Life Lived Forwards…..
It is a funny thing about life;
if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.
W. Somerset Maugham
Dear CSSW Families, Staff and Friends,
At the successful conclusion of the 2022-23 school year, I am pleased to recognize this year’s graduates as they start the next chapter of their journey. As our society has become ever more complex and confusing, please allow me to impart some parting observations that may be useful to young adults.
Often, it seems that we live in a world of myth masquerading as fact, a world of theory pretending to be truth. How does one lead and follow in this matrix of density and confusion? Life can only be really understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. It becomes more and more evident that the correctness of important personal decisions can never really be judged in real time because at no moment can one find the necessary resting place from which to understand it.
Changing one’s thinking or behavior, no matter how admittedly dysfunctional or unproductive, often meets with an internal resistance so strong that even well-meaning friends and advisors are disinclined to pursue the matter. Why is genuine sustained change, even when cognitively acknowledged to be desirable, so difficult to attain?
In examining oneself, how should we conduct our activities to reach our objectives? The acceptance of responsibility for one’s choices, actions and their consequences is a demanding discipline that many cannot live up to. Zen philosophy advises us that if we are to truly learn something new, we must first “empty our cup” of all other contents in our minds.
All the cumulative knowledge and insights that we learn are essentially avenues through which we can achieve serenity, mental tranquility, and profound self-confidence. A single-minded obsession with outcomes reduces the capacity to feel happiness and deadens experience itself.
The feeling of happiness is the sense of being complete because there seems to be nothing missing. The aim in our personal endeavors is to free ourselves of anger, illusion, and false passion, and to recognize the inherent harmony of ordinary life. That is the true meaning of success.
On behalf of the CSSW Board of Directors and Staff, we wish you all the best.