Rabat - With a peculiar mixed sensation of confusion, uncertainty, and fear, I embraced my 31st birthday. It was quite different this time as I looked back on my life.
Rabat – With a peculiar mixed sensation of confusion, uncertainty, and fear, I embraced my 31st birthday. It was quite different this time as I looked back on my life.
I could see nothing but a mere dream, a short one at that. All intense feelings, hardships, good times, and bad times were nothing but cherished dreams or dreadful nightmares, each translated into fuzzy pictures and images in my mind and sensations in my body. I was suddenly besieged by an avalanche of questions for which I had no answer, not even a clue.
Am I going to live as long as I lived before? What is it all about? What is the meaning and purpose of all this? How strange death is and why are we trying to arrive at death safely? What are we, humans ultimately trying to accomplish, or defend? Why are there, still, such brutalities and violence after thousands of years of knowledge and science? What is still missing in human beings to eventually bring harmony and peace to a planet that is getting tired and angry at our exploitation and greed? Is there something beyond everything that our blurred vision and small minds cannot see and capture?
Is it really so simple that we underestimate it, or is there no need to bother looking for it, as it will always elude us? No man on this earth can provide conclusive answers for these questions but is it possible, while surrounded by all this uncertainty, to remain happy and peaceful inside?
To my surprise, a voice in my head said, yes, you can do this; it is up to you to be happy or unhappy. I decided to give it some thought but my mind, as usual, unleashed its imagination and sought an easy solution: a time machine that would take me back to my childhood. In childhood I did not ask these perplexing questions, nor did I feel that life was so dull, disappointing and difficult. I did not care about time or money. I wished to roam freely and promised myself I would never grow up. I would enjoy every minute; enjoy the feasts and everybody’s kisses, enjoy my innocence, my freedom, and my small desires to eat chocolate, watch cartoons, and play games.
Surely, were I to go back, I would never complain about doing homework or waking up early. But to what extent is this story real? Practically, of course, it cannot be tested, which is why it is the mind’s favorite story. Though unattainable, it is the best solution to life’s limitations and restrictions.
I am sure that, if everyone had access to a time machine, they would go back to their favorite moments, and enjoy them to the fullest. Sooner or later, however, they would feel the boredom, the apathy and the aimlessness return. I believe the reason for this is that the real meaning of life is in facing its challenges and difficulties. If life was as easy as we would like it to be, then I doubt there would be any life as we know it. Life is supposed to be difficult. I would argue that most of us are unhappy because we fail to recognize and accept this fact. Happiness and peace are inner states, they exist within each of us. Their existence does not depend on external possessions or specific conditions to be met. Some of us, it seems, are content to postpone our happiness as a result of a brighter and promising future still to come. We fail to realize that living life will never mean anything other than living in the moment.
So why are we so much harder on ourselves than Life already seems to be? Do we imagine that a lifetime of sacrifice and misery will somehow open the gate to success a ultimate joy and that money will begin to fall from the sky? Pain and unhappiness are not sent by God for our edification and they will not open heaven’s doors. These feelings are man-made, either the result of inflicting harm on each other or on ourselves. Worry jealousy, envy, greed and the pursuit of money are just some of the man-made obstacles to inner happiness and peace.
How is it then that we succeed in creating such unhappiness for ourselves if all we are seeking is happiness?
Most people keep their minds in a spiral of worry and are always busy trying to change their past, project themselves into the future, or live their lives asking, “what if?” As a result, the mind becomes trapped in an endless thinking patter, always searching for the worst case scenario. This way, the mind is preparing itself for the next calamity, with the expectation that the pain will be much less.
As a matter of fact, worrying does us no good and can actually create disasters that continuously plague our minds. We feel very powerful because we get this sensation that we can control the outcomes. But can we? We do not know what Fate has in store for us and this is the core structure of life.
The ball is in our court, so to speak, to learn how to stand in the face of uncertainty, accept it, and not stand as enemies of ourselves. We cannot know what life has not yet revealed so there is no need to migrate to another made-up time to try to find out. Life exists in the moment, in the now. When we have the courage to examine the moment closely, we notice there is nothing wrong with it. Actually, it is everything!
Some play the role of victim and are desperate to get what they don’t have, or give up what does not belong to them. Jealousy and envy are sapping people’s energy that should be invested on their own development. We perceive others as threats and we feel badly when others have more money, power, and status than us. Eventually, everybody is trying to look like the happiest and most perfect individual. Just remember that this is not necessary an accurate picture. People are not always what they appear to be. It is a game that we play on each other; that we might be feigning perfection and acting to show a flawlessly painted portrait to the outside world that corresponds in no way to the inside. Often the inside is falling apart, scattered and cluttered with nothing but confusion and disorder.
Others are forever chasing possessions and power. Will this race ever come to an end? We are too obsessed with the story of our own survival. Even birds in the highest sky, fish in the deepest sea and beasts in the deepest forests, gifted with natural abundance never succumb to such intense struggle. These creatures are much happier than we are because they try not to outsmart anybody or anything, they just live and accept life and death.
Ponder this; what if the things that we cannot get in this life are simply not meant to be ours? Do many of us us ever consider this? Will we ever see the beauty in what we do have and stop focusing on what we perceive to be missing? Life is not as complicated as we make it out to be. We shackle ourselves and set conditions and barriers upon our happiness. We constantly strive to be better than others, to be the best of that group, own more than that person, or look better than another. This is a competition that will never be won because some will always be better or worse than others. As human beings, we are unique in nature and essence. We are meant to strive to be better versions of ourselves, not others.
It seems that a great number of people manage to harbor all kinds of negative feelings toward other humans,animals and even their own planet. This has caused the scales of life to balance against them. Let us instead care about what we think of ourselves, not what others think of us. Let us be adults not petty humans attached to fleeting things while we miss the biggest pleasures of life, which are hidden in the simplest of things.
Once we understand that life is much simpler than we think and that love, openness, understanding, courage, and tolerance, rather than power, money or possessions are the magic solutions for all of life’s problems, we will win our freedom from the misery of this world.
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