“In all our reasonings concerning men we must lay it down as a maxim that the greater part are moulded by circumstances.” – Robert Hall: Apology for the Freedom of the Press, Sect. V.

If the greater part of men are moulded by their circumstances, then the lesser part are not. But if a man is not moulded by his circumstances, what then shapes him?

To my mind a man is either formed by his outer circumstances or he is fashioned by internal forces, which are intrinsic to his being. The internal forces – the voice from within, the voice of many waters – are at work in every man, but only those who learn to listen through the cacophony of humanity to hear this inner voice are shaped from within outward, regardless of what is going on round about.

Your circumstances provide points of release, avenues for the expression of that which surges from within. They need not determine your mood, your outlook or your way of being. In other words, you need not define yourself by your circumstances.

Your circumstances, no matter how restrictive, are always an aperture and never a prison.

7 thoughts on “Circumstances

  1. Joshua

    To effectively live a life worth living, we must each learn to be free in our limitations before we can be free from them. I appreciate your mention of the aperture that is present in our circumstances. The right handling of such generates the pressure necessary for the limitation to give way to something greater.
    Maintaining a seat in the place where leverage and power are found…the cross-over point, is where pure arete’, wisdom, being in the right place at the right time, saying the right thing at the right time, or even holding our tongue at the right time…..all comes from. Nothing is more fulfilling than this, and nothing is worth more, than its factual fulfillment!
    Thanks for the reminder, Gregg,
    Returning to our rightful place, needs to be paramount, the rest is just details.


  2. Isabelle

    I have learned that instead of seeing a particular circumstance as a limitation (i.e. what I can’t do), I ask the question, “what can I do?” This approach leads to creativity and freedom within what may seem limited and I enjoy the challenge of doing the best I can within that.


  3. Steve V

    Your words point us in the direction of listening to the surging life all about and specifically within us looking to be released in all it’s creative integrative ways through the circumstances at hand. It has been said that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Letting the expression of our life being come out makes it so.


  4. Carol

    It has taken me most of my life to finally realize this. You can’t rebel against restrictive circumstances and expect that they will change for the better. I’ve done my share of that and found it really stunted my own growth as a result. Opportunities fell by the wayside because I did not see them as such. All of our circumstances will have restrictive or unrefined elements. Not judging, holding steady, and being reasonable give all involved a chance to mature and for the experience to be creative and fruitful.


  5. Troy

    This is a post that if taken and applied can change the course of anyone’s life. Our outer circumstances can’t always be controlled but the point of control for us as individuals lies in our choice in how we react to those circumstances. I am committed to teaching my child this early in life, as it can and will allow for the true potential of who she is to be released to affect our world in a positive manner. I wish I had been provided this wisdom when I was a child but it is never to late to apply new principles of living for the good of all. Thanks so much for all you do to inspire and promote others to become the apertures of life and love that we are all meant to be.


  6. Coco

    I think the adage, circumstances are the rulers of the weak; they are but the instruments of the wise, is often true. Perhaps it is mostly vain imagination that propels us to think if only our circumstances were better we’d be better. Seeing them as an aperture puts the responsibility back in our hands and hearts. I have observed some of the most restricted situations have turned out some of the most amazing people I’ve ever encountered; while at the same time some of the most privileged have seemly squandered their abundance looking for the next injection of life to the detriment of their character and very existence.


  7. David R

    Every man or woman considered to be great or outstanding is one who has refused to accept the limitations of circumstances, but has rather utilized whatever was present as a means of achieving something remarkable. Circumstances may limit in various ways, but they cannot limit the sense of self unless that limitation is deliberately adopted and maintained.

    One who is unlimited in the sense of self will always find a way to take advantage of any circumstance as a means of radiating the generosity of life, and from that will come evidence of the extraordinary.


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