“Never stop doubting, never stop questioning, never ever assume you have all the answers. Having all the answers kills the question itself, renders it lifeless … and you too. Keep looking, keep seeking. Never, ever find it all. Because when you find it all, you deny that there is more. And there is never not more.” — Neale Donald Walsch
The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
He recognised that while hindsight is idyllic, we cannot live from this perspective since the future is promised to no one.
If you believe you have life figured out, it will assuredly change the rules when you least expect it.
The late psychotherapist Anthony de Mello wrote in One Minute Wisdom of a visitor who believed he had the answers to life.
To a visitor who claimed he had no need to search for Truth because he found it in the beliefs of his religion, the Master said:
“There was once a student who never became a mathematician because he blindly believed the answers he found at the back of his maths text book — and, ironically, the answers were correct.”
Life is not something we need to analyse, but experience with all our senses.
Scrutinising life is bound to bring disappointment if you think you have it figured out.
She is the jealous lover who will go to great lengths to remind you who has the upper hand.
Life is to be experienced with an open heart and a soft-mind.
Author Peter Hollins writes in The Science of Being Lucky: “When someone demonstrates a high level of openness, they are relaxed about life and ready to experience new circumstances.”
The new circumstances he speaks of centre on accepting life as it is, knowing there is nothing to control. We are merely renting space here on earth and our time is a fleeting moment in the infinite span of the universe.
This means we must strive to live with humility instead of arrogance.
Life cares little how successful you are, how many social media followers you have, how big your bank statement is. These are concepts mankind invented to keep track of his progress. This does not mean you should be living an austere life, but that you appreciate you are more than the sum of your material possessions.
This is no more apparent than when you die and cannot take your worldly possessions with you. They remain behind and are recirculated for others to use.
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” — Dr. Seuss
There is an implicate order in which life functions.
It is not for us to figure out, but to experience wholly, including the pain and disappointments. I’m not implying you adopt a Fatalist perspective, yet accept your circumstances with little or no resistance.
This sentiment is no better depicted than by authors Charlene Belitz and Meg Lundstrom in The Power of Flow: Practical Ways to Transform Your Life with Meaningful Coincidence: “You just have to let things be and not do anything about them. That is probably the greatest discipline in the world because our whole thing is about making it happen. The point is to be present and trust the process.”
Life should be lived from the level of the soul. Are you living according to your highest aspirations and abiding by your deepest values?
There is no mystery to solve in this life, other than to experience each moment openly and truthfully. Remember: your perception of life is one perspective and not the absolute truth.
Consider the following Zen story, which shows how our perceptions limit our experience of life:
Zen master Baizhang was walking with Mazu and saw a wild duck fly by.
Mazu said, “What is that?” Baizhang replied, “A wild duck.”
To which Mazu asked, “Where is it going?” Baizhang said, “It is flying away.”
Mazu twisted Baizhang’s nose and said, “When did it ever fly away?”
Baizhang presumed the duck flying away from him was central to his experience of it. He related it to himself (ego identification), instead of take into account the duck was flying over him to its destination.
Life has its own agenda. I liken it to a game of chess played online against a computer whereby every move is calculated in advance.
Sometimes we are a pawn in the game, waiting for checkmate and the end of our time here. Yet other times we have more power than we realise.
We must get accustomed to allowing life to unfold as it does. This means situations will not go in our favour, yet it only looks that way until the pieces of the puzzle have come together. We soon realise life is conspiring for us not against us.
However, many are quick to evaluate life as unfair with the odds stacked against them in these moments.
With respect to the reader: we really don’t know what we’re doing. We’re mostly making it up as we go along albeit without a roadmap, so failures, setbacks and disappointments are bound to arise. We should embrace this and be less critical of ourselves.
We may think we have life figured out, but we’re merely creating the future based on the past and presuming life will unfold accordingly.
“Perhaps the secret of living well is not in having all the answers but in pursuing unanswerable questions in good company.” — Rachel Naomi Remen
As you know, life can change at the drop of a hat.
I lost my father to a debilitating illness in a short time, and years later I was treated for a life threatening illness myself.
I’ve come to embrace the humility and fragility of life. Whilst I am a co-creator of my experience, it is still a game I cannot control — nor do I want that power.
We cannot control when and how we will die.
We cannot control whether we become sick.
We cannot control who loves us or hates us.
Dr. Mario Martinez states in The MindBody Self: How Longevity Is Culturally Learned and the Causes of Health Are Inherited: “Thus the faith is really in your creativity to navigate the future. Fate is surrender — destiny is opportunity.”
Here’s an enlightening perspective: we needn’t control life’s circumstances, but allow them passage through us and embrace the lessons they bring, even pain and suffering.
I often daydream of an image etched into my mind regarding a surfer on a wave. I see the wave roll swiftly into the shoreline while other times it is less than optimal.
However, the excitement of surfing is that you are exposed to varying waves that help you become a well-rounded surfer in a range of conditions.
I believe life functions like rolling waves because it exposes us to various conditions, some are unwelcomed, others exhilarating. Yet it serves our personal evolution and we evolve instead of staying in our comfort zone.
“There is a secret that, once you know it will cause you to find those answers, apply them, live them, and achieve those results you want. The secret ingredient is your philosophy. The secret is to change the way you think. Once you do, then you will take the steps you need to take, to lead you to the how-to’s you need,” states author Jeff Olson in The Slight Edge.
In an article I wrote titled: Why Life Is A Beautiful Struggle So That Pain Gives Rise To Joy, I outline how the decisions we make today have a ripple effect in our lives and the lives of others.
Our choices lay the foundations to create the future of tomorrow. To make better choices, pay attention to your personal growth and upgrade your level of awareness to experience life fully.
To draw on a software analogy, you shift from perceiving life from a Windows 98 framework to a Windows 10 version, equipped with better processing capabilities.
You begin to act in accordance with your core values and make informed choices based on the truth of your reality.
Therefore, as you abide by the truth and align with your core being you are likely to end up where you need to be having made choices that are self empowering.
If you wish to make sense of life in your final hours, relinquish the need for answers while living from your current position.
Life is not to be understood but experienced entirely, replete with good and bad moments for that is the essence of the human condition.
I leave you by drawing on the words of George Bernard Shaw who said: “I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake.”
Originally published at medium.com