You’ve been lied to. You’ve been told that there’s some sort of end point, something that you’re REACHING for all the time. When you started school, and probably even before, everyone who had any sort of influence over you has been telling you to “get ahead”, to strive for something beyond yourself, and to be a “success”. Whatever that means. I’m still not completely sure, to be honest. Real, thinking individuals with real feelings and real insecurities have been replaced by corporate automatons who are rapidly losing touch with their own human lives.
You may even be one of them. In the words of the late, great, immortal Alan Watts, the people are living as if they thought the purpose of music was to get to the end of the song. As if the whole point of dancing was to get to a particular spot on the floor! Can you see how ridiculous that is? You want me to talk about the movie, Fight Club? Ok… Tyler Durden says it more succinctly than almost anyone else. He says: “This is your life. And it’s ending, minute by minute.”
People rush around in a great panic, like it was necessary for them to pile up a great big bank balance, buy enough cars so that they can drive a different one each day of the week, and do just enough conspicuous consuming so that everyone else in their “community” would be jealous. Well I say that you can’t convince me that it’s even necessary to go on living. Go ahead, prove me wrong. Am I depressed? Of course not! I, like you, am surrounded by the beauty and magnificence of the universe each and every day of my life. Some people hate the rain. Me…I think about how we have water, the world’s most precious resource, literally FALLING FROM THE SKY! Some people hate the snow. Me…I think about how each intricately-designed snowflake is literally TEEMING with life. It is literally alive, and it’s here just for you. For free.
Some people are afraid of death. Me…I recognize how essential it is to life. Just as you can’t have a front without a back, joy without sorrow, happiness without sadness, death completes the cycle of life. And nothing natural can be evil. Or worthy of apprehension. John Smith is worth $10,000,000. Is he though? I say no…this theoretical John Smith would not be “worth” ten million dollars, or any other amount of money. He is an individual, with internal organs, and hopes, and fears, and frustrations. He has a birth date, and there will be a day when he ceases to exist. I will not relate to my fellow individuals as mere abstractions.
The acceptance of death and our common humanity must be the basis for human solidarity and compassion in our age, and forever after. So long as there are human beings on this gorgeous earth. We often speak of “coming into this world”, but we didn’t. We came out of it. Each one of us is literally the fabric and structure of the universe EXPERIENCING ITSELF. There was an Indian spiritual teacher who was giving a lecture, and one of his students asked him: “Are you God?” To which this teacher replied: “Yes. And so are you.”
Let me be clear: I have nothing to sell. I’m not passing around a collection plate, I’m not selling my services for profit, and I’m not doing anything else that people generally do for money, or to “get ahead”. I simply want you to play with these timeless ideas, and see if you don’t come out happier and more fulfilled for having let them seep in. What is causing you pain at this moment? Is it your reputation that’s bothering you? But look at how quickly we’re all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows us all. The emptiness of all those applauding hands.
Ok, so those aren’t my amazing words. They belong to the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius. He was all about receiving everything that “happens to you”, with equanimity and grace. It’s something that’s attainable by us all. Your duty is merely wakefulness itself. Only that day dawns to which we are awake, to quote Henry David Thoreau. And I use the word “duty” superficially. You don’t have to DO anything to be worthy of my respect, or the respect of anyone else you may meet today. If you breathe the same air as I do, then you are worthy of my love and respect. Because as Erich Fromm has taught us, love is the only rational answer to the problem of human existence. Everyone you pass in the street today is going to die. They are going to lose everything, and if they live long enough, they will endure the loss of everything and everyone that they love in this world. So why would you want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime? You’ve heard the advice “live like it was your last day”.
Fine advice. Nothing inherently wrong with it. But let me put this to you as well: Can you treat everyone you meet as if it was THEIR last day as well? Can you give up struggling, and live your life like it was important to you? Can you be satisfied with what you have, and lift others up as well? This is within reach of everybody. Reclaim your power, drop your struggles and worries and cares, and feel, REALLY feel, the gratitude rushing through you. Because you are here, right now. Fourteen billion years of evolutionary history have led all of us to this point in time. The universe has been unfolding and asking questions this whole time. Everything had to happen EXACTLY as it did for you to be in this position youâ€™re in RIGHT NOW. And now the universe is waiting for an answer. What are you going to do? All the best, Matt Karamazov
Published on Mar 16, 2016
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