When was the last time you had a great day — experienced some joy? It was a long time ago, wasn’t it? Why you may ask. The reason is that a deathly pallor of pain has come to be considered the normal human experience, life is suffering, isn’t it? We only have to follow the daily news reports to believe this to be true. But wait: what if I changed this paradigm? What if I described reality as a crusade – a voyage of the self to fulfillment and, ultimately, the beckoning nirvana? Then the events of the journey, both bad and good, would be accepted wouldn’t they because they would further the goals of the odyssey. My suggestion is that we adopt the latter scenario not the former.
My sense of the world is very much contained between my ears. If I see the world as a painful, angst-ridden place, it is. If I see it on the positive side, it also exists. I must choose. I think the easiest “acid test” (1) of the physical world is simply to ask the question. Other than my dream state and a mental condition induced through stimulants or depressants, (2) do I know of another consciousness? I read that there is a place of deep spiritual peace enjoyed by the yogi and the mystic. As a contemporary man living in a functional modern state, I am not there – nor do I want to escape from this world. I want to be in this reality – active, developing, and “fighting the good fight,” to paraphrase St. Paul, (3) to understand myself and help my fellow man. There further appears little purpose in developing into a greedy self-centered being who counts his worth predicated on external things – position, money, or power.
These things are wonderful, of course, but they are totally ephemeral and of little eternal value. They are not who I am and if I allow myself to be consumed by them, I still run the very real risk of everything being taken away during my physical lifetime — to my great psychological peril. Think of the millionaires who committed suicide during the stock market crash of 1929. (4) This then should be my life – hopeful and resilient. Regardless of my present circumstances, nothing is permanent. Everything can be altered with a positive or, conversely, negative outcome. This leads me to the question of suicide – either immediate, as in I kill myself, or protracted; I slowly poison my body and mind with drugs, alcohol or illicit sex. Why would a person take either path to self-destruction – the immediate or the lengthy? I believe it has to be based on a lack of understanding of the future. The stressed or addled mind does not fully comprehend that this is “your only piece of life” in this consciousness. There is no reprised life after a shock of self-realization. You are not – not here that is. It is only the fool who believes otherwise. The importance then is that we decide to experience the joy and gratitude that is given to every human being. Yes, life is fickle and sometimes cruel, but it is also dynamic and exciting. The choice is simply up to each of us to live the life we deserve. Dr. Viktor Frankl (5) leaves us with a thought: Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
A closing thought: It is easy to sound naively optimistic when faced with a dire set of circumstances. There is, however, no other choice if one wants to survive. Countless stories have come down to us of individuals who overcame horrific conditions by changing their attitude — going forward through action and hope. I do believe that life is likened to a whimsical production. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Like any great operatic performance, it must have a crescendo: it is never over until the fat lady sings. (6) (Parts of this essay were first published previously)
To sum up: This week we spoke about finding joy in our lives.
To be noted: From Cervantes (7) — Proverbs are short sentences drawn from long experience.
Just for fun:
This week on your energetic walk please ask yourself, how will I bring joy intoThis week on your energetic walk please ask yourself, how will I bring joy into my daily life?
Every day look for something magical and beautiful.
Quote: I create my reality through my perception of the universe.
1) acid test