What Life’s Patterns Can Do For You (Patterns, Part I)

Patterns here, patterns there, patterns everywhere.

  • Individual Patterns: Relationships, finances, careers, individual patterns of behavior, circadian rhythm, internal clock, some individuals will even have a propensity to certain numbers
  • Generational/Evolutionary Patterns: Ancestral links, wealth, poverty, addictions, illness
  • Societal Patterns: Common patterns of behavior, demographic trends, economic cycles, political movements, fashion & lifestyle fads
  • Universal/Archetypal Patterns:  Myths, symbols, events. Ubiquitous & cross-cultural. Patterns of human nature developed over the ages via the collective unconscious & group experiences. Become metaphors for comparing.
  • Natural Patterns: Cycles of the earth- seasons, weather, climate. Based upon steady orbit & rotations of earth, sun & moon. Cycles of life & death, the circle of life.  

“Pattern” is from the Latin word patrōnus, meaning patron, which is derived from pater, meaning father. Like a father, patterns are heavily intertwined with our creation and development. Patterns provide us with stability, tradition and guidance. Patterns describe the past and direct the future. Whether long-term archetypes, short-term trends or nature’s enduring consistency, with faithful perpetuity, patterns impact seemingly every facet of our daily lives.  


Patterns make life easier. They make a complex world easier to understand and describe. Patterns provide meaning and bring clarity. We don’t have to think as much, making cognition more efficient. With the “omens” and “portents” of patterns, we can “predict” the future based upon what has happened in the past. Patterns provide balance, proportion, harmony, objectivity and perspective. Patterns give order to a chaotic world.

Patterns play an important role in social constructs. Patterns provide us with common tradition. They’re timeless and cross-cultural, providing the world a sense of shared vision and some type of mutual understanding. We see patterns in art, music, literature, spirituality and in every other aspect of society. We observe repetitive architectural patterns in labyrinth and mazes. In commerce, products and services are described via symbols, motifs and logos.  

Patterns are beautiful, providing common artistic themes such as in tapestries and mosaics. Many times these same works of art cross into spiritual dimensions as well as portrayed in mandalas, sand paintings, liturgies, beautiful stained glass and other elaborate decor. Patterns also enter into the realm of religion by means of rituals, hymns and chants. We see recurring themes over the ages in our literature, the quest pattern, for example.

Patterns provide a foundation. A pattern can serve as a blueprint for the mind. These templates increase efficiency. We have a mold to go by and an image to follow. We have tried and true examples to adhere to so we don’t have to start from scratch. Patterns portray a model of what’s worked, and not worked, in the past. They also provide organization, through solid structures and systems. Patterns trigger our memory, making recall much easier and promoting learning. The very foundation of the natural world is based upon the patterns of earth’s rotations and cycles.

Patterns enable growth. Passion is essential for growth, and patterns can help you identify those passions. The word “motif” is a synonym for pattern. A motif is an overall theme or a recurring shape in a design. Symbols and logos are often thought of as motifs. Motif is French for “motive.” Motive is movement, specifically, what moves a person into action. Your passion is what motivates you the most. Identify your strengths by analyzing the “part-whole” relationships in patterns, how you fit into the whole grand scheme, your place, your purpose.  

Patterns relate to fate. You cannot be cognizant of everything going on around you. There is a lot happening out of sight, playing in the background. The scenes playing out around you often relate to your overall destiny, things that impact you for which you have little, and often no, control over. Patterns in life can help you identify recurring themes of the past in order to chart your best future course of action.

At its basal form, life in general can be likened to a labyrinth, one way in (birth), one way out (death). However, we create many of our own unique patterns within this labyrinth. At the individual level, life is much more like a maze in that it is more complicated, but you have an unlimited number of options. There’s always more than one way. It’s not always the right way that we choose, but it’s this free-will which develops our souls. We change, we grow, we disrupt the status quo of the labyrinth of life.

Patterns shape perspectives. During very stressful situations, especially long-term stress, looking at the details can just be too overwhelming. Too many details. Too difficult to sort out. Taking a look at the big picture can provide a more reasonable angle. Sometimes you have to take a step back and get a broader view of the issue at hand. Sure, you may see a long road ahead, but you can also appreciate your progress.  

Taking a bird’s eye view enables you to recognize the patterns of the past which are likely to repeat in the future. Rather than worrying over an infinite amount of random possibilities, you can realistically narrow scenarios way down by looking to the past and analyzing like repetitions. Looking at possible future scenarios shouldn’t be about worrying about the past, rather preparing for the future. This frees you to take informed action in the present.


The opposite of a pattern would be chaos or coincidence. Without time and repetition, an occurrence is just a rarity. A singularity is happenstance, good luck, bad luck, whatever you want to attribute it to. But many events can reveal a clear picture. Identifying life’s patterns can help you develop beneficial habits and eradicate detrimental routines.

Be sure to read: Making Life’s Patterns Work for You

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