I feel an important shift within my spiritual orientation, but it's very strange because it begun only an hour ago. It started with a WhatsApp exchange with an ex-girlfriend who wanted to meet up with me before I left Mexico for work related reasons. I told her that this was complicated for me, that I didn't want to do it, and that I wished her well. This was difficult for me to formulate at first, but afterwards I experienced relief.

With this relief came a realization: I'm currently dating a woman whom I haven't written about. I felt it clearly: I must also terminate this relationship as soon as possible, in preparation for my departure.

Then I went to the loo. I took my phone, as usual. I tried opening Hacker News for distraction, but it was blocked. I had blocked it in an effort to reduce mindless browsing. Thus, I ended up in Wikipedia, and somehow I encountered a term that should have been on my radar long ago, but it had eluded me until today: homo faber.

Homo faber (Latin for 'Man the Maker') is the concept that human beings are able to control their fate and their environment as a result of the use of tools.

Without going any deeper into the topic, I understood that the period of my life where "life is expressed through me" is over. I've been practicing this philosophy for ten years now, which was preceded by the opposite philosophy. In spiritual terms it is not a regression, but a transcendence of philosophies: you have free will (and thus can design your life), and you also don't have free will (and thus you can't design your life). The new chapter is about the understanding this paradox.

There have been several threads weaving into a pattern which I now understand within the realm of the subtle: it is not that I have control over my life, the only thing I have control over is my attention. If I relinquish my control over attention, then it will be hijacked by whatever happens to me in life.

The realization can be summarized as this: the exercise of my free will relies on my attention.

In the first period of my life, I thought I had free will and that I designed my life, but without having control over my attention I realized this was an illusion. The end game of this period was realizing the "thing" steering my actions was my ego, and my ego was controlled by forces beyond me--societal pressures, personal desires, instinctive impulses.

Then I surrendered my ego and I begun allowing for things to "happen to me". The spiritual shift resulted in a great amount of personal growth, because it had been encapsulated in an ego that identified itself with its profession. Spirit avidly explored the newfound space with voracity, growing into the spaces where life presented new experiences.

As I come to realize this period is over, I understand the transcendence of this duality: you design your life as much as life designs you.

Homo faber's tool is attention. In actionable terms, this period will be explored by self-remembering and asking: what is the result of placing my attention on what I'm currently thinking? In meta-terms: what is the result of placing my attention on attention? I wrote an answer and then deleted it because I admit I do not know the answer from experience.

There's simply a realization that this is unexplored territory. I've emerged out of another layer of spiritual encapsulation in which I'm just rubbing my eyes, trying to understand the dazzling effects of such understanding.