You may have seen the television show Burn Notice. It’s the ongoing story of a discredited spy who is a good guy and very competent operative, but who has been blacklisted from the official intelligence community. The “burned” spy, Michael Westen, provides a running commentary as though he is addressing spies in training.
In a recent episode, Westen says in the voice-over narration: “As a spy, your job is to perform dark deeds for a noble purpose, and that purpose is all that guides you through the darkness. When you lose sight of that, all that’s left is the darkness.”
So, it’s as true for spies as for all the rest of us. Life in general requires us to keep sight of our noble purpose as our best and often only guide through the darkness, because we are certain to experience significant darkness anytime we aren’t holding in mind why we keep trying, why we keep moving ahead. For many, the continuous reminding of that noble purpose is provided by and through our everyday spiritual practices.
Could be that’s the difference between a pessimist and an optimist: the former can’t keep his noble purpose in mind and the latter never lets it slip from view.