When I lay awake at night, when the long night won’t take me on a short journey so easily, it’s generally because there is too much going round in my mind.
I’m thinking of life, living, being and how to do those things properly, as always. It’s not uncommon for me, I seem to be particularly concerned with such topics, more so the ideas of, rather than the implementation of. It is a topic you can never stop learning on, there is no definitive answer, more a general direction and in a sense, a journey.
The art of living you might call it, a path that if achieved properly will be full of events which topple you, that will throw you down the stairs. But only due to these events will you then climb higher than before. Each stair ascended you’ll realise there is even more steps than previously thought. In a sense this is the journey.
Here are some pointers that I can humbly offer to help you climb.
Make good sacrifices.
A sacrifice is essential to being human. Many thousands of years ago we discovered what a sacrifice was, that is to bargain with the future. While our being is trapped in the eternal now, our being, within this eternal now can project the concept of time to allow us to make choices that benefit this future self. So in a sense this is what allows you to improve yourself. This is why you save money, go to university, skip desert and iron your shirts. While this all seems rather obvious one fact you may overlook is the quality of your sacrifices. Not all sacrifices are successful and we often never understand why, but if you sacrifice what is of value with faith, if you give with truth and honesty it will be repaid. You will see returns worthy of your risk. Try it.
Speaking of truth this is the second pointer I can give
Speak the truth, no matter how much it hurts.
Now this is a kind of obvious but this doesn’t just mean to others, but to yourself as well. Speaking the truth has power that is hard to comprehend till you wield it and use the spoken word to bring forth betterment for you and all others beholden and stranger. This is the logos. The logos, or truth will strike through any problem, it is that powerful. When you speak the truth good things will happen, by that I don’t mean you’ll suddenly end all suffering on Earth. What I do mean is that you can, with your effort and your truth, bring light upon your own little garden. Start speaking the truth to those closest to you. Watch those relationships become stronger, as they will starting speaking the truth back to you. The hardest concept to understand of this is that speaking the truth doesn’t just mean saying things that are true. Discovering what this means will have profound effects, just try it.
Life is suffering.
This is pretty much the first thing you should learn about life. It isn’t simple, easy, kind, compassionate or fair. These are simple facts. The sooner you realise and accept it the easier the whole journey will be. Not because you cannot then be disappointed, but because then you will find value in life. You will see that the suffering you accept and bare burden to, is what makes being human so special. Some will take this and therefore assume it is better to not live at all, this is all too common from those of the twenty first century. I can see how people end up here, but I think this is the wrong conclusion to draw. Suffering adds value to life, it gives a purpose to life. I could give a million examples of how we do this and appreciate it in smaller scale, something gets lost for some in the bigger picture though. I will say one thing, history is market by those who bore immense suffering.
This is a great segway into the next pointer.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
The reality is that life is suffering because your immense vulnerability. From your nakedness and from disease, injury, cancer, heart disease, drowning, suffocating, emotional pain. . . the list is endless. It’s a wonder we all can get out of bed in the morning really, but if you think like that then you are missing a very valuable lesson. To be vulnerable is to be human, to be limited is to be able to strive. To be human is to fight, for life, for survival, for growth, for success, for love, for your fellow man. Without this our emotions would be useless, it would really be pointless, meaningless and devoid of purpose. What good is love without loss, success without effort. Our vulnerability is what moves us to emotion. It is what fills us, it fills us to the point of overflowing, in art, in music, in exploration, of mind, body and world. This is how we create what gives us joy, what gives us drive. This is what gives us purpose! We take what is raw, we take what is cold and we bring it to life because we feel it, we can emote and bring meaning upon it. To be vulnerable is to be alive. Embrace your vulnerability, it is what brings the value to your suffering.
It is late so I must retire, but when you lie in bed awake next, think of your sacrifices, your suffering and your vulnerability. I hope these thoughts fill you with the fulfilment they do for me.