There are so many forces in our lives focused on what’s “wrong” about us, that much of our very being is spent trying to become the person we believe will deserve a good life. But no one deserves a good life.
Some people create one, some people don’t, but children’s hospitals, war zones and famines are filled with people who didn’t even get a real chance at much of a life. So the point isn’t to build a good life. It’s to live one if given the chance. This is why life is so precious.
You will not become someone who never gets angry. You won’t become someone who never worries. You will not always remember to be grateful, you will sometimes be dishonest, and other times you will be extraordinarily cruel.
The reason you will be those things is because without anger there is no calm, without worry there is no peace, without ingratitude there is no gratitude, without lies there is no honesty, and without cruelty there is no kindness. This is the Yin and Yang of life. We don’t change that, we accept it.
Our job is not to be a good and deserving human being. Our job is to be our part of the universe. There’s no rules, no judgment, no prize. It’s just an opportunity. Our life is a chance, a blank canvass, unwritten pages. The point isn’t to live in some way that’s been predetermined to be good —that’s just following orders. Nazis did that. The true way, is all about feel.
You don’t want to live in a state of love because it’s good for other people. You don’t want to live in a state of love because some religion or leader told you to. You want to live in a state of love as much as possible because that represents the most enjoyable life for you.
You are responsible for your portion of the universe. You must be selfish about doing what is necessary for a good life. And the good life is largely a happy life. That does not mean that if you are good you will be happy —it means that if you are happy you will be good. So you must be more selfish about your happiness, and less critical of when you’re unhappy.
You don’t have to go the rest of your life without losing your temper. The Dalai Lama loses his temper. You haven’t failed in your spirituality if you yell at your kids. That’s just the world happening. You were never supposed to find some magical way to always sail calm seas. You were only supposed to notice that the calmer seas are often easier to enjoy.
That said, the calm ones are absent of wind, so they don’t take us very far. So it is with life. The nice feelings are nice, but they don’t take us much distance. The less pleasant feelings are where we gain the most, but we also don’t want to live just collecting skills and never enjoying them.
It’s easiest to just live the moment we’re in. We shouldn’t worry about what Rebecca or Francois or Gurveer or your mom or your boss think of our behaviour. Choose love because it feels better for us. And when we don’t choose it, that’s fine too –as long as we start choosing it again as soon as we’re able.
No one’s judging but, at the same time, the best way to have a good life is to intentionally do the things that cause one to exist. And the best bet there is always love. Love others, love yourself too.
Remember: no beating yourself up for when you’re not happy. That’s just more unhappiness. Just make your choices regarding the moment you’re in. Don’t waste this moment thinking about moments passed, or moments not-yet-arrived. You cannot act in the past or future. The present is your only opportunity.
You cannot fail in the present. You will only choose a future. But you can’t fail there either, because by then your future is your present, and what will be important will be your next choice.
Understanding the nature of the present moment is the key to the most peaceful and loving sort of existence. We are best to focus on what we do there. Because the present moment is the only place where we can join others in actively creating a beautiful life. I look forward to seeing you there.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own over-thinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.