“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”
Not too long ago, a boy was born to a Princess mother and an aristocrat. This young man experienced great loss from an early age. When his mother died, a cousin took to raising him and his siblings. When his father passed, these children we passed from aunt to aunt. He failed to excel as a student in his younger years. Choosing to spend his time partying in excess, he dropped out and tried his hand as a farmer. At this he failed as well, again leaving tasks to socialize. It seemed this young man was only capable of keeping a journal!
This young man happened to be Leo Tolstoy. Later on he achieved great wealth and acclaim in writing Anna Karenina. Yet amidst this success, this great accolades, he faced a crisis of religion and fell into a great depression. In seeking the meaning of life, he sought out organized religion and wrote of his experience, which was unconventional and controversial. He decided that all Christian churches, were corrupt institutions that thoroughly falsified true Christianity. He championed five tenets, one being “do not resist evil”. This non-resistance to evil, the doctrine that inspired Gandhi, meant not to accept evil but that it cannot be fought by evil means. He would spend his later years as a great moral and religious teacher.
Tolstoy is to this day considered one of the finest writers of literary work. He possessed a gift for describing characters motives. Most have stressed his ability to observe the smallest changes of consciousness and to record the slightest movements of the body. What many novelists would describe as a single act of consciousness, Tolstoy convincingly broke down into a series of infinitesimally small steps. This man who elicited in his readers a wish to escape from the gaze which Tolstoy fixed on them. Rumi famously surmised what Tolstoy eloquently evoked, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
What is the greatest advice I would offer? I say this to you today, In the name of God, cease your restlessness, stop a moment and look around you.