Wednesday, June 10, 2009

#14 and so on...

Sometime last year I was telling you about some things I have learnt so far. You know, those things that you must discern yourself as you trudge through this merciless yet amazing thing called life.

14. Words are the filler and glue of life

The precepts of Buddhism are called "The Four Noble Truths" and the first of these is that "Life is suffering". Life like anything else in it is apt to fall apart; it disintegrates and is in constant need of repair. Just like that nice shine on your car, that closet door or that favourite pair of heels, it breaks apart and some pieces fall off, gaps are left and somehow we must find the tools to fix it. Words, both said and unsaid, they are the things that keep our lives together. Use the damn things.

15. There is something that comes after

Woody Allen once said "The chief problem about death, incidentally, is the fear that there may be no afterlife- a depressing thought, particularly for those who have bothered to shave. Also there is the fear that there is an afterlife but no one knows where it's being held."

I have that fear but not because I like to shave (I do hope though that when I check out, I've bothered to do some pruning, no one likes an overgrown bush.), the fear is primarily because there are those who have gone before that I must meet again. Also there is the fact that I need everything to level out. The one I was brought up to believe in has too many loopholes for the wicked and also sounds eternally boring. I prefer instead to think of it as the next great adventure, an unknown that will be revealed only after the curtains go down on this one. I have long held the belief that it does not matter where you're going after but what you do here and that I still hold true. In the words of Robert G. Ingersoll,

"Is there a God?
I do not know
Is man immortal?
I do not know

One thing I do know, and that is, that neither hope, nor fear, belief, nor denial, can change the fact. It is as it is, and it will be as it must be.
We wait and hope
."

16. To be the best

This is a philosophy that I am yet to fully develop, this is what I have so far and I welcome any form of debate.

Each and every one of us has a sacred duty to be the best person that we can be. Some of us because we perceive that life has been more unfair to us than others, walk down paths that lead to harm and destruction, of ourselves and others. Some of us because we do not perceive our unique individuality choose to merely exist rather than live. And then there are those of us who think that this individuality means that we must be independent rather than interdependent.

You are all unique and that is something that you must never forget, that no matter what anyone else brings to the table, you bring a blend like no other. Upon realising this fact you must be ready to accept each other's uniqueness and perhaps even celebrate it but you must also realise that there is a common humanity that binds all of us. Then you must look inside and find the answers to these questions.

  • If you could do one thing that at the end of the day would make your entire life, each and every experience, worthwhile, what would it be?
  • If you could champion one cause in life, what would it be?
  • What are the things that make you truly happy in life?
  • What does giving mean to you and why do you do it?

If you can find these answers, then choose a path and walk it, even if it be less travelled, straight, narrow, crooked, wide or otherwise. Choose your path and become a better you, one who is purer of thought and heart than before.

17. Listen to the voices (not the ones in your head)

I know a number of people who don't enjoy a good book. It's still a mystery to me but we are different like that. I believe that there are lessons to be learned from those who have long since moved on and those of us that are still here. I yearn for knowledge and I cannot imagine greater teachers than the countless dead and living alike, my fellow human beings, so I listen to what they say. I listen and then decide whether to take their lessons to heart or give my own merits for thinking otherwise. One of us once said "There is no good in war except its ending", I believe him but clearly some of us don't. When I think about those that have an aversion to the written word, I wonder how they find the knowledge that we all seek. I remember reading Ingersoll's "Why I Am an Agnostic" back when I was disentangling myself from the clasping folds of religion and thinking that here was a kindred spirit. Perhaps it was just an affirmation of what I had to come to believe but it was good to know that someone had once asked the same questions of themselves and it was also good to know what they thought. Okay, I'm rambling but "listen to the voices".