Incan civilizations utilized mountains for inspiration and harmonized their homes with the nature of the existing landscape. The buildings are composed of stones from the mountains held together by dirt and water from the surrounding streams. The foundation follows and integrates the formation of the earth. In contrast, modern architecture often defies the environment. We demolish mountains because they obstruct freeways and dam waterways that interfere with development of cities. Incan ruins blend with the mountains while providing beautifully constructed shelter, infrastructure, and irrigation systems in a way that mimics the harmony required to pursue a value-based life when the mind seems to present obstacles.
If we return to the metaphor of Incan ruins, imagine a mountain of doubt and a river of blame in the landscape. In order to pursue a value-based life, the man needs to construct a home for making a difference. Initially, one might think we must demolish the mountain and dam the river so he could create the building. He might believe that “if only I didn’t doubt myself and inappropriate take blame, I could really make a difference.” Gleaning lessons from the Incans, there may be another way. Instead, the man could combine the rocks and dirt from the mountain with the water from the river to create his home; without destroying the nature of his mind, the man could find a home for a making a difference amidst doubt and blame.
Imagine the man sees someone collapse on the side of the road. Initially he thinks, “Here is an opportunity to practice my value of making a difference.” Immediately thereafter, he doubts his ability to help and worries that if he does not succeed he could be to blame for a stranger’s death and/or misfortune. Rather than allowing self-doubt and expectant blame to impede the effort to live a value-based life, the man decides to make room for the value. Amidst the self-doubt and worries about blame he also decides to attend the person who has collapsed. He did not need to eradicate the mountain of doubt or the river of blame to make a difference; he merely needed to make enough room for the value to exist in the presence of his mind.
What messages exist in the landscape of your mind? How might you make a home for your values in the presence of thoughts that can make it difficult to act on them?