Dating Life

Perhaps life just wants to be appreciated, maybe life doesn’t like the constant criticism or being told it needs to change in order for you to be happy. Why can’t life ever be good enough? No wonder your relationship with life sucks, you’re a judgmental asshole.

Life is ugly, life is too crazy to deal with, life never knows what I want, life makes me so angry, life treats me like shit… and on and on it goes. Well what have you done for life? People used to perform sacrifices in order to demonstrate their appreciation for life — but you, not even a “thanks”.

What’s the alternative to life? Non-existence perhaps? So isn’t this world, this spectacle, at least a little something special? Maybe slightly better than nothingness? So maybe try showing a little interest in what life has put together here? It’s a world full of non-stop excitement, and all you can do is nitpick.

I mean, it obviously takes a lot of work to create and maintain all this, and here you are shitting all over it, not even giving it a chance. You’re pointing out all the things you don’t like, ignoring anything good that comes along, and bad-mouthing life to anyone that’ll listen.

Life doesn’t create the world to make you or anyone else suffer — what kind of demented logic is that? Living is hard, yeah, but hardship is not the point — that’s like saying the purpose of fruit is to rot, it’s twisted. Yes, we poop and cry and even die, but that’s not why we’re here.

Did you even consider, perhaps if you treat life right, get involved, show a little gratitude, look like you’re having fun, then maybe life will return the favor? Maybe the relationship is a two-way street and you have to give a little to get a little. Does being an ungrateful little shit seem like a successful strategy?

Look, yeah I get it, life is a bit heavy-handed at times, some bones may break, but life means well, otherwise why provide all this? Everything you’ve ever enjoyed, every bit of love you’ve felt, every taste that’s danced across your tongue, every cozy embrace, and every sense of satisfaction, life provides that, for you, and after all that you still find something to complain about — so who’s the jerk here?

End of Suffering

Just try to contemplate the ceaseless suffering that surrounds us — the rampant physical abuse, the exploitation of the weak, the crippling injustice, the heart-wrenching anguish, the drenching tears, and the agonizing pain — just try to maintain such thoughts in your mind and you’ll be driven mad. From this wicked perspective, existence becomes suffering incarnate.

The youngest, clinging on for dear life, ripped from home, but the savage creature cares not, as teeth pierce flesh, warm crimson flowing down the gullet, savoring the taste of death — or as we colloquially call it: eating a fresh strawberry. The world can be described in many ways, and one description is not necessarily more accurate than another, but certainly some are more pleasant to reflect upon.

Considering that we already ignore so much suffering, why should we acknowledge any of it? Does selective recognition not make us hypocrites? If we truly believe existence to be pervaded by misery, then how could we do anything enjoyable while others literally ache all around us? What kind of monsters would we be? What treat, what deliciousness, do we deserve while so many languish in our midst?

So our choice is this, either we perceive the world in a way that does not acknowledge suffering, or we see ourselves as fiends deliberately denying the distress of others. Caring only when convenient, is an untenable compromise, unsatisfying and illogical. We must recognize our powerlessness as individuals and not lament our inability to alleviate suffering, lest we bring sorrow upon ourselves.

Tone it Down

I get that a story needs some drama, but why must the world be filled with a disturbing level of suffering? There’s so much nastiness, why not a moderate storyline instead? For instance, I enjoy romance-comedies, not serious dramas, not thrillers, and certainly not horror movies. I like my heartstrings gently tugged, not ripped from my chest.

But is your life that difficult, or are you basing this critique on the lives of others? Some people do watch horror movies, some like thrill rides, some adore the macabre, and some enjoy trouble-making, so perhaps you should just focus on something else if these things don’t suit your tastes. In other words: you do you, and don’t be outraged on behalf of others.

Oh come on, now you’re asking me to justify all the horrible happenings of life by simply imagining that the victims ultimately wanted it that way. And even if I’m able to coerce such a warped worldview, I’d still only want to live in a world that provides all inhabitants with a decent life, not a wretched place filled with despair everywhere I look. I can’t enjoy the experience while sitting atop a mountain of garbage.

But if the foundation of this world is fictional, no creature is truly hurt. You’re complaining about injured illusions. And without chaos, there’s nothing to fix, without victims, there’s no one to help — to remove the bad of the world is to remove the good — there’s no way around that. The highest peaks exist only amongst the deepest troughs.

Fixing and helping is fine, but why not tone it down a bit. Instead of helping someone survive a devastating event, how about we just help them recover from a cold, or perhaps help them organize their pantry. Do we really need such brutal calamity throughout the world?

Again, many people do enjoy overly dramatic soap-operas filled with savagery and betrayal. Life literally provides all things for all people. It’s a shared world after all, the compromise is that all these things exist at once. Not everything directly enters your life, so stop paying attention to what doesn’t. You may think you need to fix the world, but the world has been doing fine without your assistance since its inception. It’s not the external world, but your misunderstanding of life that causes you grief.

