What is it with winning? What is it with championships, and world records, scoring titles and personal bests? What is it with a bigger stage, or audience, or why do we love getting a standing ovation?
Why do we want promotions, or raises, or even to just stay employed? What is it about winning at a board game with friends? What is it with the thrill of gambling, or the refuge of escapism? Why do we want to be popular and not unpopular? Why do we want to be healthy and not sick?
The answer is: because we want to continue to participate, even if that means holding on for dear life at top speed, at the summit, with more damage, or at lower odds (etc.). In fact, these daredevil people-on-the-edge often feel the most alive to the rest of us. It’s why our soul naturally urges any timid egos outward, to experience more.
To our soul, life is an opportunity to be spent. Win our lose, it’s our time on stage to do as we will.
Can we see then that our ego is like a hand-puppet, reflecting the desires and attitudes of the soul behind its functioning? We lead a meta-life, and chasing opportunities for non-biological death is what unfolds life’s value to us.
Think about it: this is why people find board games enjoyable. That’s what makes watching sports exciting, and it’s why people watch awards shows or horror films. We want to see who gets out alive. The same goes for the aforementioned daredevils.
Our soul is always winning by just being on stage and participating in life. Our ego participates in life by striving to win. It’s the competition –that risk of loss– that is the part of life that reflects our soul’s message to us: appreciate this: THIS is it.
The trick, of course, is in the balance. We do not somehow become Zen by having some fixed balance at exactly the right spot, where we find some holy degree of appreciation. The appreciating gets done or not done, by us, moment by moment, for the rest of our lives. In this way, a healthy soul is always in the act of balancing. And it is this wobbling we must come to embrace. The wobble from want to appreciation.
As ‘we’ wobble left and right, yinning and yanging, egoing and souling, we experience the rises and falls of a full life. Without that ‘relief,’ without that ‘shape,’ our lives would be little more than map to a life, rather than a life itself.
That’s how many people –including those hiding from life– tend to see people who are hiding from life. Their lives feel like the map; two-dimensional. It seems a shame. As though an opportunity is being wasted. Even the person hiding will usually think that.
And who lives so largely that their life force can invade us, even from a distance? Who lives so deeply engaged that, even as outsiders, we too can get swept up in them striving for life? Those daredevils. Of the heart body, or soul.
It’s a scary thing to test limits, to put on a performance, to offer up our art –or even more, our heart. Yet these things all share extremely engaged participants. There is a lesson in that.
We should measure our lives less by how low we go, or how high. All lives do plenty of both. We are better to focus on creating a flowing sense of modulation between our highs and our lows.
A healthy life is not one devoid of life, it is one that flows between its highs and lows with the greatest level of grace and comfort. This is why self-assured people always come off like they belong almost anywhere. That’s because for the most part, they really sense that they do. As do we.
Let us not hide from our experiences. Let us invest ourselves into the character we play on life’s stage. Let us feel the highs of victory and the lows of defeat. Our lives were meant to be lived. That’s is why the universe gave them to us. And we’re healthiest when we appreciate that.
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.