The Beauty in Being Inconsistent

February 26, 2016 ~ Demetra Szatkowski
found on Pinterest

found on Pinterest

"Why? What is consistency? Consistency means living according to the past. With what will you be consistent? If you want to be consistent you can have only one reference, and that is the past. To be consistent means to live according to the past, and to live according to the past is not to live at all. To live according to the past is to be dead. Then your life will be just a repetition.

To be consistent means you have already decided that now there is no more to life, that you have already come to a full stop; you don't allow life to have anything new to give to you, you have closed your doors. The sun will rise, but you will not allow its rays to enter into your room. And the flowers will bloom, but you will remain unaware of their fragrance. Moons will come and go, but you will remain stagnant. You have stopped being a river.

A river cannot be a consistent phenomenon. Only a pond can be consistent, because it is nonflowing. The flow by its very nature has to be inconsistent, because it has to face new situations, new challenges. New spaces are constantly coming upon it; it has to respond spontaneously, not according to the past.

The consistent man is a logical man, his life is one-dimensional. He lives in arithmetic, he follows logic. If anything goes against logic he simply avoids seeing it; he pretends that it is not there, because it is so disturbing to his logic. 

And the logical man is the poorest man in the world, because life consists not only of logic, but of love too. And love is illogical. Only a very small part of life is logical, the superficial part...

Life is short. Live it as richly as possible, and don't try to be consistent. The consistent man is a very poor man. Of course the society respects the consistent man, because the consistent man is predictable. You know what he is going to do tomorrow, you know how he is going to react. He is manageable, he can be easily manipulated. You know what buttons to push and how he will act. He is a machine; he is not truly a man. You can put him on and off and he will behave according to you; he is in your hands. 

The society respects the consistent man; the society calls consistency "character." And the real man has no character. A real man is characterless, or beyond character. A real man cannot afford character, because character can be afforded only at the cost of life. 

[If you are inconsistent] Society will not respect you, you will not be a respectable citizen - but who cares? Only mediocre people care about the respect of the society. The real person cares only about one thing: Whether I am living my life or not, whether I am living it according to my own vision or not, it is my life, and I am responsible to myself. 

The man of character compromises. His character is nothing but an effort to guarantee the society, "I am not dangerous," and to declare to the society, "I will follow the rules of the game, I am utterly at your disposal.""  

-Osho

I love Osho, because he's so inconsistent. He says things and then contradicts himself, and he does it on purpose.

I have been trying to write something on this topic for a while now, but I haven't known quite how to put my feelings into words. And then tonight I stumbled across those paragraphs, and all of a sudden everything made sense.

I have this story about myself. It can be a really touchy topic for me, because it encompasses basically all of the negative things I have been told about myself throughout my entire life. "You're so irresponsible." "You can't commit to anything." "You always do what you want and don't care about anybody else." "You change too much." And what it really all boils down to is this: "You are so inconsistent."

And I have felt really, really bad about it, in the past. Bad because the way I change so often affects those closest to me. Bad because I just can't help it. Bad because being consistent seems like the worst thing I could ever picture for myself - not because I think it's inherently a bad quality, but because to me the thought of being consistent sucks all the fun out of life. And bad because consistency seems to be a quality that other people value, a lot.

I'm Sagittarius. Aries rising. The idea of having to finish what I start and being stuck in one spot is something that I immediately want to run from. While I can appreciate structure and stability, especially emotionally (Capricorn moon), I still don't comprehend the contentedness that people appear to have with a life that stays the same.

And so in the past six months or so I have been working on this, which for me means I have been thinking about it quite frequently and bringing it up to many people to hear their opinions. And the reactions differ, because people are so different. Some people crave that consistency, it seems. Some people naturally are happy with being in one place and doing the same things forever. I knew that; to me that was what I felt society was telling me to strive for. But the more I talked about it, the more I heard different opinions.

I saw a man the other day that I haven't seen in a few years. He asked about my life, and I attempted to sum up the extreme up and downs of even just the past couple months. When I asked how he was, he said that everything was pretty much the same, which made me start laughing. And when I expressed that it was just funny to me that someone's life can stay so consistent when mine is so all-over-the-place, secretly feeling a little bad and like he was judging me, he just stopped and said, "We need people like you. You keep life from being boring."

My close friends have said very similar things, and what I came to realize only recently was that this is a quality that some people really value about me. I have always felt otherwise, especially in my family and in romantic relationships, and since those relationships are usually the ones that are immediately affecting my life the most, they are the viewpoints I have listened to and internalized. 

The interesting thing is that my closest friends always deny the negative parts of it. They see it in a completely different way. "You're not irresponsible," they say. "You just don't settle. Like, when you're unhappy, you leave. When you know you don't want something anymore, you're done with it. Most people are too afraid."

Committing, too, has been an interesting term for me. I started a business and then left it 10 months later. And what I heard from people was, "You can't commit to anything." And I started thinking about that term and why it mattered so much. Why commitment was such a desirable quality. And I realized that to me, commitment has just never meant a life sentence. There really is such beauty in committing to people and to passions and to careers. The part I don't get is that to some people that means I can never change my mind. I can commit fully to something, and then maybe at some point I decide it isn't right for me anymore. That doesn't mean I can't commit. It means I don't want to settle for something that is not making me happy.

So I've been trying to rephrase how I talk about this to myself. Instead of seeing it as a negative trait, seeing it as a positive trait. I watched a video one time that described how people that can relate to this are people that are like the hummingbirds of society - constantly taking things from one flower and moving them to another. The woman speaking referred to it as "pollinating society." And she thought it was very, very necessary.

If this sounds like you, know that having this quality does not mean there is anything wrong with you. It is part of who you are. You are allowed to change your mind. You are allowed to be extremely excited and interested in one thing and then a month or two later to find something that excites you even more. Your emotions are allowed to be all over the place. It's okay for your life to be super messy. It's okay to just be yourself.

There is a difference, I think, between having this quality in a healthy way and having it in a way that is rooted in fear - meaning that it's unhealthy maybe to constantly leave because you are running away, or because you are scared of being in one place - which is also something I've thought about a lot but is a topic for a whole other essay, another time. 

We should not feel bad about being who we are, even if our qualities don't fit into what society typically expects of us. <3