Witnessing Life

We don’t know what we want from life because we’re just the consciousness, the part that observes and ascribes meaning to things, the witness. The doer, the part that drives our physical presence, is impulse and intuition — the forces that are well-aware of how to navigate through the world. The consciousness on the other hand, is an uninformed audience, ever waiting to see what comes next.

As we wonder what’s around the corner, it doesn’t matter, as it’s merely speculation. The observer cannot control outcomes. But this is a good thing, because we don’t know how to proceed anyway, as life’s mechanics are a mystery to us — thus we lack the burden of needing to know what to do next. And it also means our anxiety is pointless, because if we just watch, life will proceed as it intends.

Oftentimes, we can correctly guess outcomes and we fool ourselves into thinking we had either influence or special predictive power. But other times, we’re shattered because life takes an odd turn and we feel powerless because of it, we’re devastated. Of course, we never had power to begin with, and it serves us to keep this in mind, that life’s plot is too intricate to be controlled or predicted.

An audience positively contributes to a performance by responding appropriately and remaining appreciative. An unruly audience, on the other hand, can complain so loudly as to disrupt the show, creating an unpleasant experience for all involved. To enjoy the show therefore, we the audience must practice stillness, not focus on the unpleasant, and find an aspect to appreciate.

Conscious Decision

Ancient lore tells us that we are without choice, that outcomes are beyond our control. Why then, do we develop an opposing philosophy? Certainly as children, much of our life is dictated by parents and school, so we’re used to external forces shaping our path.

Yet, if our powerlessness is so apparent, why is it acknowledged within ancient wisdom? Its inclusion therefore, implies that our default belief is the presumption of self-determination. And we seem to hold tight to this belief despite all evidence to the contrary.

If we examine our situation, the truth becomes evident. Yet such revelation is easily forgotten amongst our daily trials and tribulations. Life’s immersive pageantry keeps us in a constant quandary, ever lost in our character’s struggle to keep his head above water.

Life’s intense storytelling convinces us, the consciousness, that we are truly the character we’re observing. So gripped by the story, we believe we have actual agency. Yet how could we? We know nothing of how to live.

Try explaining anything in great detail, and we fall flat, it’s as if recalling a fading dream. An artist can’t explain how he creates, he simply performs. Only the impulses and intuition of our character are capable of traversing life, while we the awareness, are but witnesses.

But what is a performance without an audience? We are the very reason the show exists. Yet, so enthralling is the production, that we too often fret over its outcome. And so it was written, long ago, and repeated in every age: look upon this life lightheartedly, savoring the spectacle.

Scripted Life

I think one of the biggest indications of life’s contrived nature, is accomplishment, the fact that anything gets done. Where do our impulses to act originate? From where does inspiration for goals spring forth? Why do some ambitions intrigue us while others don’t?

Our major life accomplishments tend to occur while we’re on autopilot, when our character acts without influence from our consciousness. Within our thoughts, we lack understanding as to why we do what we do, yet things get done, with our impulses and intuition leading the way.

Of course, our thoughts often believe they’re actively involved, but upon analysis, we can see they’re merely comprised of odd theories postulated after the fact. We can witness this phenomenon in the act of giving advice, which is mostly conjecture.

Why are we receiving stimulation to create, to paint, to build, to write, to travel, to photograph, to form relationships, to work together toward a common goal? From where does such a blueprint originate, its synchronicity seems to imply a central planning predetermined long ago.

Why do our minds act more as witnesses than architects? Why does our consciousness not always agree with our intuition? How is it that we understand so little about life yet we persist, traveling along a path, somehow having the ability to accomplish goals?

Team Spirit

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Wandering Monk.

I realize now which team I’m on, it’s team spirit. The opposing team of course, is team flesh. Growing up without much religious influence, besides 80s sitcom characters praying to God when they were in trouble, I had always assumed I was on team flesh. I laughed at and derided the very idea of spirituality in every sense. The world was exactly what I perceived with my senses, and that’s it.

But the more I analyzed life, the more something seemed off. When I sought truth, no longer accepting its existence as a given, I found nothing but hazy mist — the world wasn’t as concrete as I was led to believe. And furthermore, this illusionary nature of life implies a purposeful deception. Why are we so often tricked into believing life is what our faulty senses perceive it to be, yet our greatest revelations are that life is not as it appears?

Make no mistake though, there are those that claim to be of the spirit, yet are very much of the flesh, elevating body above soul. Those fleshy crusaders split themselves into a myriad of superficial distinctions, defining weaknesses amongst all, ultimately leading to fear-based protectionism of the body at the expense of everyone else.

But those of the spirit see beyond the surface, perceiving there is but a single soul, shards of a whole within us all. Underlying the flesh, a single team exists upon the earth, part of a gathering in which all participants must enjoy, a lighthearted affair not to be taken somberly. Let us therefore, those understanding such ways, make known this merriment, endeavoring to share this news amongst the multitudes.