Hope when things are Hopeless
This was inspired by the following:
The above is a Christian sermon and so of limited use but I wanted to focus on the key three points:
1. Start where you are and take one step at a time.
2. Cultivate a spiritual practice.
3. Whatever you do, don’t make the journey alone.
I am going to attack these in reverse order:
#3 – From the Havamal:
34 – It is a great roundabout way
to a bad friend,
though he dwell on the road;
but to a good friend
there lead direct routes,
though he be gone farther away.
44 – Know, if you have a friend
in whom you have faith,
and you wish to get something good from him,
you must share with his mind
and exchange gifts,
and go often to seek him out.
Long ago I was young,
I travelled on my own,
then I turned astray in my paths:
I thought myself rich
when I found another,
man is man’s entertainment.
#2 – Spiritual Practice:
I afraid we cannot go to the Havamal for this one and that this is, ultimately, very personal. Here is an example of my personal one:
And just a list of everything I have written or posted on Spiritual Practice:
#1 – Start Where You Are
Most practical approaches start here and I did not find too much in the Havamal, the closest being:
74 (Start) – He becomes happy at night
who trusts his journey-provisions;
Concentrate on logistics and what you CAN control.
Epictetus also says in Enchiridon 1:
1. Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.
The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed.
Aiming therefore at such great things, remember that you must not allow yourself to be carried, even with a slight tendency, towards the attainment of lesser things. Instead, you must entirely quit some things and for the present postpone the rest. But if you would both have these great things, along with power and riches, then you will not gain even the latter, because you aim at the former too: but you will absolutely fail of the former, by which alone happiness and freedom are achieved.
Work, therefore to be able to say to every harsh appearance, “You are but an appearance, and not absolutely the thing you appear to be.” And then examine it by those rules which you have, and first, and chiefly, by this: whether it concerns the things which are in our own control, or those which are not; and, if it concerns anything not in our control, be prepared to say that it is nothing to you.
May you have good friends and allies as you face hardship.
May you find a practice with the gods and yourself that fits you well.
Focus on what you can do and control.
May you find luck in your fight, whatever that may be.