Riding the Wave: Living Life to the Full

The Universe is an incredible place. In every moment, life unfolds in a sequence of events which are entwined together in a way which we will never understand. Everything, from the falling of a leaf to the motion of a planet, is affected by and affects everything else. In a way, existence is like one complex organism, a living and breathing being extending across the cosmos.

In respect to our own lives, every moment and every event which takes place is influenced by everything around us. The delayed arrival of the early morning train, or a quick rain shower, will change the course of our lives forever. In a way, our lives are a constant unfolding of what is already determined, like a great wave slowly crashing into shore. We are almost powerless to influence it, and as much as we would like to believe that we have some control, we can only make slight adjustments to its course. 

Life, then, is something to be experienced rather than conquered. To live life while constantly trying to change it is to miss all the beauty and the joy around us. If we are able to simply live, and allow the current of life to flow, we will experience everything to its full extent. 

To fight the wave is to tumble into its grip, thrown about in confusion by its mighty power.  But when we give into it, and let it carry us on its awesome crest, life becomes a joy and a blessing.

Defeat: The Ultimate Blessing

The world will always support us on a journey to understand ourselves. In ways which we cannot comprehend, our lives are shaped by circumstance. Often what we believe to be a blessing can become a curse, and our greatest fears can become our greatest allies.

Let us say for example that you win the lottery. The sudden acquisition of wealth suddenly blows away all fears for survival, and you are able to live a life of comfort and pleasure without the need to work or strive. The result is often severe depression. With nothing to work towards or achieve, the winner is left with an empty shell of life, in which pleasure is valued by how much the experience costs. In the opposite scenario, extreme poverty forces us to work and to achieve, and the simplest things in life can become our greatest joys.

While wealth does not directly determine our happiness, as a wealthy person can be more happy than a person in poverty, it is important to realise that our situation in life is suited to promote our own growth. If we never faced adversity, we would never develop as people, and if we never experienced the love of others, we would never understand true altruism.

One of the greatest gifts which life can throw at us is that of utter defeat. When we are totally broken, unable to move on and unable to piece ourselves back together, we are forced to surrender ourselves to something greater than us. If we are able to give ourselves to this, to go with it rather than to fight it, we will be reborn all the stronger. We cannot hold onto the same beliefs about ourselves for our entire lives, and it is though these moments that we are humbled, learning more about ourselves and discovering the hidden strength within our own hearts.

You are forever supported by life. Like a river, through the hard times and the good, it will always guiding you towards the ocean.

Pride: The Curse of Success

In a world of competition, where status and ability are valued above all else, the image which we have of ourselves is so easily influenced by our situation. With failure, we deem ourselves worthless, unwanted by  a society in which we are no longer valued. With success the opposite is true, inflating our self-worth and causing us to look down upon those of lesser status.

This is nothing to be ashamed of, and while we try to break the shackles of our class-controlled past, subconsciously there is still a need to judge and to compete. This need to be better than others leads to an unending sense of dissatisfaction and inferiority. Unable to compete with the very best, we become bitter human beings, rude to those we consider inferior and spiteful to those above us.

The cause of this misery is not necessarily inherent to society as a whole but, as with every problem, is an issue within ourselves. The power-play which we seem to see going on around us is entirely built upon our own sense of individuality. As a small person in a large world, we must constantly strive to survive and overcome obstacles which could consume us. The misery which this causes only grows with our investment in it, and moment by moment we become obsessed with being better and wealthier.

So how can we cure ourselves of this sickness? At the outer level, humility and self-respect are essential. For the proud, being humble and respectful to others shows a great deal of maturity. By letting go of the need to be better, we suddenly become more secure and understanding as human beings, naturally much kinder and more charitable. For those who feel unwanted, self-respect comes through the ability to see value in oneself, and to begin to realise that circumstance does not define who we are.

To be able to let go of this hierarchy is to accept oneself. At this much deeper level, understanding of our true nature brings release from the fearful mind. By letting go of the need to strive and compete, to appreciate and value ourselves and others exactly as they are, we find peace among people, and genuine friendships based on mutual respect.

You have nothing to lose, so let your tongue speak freely and your heart glow in the presence of the people you love. Like a lantern, your flame will provide light and warmth to all those who sit with you, until you can all rise above the fighting of the world below.

Craving: The Foundation of All Suffering

Has there ever been a moment in your life where you have felt content? Where you could sit where you are and close your eyes, never needing or wanting anything else to satisfy your needs. Such moments are rare and extremely special. We feel a peace that stretches to the very core of our being, like a lightning bolt from the blue that paralysis any want or desire.

The first time I experienced such a feeling was on a bus. It wasn’t a particularly special day, but all of a sudden the clouds that shrouded me disappeared, leaving a space of pure happiness and contentment. I had never felt peace like it, and tears of happiness are entirely acceptable in those circumstances.

As we weave our way through life, we are forever followed by these clouds. They can be worries for the future, regrets from the past, or distant dreams which we believe will bring us happiness. In any case, the key reason for their existence is that the present moment is not enough, that what we are and where we are right now is insufficient to make us happy. We believe that there is always something else which will fulfil us, and the whole world is chained down by this curse.

So how do we break those chains?

To begin with, forget about the future, and let go of the past. Look at who you are right now, what you are scared of and what you hope for. Then when you are ready, drop it all, every single part of it. When you let go of everything, of all control and fear, what is left is the pure peace and serenity of freedom. It is here that the world melts into ourselves, and the distinction between what we dream of and what we are becomes one.

Remember this place, because it is our home. Our minds are like hostile planets compared to this, and it is only through our ability to let go, of control of the future and fear from the past, that we can spend our days resting in it.