Post number 17 of 33 in The Ganymede Progression.

Avoidance is the extent to which we remove certain things from our lives (or remove ourselves from the life of things). I spoke at the end of my last essay of the fish swimming in the river, choosing to swim left or right but unable to choose what floats downstream towards it. Avoidance is like swimming back downstream to avoid that which is coming towards us. It can speak of an attachment we have not yet been able to let go of, of a lack of courage to face what’s really there. Or it can be a conscious decision to tackle problems with resolutions, rather than open-ended and circular situations.

Avoidance can therefore be both positive and negative, and relies on our judgement for its correct use. Balance is key; we are wise to avoid the dragon which will surely eat us, but wise also to tame the one who we believe we can master. How do we know which is which? Experience is one teacher, our own self-knowledge, the extent to which we have developed our dragon-taming abilities. And sometimes we just have to take a gamble on the dragon we think looks most recently fed. But there’s no getting away from the fact it’s the foolish man who runs from all dragons, when he has the capacity to tame some.

It’s a grey area, I think. There was once a time where I would avoid things which were hard for me personally, because I was afraid. And these days, I have the courage to avoid that which would do me harm however inviting it is. I’ve spoken a few times in this journal about my struggles with alcoholism, and that was a form of avoidance. It allowed me to escape the unhappiness of my situation, to slip into chemical oblivion each night and ignore the mess my life was becoming. Now I avoid alcohol (or at least restrict my exposure to it). That avoidance is a healthy one, educated by my experience of addiction.

And to think of another personal take on avoidance, I have removed certain negative or poisonous influences from other parts of my life, and continue to actively avoid them. I think of this as a kind of resolve, not control as such, but I suppose control of the channels coming into my experience. I can shut doors if all that lies behind them are more dragons. Again, judgement is key here, and it’s clear avoidance is a double edged sword – on the one hand it can be a tool for weakness, and on the other a tool for strength. Back to the fish, swimming left or right to avoid the shallow water is a good thing. Swimming against the current to avoid it is not – eventually the fins will tire, or the current will increase, and the fish will drown.

As Jedi we must learn to accept our paths. As I said in the previous essay on control, we cannot avoid that which is meant for us. But neither can we hold on to that which is not meant for us. We learn of our personal weaknesses and sometimes, we can train them into strengths. Other things may always overwhelm our intentions, and in those cases we are wise to avoid even that which others are wise to pursue, to face, to live with. In recent years I have felt I have made errors in discerning one from the other, but as I grow, I mature into the understanding that… this is my path. It always would have been. I am responsible for it, of course; it would be avoidant to suggest I didn’t make the choices I made, cause the pain I caused. I am wholly responsible for it. But it was always mine to own. It was always here to teach what it has taught. And the lessons continue.

Finally, what am I avoiding right now? There are things I avoid speaking of out of kindness and respect for others, things which I could use for my own personal growth but which would expose others to humiliation or difficulty. And that is another form of avoidance, the avoidances we make out of integrity, out of our own capacity to take something on our own backs that others won’t have to carry it. To do anything is to avoid something else; to do good is to avoid something bad. I am a Jedi, an instrument of peace. I will continue to work on doing good.

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