfort of life as we know it? We are so intelligent, yet as much as we keep trying we cannot outsmart nature. We can lose that comfort at any time, because nature has another rhythm of its own. So perhaps it’s better to just relax and allow the rhythms of life to unfold, and understand it is just another process. The ego is the only thing that keeps us stuck in an old pattern. For in life, just like in nature, although we hope that everything is fixed, everything changes.
I feel that also when I travel I move in circles… around myself. Yes, I am very selfish all around :). A journey is many times used as a metaphor of life. There is a beginning and a destination, and the intention to arrive somewhere. Both a tourist and a traveler can go on a journey. For a tourist, the journey is linear – the beginning, the objectives, the timeframe, and the arrival are quite clear. For a traveler, these elements become somewhat ambiguous. After satisfying the touristic curiosities, the traveler understands that seeing more things is not so important anymore, but you begin to see things with different eyes. Who you become is more important than what you see. The self takes the centerstage, rather than the objects you see. So again the move becomes more circular around oneself, rather than linear. I love to be a traveler – it feels like a miniature replica of life.
In conclusion, you can never escape yourself. You will always be so faithfully with your self, just like the circle is with its center. Going in any other direction is a long and futile journey that will anyway have the same destination in the end.