“Are we really growing towards a realization? Or are we, perhaps, just going in circles—we who think that at some point we shall escape the circle of existence?” — Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
Good habits and bad alike offer ample opportunity to become trapped in a cycle of routine. Writing every morning is likely a good habit for me, running several times a week is great for my bride, and hiking every weekend has transformed some friends who are rarely seen in social settings anymore. There’s no arguing that positive habits have the potential to offer growth and vibrancy, but it’s fair to question now and then whether we’re simply going around in circles.
What are we chasing? What are we moving towards? Are we collecting experiences or are we accumulating wisdom and leaning in to growth? We ought to look around and ask ourselves hard questions now and then, questions that force us to see who we are becoming. It is only through seeing that we find our direction.
None of us is getting out of this alive. What we do with this knowledge is essential to who we become in our brief dance. Do we embrace a life of nihilism and distraction or do we double down on finding a purpose that resonates for our time?
Growth offers the opportunity to make a bigger splash, doesn’t it? We all sink in the end, but each of us offers a ripple that carries across the plane of existence even after we’ve disappeared from sight. Ripples are circles too, but radiating beyond us, that we might touch others, even those who appear out of reach. This is true in our time, and surely beyond it.