We’ve been discussing existence in one of my Philosophy classes and Aristotle’s answer to the question “What is being?” Although Aristotle’s answer is a little too abstract to understand practically, the ancient wisdom held within the words of his argument for existence can be applied in a practical manner if understood properly. In general, Aristotle believes that being is substance and substance is a blend of matter and form. All that is is substance, which is essentially matter and form. One cannot exist without the other. Perhaps a practical illustration of this will help you better understand this concept, consider the statue of David created by Michelangelo. The matter that Michelangelo used to make this statue is marble, the form he chose is a statue of an infamous naked man, the substance or “being” is the statue of David. The matter is merely potential without form to actualize this potential. Form however, exists potentially and in actuality. Once matter and form have come together in unison a “being” or substance has become actualized.
So how does this all apply to you and your life? Well in order for the statue of David to become actualized, Michelangelo had to access the marble matter he had to work with and envision it’s potential. Without this vision, he could not have created the statue of David. Once Michelangelo saw the object of his desire, he could then bring form to the matter of marble by carving it into the form of a naked man. The combination of matter and form depicted Michelangelo’s vision of the statue of David, the famous biblical character. Together Michelangelo’s vision and action created the object of his desire. Just as he did, so too can you.
I want you to ask yourself not what you want to do with your life, but who you want to be in this life. You cannot do anything wonderful without choosing what part of your being is wonderful. Just as a piece of marble, your physical body is nothing but potential. Potential that God brought to life by the form or essence of your own individual spirit. Without your spirit, you are dead and your body is nothing but a corpse. Just as Aristotle’s argument asserts that form exists both as potential and actuality, so too does your spirit which is the essence of who you are. It is up to you and only you to actualize your potential, to bring who you are to fruition and create something of significance.
So consider who it is that you wish to be. Do you wish to be successful? Compassionate? Happy? Loved and Lovable? Joyous? Intelligent? Kind? In order to be these things, you must first realize that you already possess this quality within yourself. All you have to do is act in ways that illustrate this quality that you already possess. Ask yourself; How would my successful self act? What would my compassionate self do in this circumstance? What would my happy self do right now? What would my lovable self do? What would my joyous self say? What would my intelligent self think? How would my kind self respond? So many people wonder how they can be happy without realizing that happiness already abides within themselves just waiting to be realized. In order to be happy, you must act in ways that will actualize your potential happiness.
If you find you still don’t understand, try working your way backwards. What is it that you desire and wish to possess? What is your goal in life right now? Do you desire a degree? A relationship? More money? Better friendships? What must you do to acquire these things? Is your goal in life to be successful? What defines success for you then, or what is it that you must do to be successful? After you have answered these questions, question how you will feel once you have what you desire. How will you feel when you are in a relationship? Loved? How will you feel when you have more money? Secure? In order for you to achieve these things, you must first know that you are lovable and feel loved, know that you are secure and feel secure, know that you are a good friend and be a good friend, know that you are successful and be successful. You must know your potential in order to realize it.
You see, all of life begins by being. You do things and act in ways according to what you believe and how you feel about yourself. Your intrinsic beliefs, feelings and values determine your everyday actions. Your everyday actions create your reality. Your outer world is a direct reflection of your inner world. You can either let what is outside of you define you, or decide what is inside of you and let it define your outer world. The choice is yours. Whether or not you decide to choose does not matter, because either way it will determine how you experience your life.
You can create your life by being, doing and having what you want. There is no right or wrong way, there is only your way. So I encourage you to determine what way is right for you!