So often it can feel like human incarnation has us in its giant, crushing grip. If we give in to feelings of being overwhelmed by circumstance, we can easily collapse under the pressure. Hemingway defines heroism as: “grace under pressure.” To achieve that grace we must begin with a thorough acceptance of what the present moment offers. Human incarnation always involves some dark and oppressive elements. We incarnated into mortal, gravity-bound bodies subject to all sorts of imperfections and ills. Matter, even the latest high-tech gadgets often resist our intentions. There may be scarcities of key resources like energy, money, time, companionship and health. The human collective can be like a drunken, careening cyclops ready to engulf us in its havoc. As James Joyce wrote, “History is the nightmare from which I am trying to awaken.” The pressure part of the formula is not hard to find, nor is it hard to find people who are grotesquely distorted by the pressure.
To achieve grace under pressure we need the stance of what I call “existential impeccability.” We flow through the moment with calm, alert, efficient precision, focused on the path, not on distant goals. The Everyday I Ching suggests, “Go calmly about your daily routine. Occupy yourself with ordinary, everyday matters. Do not consider any task as being beneath you. You cannot be too thorough in your attention to detail. Know your limitations. Do not overextend yourself or try to take on more than you are truly capable of.” These simple phrases contain priceless wisdom which I explore in Mechanical Resistance Matrix. Pathfinding/Day Mapping is a very brief document that provides a practical method for navigating gracefully through the pressures of the day. See also: Antidote to Worry and the documents in the Warrior Stance category of this website. Consider this a propitious time to act with grace under pressure.