Sunday, January 22, 2006

Success by Osmosis

'Walking in the path of greatness' is a phrase often heard in respect to someone pursuing a specific course of action in life, which moves them in a direction already taken by a figure of historical significance. The association is usually metaphorical. However, I am inclined to a more literal view on occasions.

How many people feel a 'sense of occasion' when visiting a great building, where history itself was in the making some hundreds of years ago? Or, in the case of the temples and pyramids of Egypt, many thousands of years ago. I know that I do.

I cannot help but stroll along the corridors and through the rooms of great houses feeling the spiritual presence of those who have been there before me. I have touched the walls of dungeons and imagined the tortured souls who have pressed up against them, waiting for a release from their despair. I have sat in the seats of venerable leaders, monarchs, archbishops and prime ministers, and have tried to see through their eyes. It doesn't make me as great, or as tortured, or as powerful as them. However, what it does is to spiritually empower me to walk my own path with a greater sense of confidence. By allowing myself to become mentally attuned with the past, I hope to absorb something which will give me a greater degree of understanding, which can then be put to use through my actions in the present. The gradual assimilation of ideas leading to 'success by osmosis'.

Robert Louis Stevenson was a great writer. For many of his later years he lived on the the island of Samoa. Indeed, he died and was buried there. It is said that the natives of Samoa held him in high esteem. They called him by a Samoan name, Tusitala, which translated means 'teller of stories'.

I cannot sit at his desk or hold his ink quill in order to draw inspiration from him. However, I can borrow his given name as my pseudonym. Then, each time I take off the 'white coat of a physician' and pick up my pen or sit at a keyboard, I can assume a different persona; that of a writer. Perhaps, one day, I will be able to show that 'success by osmosis' is more than just a whimsical notion.

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