This week I had an early morning walk in the mountains. There is something magical and transcendent about an elevation away from “the hustle and bustle” of humanity. The sounds and smells are always awe-inspiring and remarkable. My sojourn into nature’s embrace was also so blessed. A sense of peace pervaded my thoughts. I stopped and remarked on this. This stream of consciousness, (1) my thoughts, are uniquely my own: my universe, my personal and inner reflections, can be accessed by no one but me. I am alone: there is no one but me and my connection with infinity, with God as I see him. This idea produces a sense of naked and unvarnished terror in many people; they do not know how to deal with this freedom — hence the phenomenon of the unrequited life. (2) This does not have to be.
The unique smell of any decaying flora has to be one of the more notable signatures of change. It could be bouquets being donated after a wedding, flower arrangements moved at the conclusion of a funeral or perhaps the scent of a freshly mowed lawn. All indicate closure with the potential for renewal. It is interesting to note how the five senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell) have such a powerful hold on whom we are and how we develop. I have read that after a military battle, the stench and sight of death are such that the experience can never be forgotten. This is five days after the battle of Borodino on September 7th, 1812. (1)
Life is an interesting phenomenon – my life is an interesting phenomenon, that is, because, aside from my connectivity with the universe, it is the only “real” reality I have ever known, know at this moment and will know in the future. That being said, if you truly set your goal on something – whatever it is – given your set of givens, (1) and plot a determined course, you will achieve your goals, perhaps. This caveat is here because, firstly, our givens are somewhat limiting and, secondly, of course, life is fickle. When I say determined, I do mean that all your power has to be focused on that one goal, whether it takes an era or not – think Churchill! (2) You do run the greatest chance of happiness in your lifetime if you adopt this position. This is due to the fact that your mission in life, hence your happiness, is not embodied in the goal – the arrival – but, in the journey.Notably, it is the interior journey that has real meaning in the end.
Why do so many of us appear to be afraid of living? Is it because we fear a lack of life – of death? Or, is it because, like any new piece of clothing, it initially feels uncomfortable and takes time to get used to — is this the reason? I am perplexed, to be honest. I only, of course, know what I know. That being said: our experience is similar, I am sure. I have worn the clothes of adolescence, the clothes of the student, the clothes of the salesman, the clothes of the businessman and the clothes of the educator. At each new sartorial change, the attire was uncomfortable and quite disquieting, at the beginning. We have to “grow into” our new clothes. Is this not life? Our being, our reality, our “comfort zone” is wracked with changes and alterations during a lifetime, whether we invite them or not.
We have a tendency to not remind ourselves often enough, to forget, that it is a good life – for as long as we have it. This is a claim that is difficult to hold prior to being born and it won’t be tenable, most assuredly, after we are deceased. There is a school of thought, however, that believes the words should not be “have,” — for as long as we have it, but actually “endure,” — for as long as we endure it. When you think of the trauma that life is for most of us, this idea is totally understandable. There is only one problem. This is the only life – my only life in this consciousness. Nothing is true unless I deem it so. If I see life as pain, a collection of endless failures, it is. Conversely, if I view it as a great adventure on a path to personal achievement, it can be this instead.