Friday, November 15, 2013

Who am I, Why are We? pt 2 Existence and the Art of Living

   Existence, to some the ultimate question. To others the most idiotic. To those that prescribe to the latter it tends to be to the fact that for several generations we are not taught how to think properly. So why do we exist? Does anybody really care? I am at the point in my life where I have accumulated a fare amount of knowledge and a good number of experience and mistakes on which to draw on.
      From when primitive man first found  leisurely time to contemplate life and up until the age in which we live in, mankind has pondered this question. How many philosophers, scientist,and holy men have searched for the answer? To people caught up in the systems of the world, the answer is fed to them courtesy of the machine in which they live. We are told to go to work, follow the rules, respect authority and of course consume! TV, radio, movies and even artist tell us this or express it in their respective fields. The idyllic pink house, the white picket fence, the four wheel drive truck, a six pack of beer and all your wants will be filled. It's so unfortunate that a majority of people in the First World have this mentality. In a similar vein we see another group of people who have fallen into these lies. In that cursive and sad attempt to find happiness, which we are told is one reason we exist, this segment of our society does not have the means to find that grand commercial joy that is sold by the pound, so to fill that desire they find all they can afford one more fix! This goes all the way across the board embracing any kind of addictions that control a persons life and leads them by the nose deeper into the lie. In this category I classify all of the pleasures of the flesh. I'm not saying that they are evil or bad but as nearly all the great moral thinkers believe in and that would be temperance!
      To me it is amazing how many people live in willful ignorance. They choose not to learn and to reside in there little worlds that they find comforting without giving a second thought as to how their brothers and sisters of the world live or think. We are to busy sticking our noses into our mobile devices to give a thought to a stranger and many times ignore friends or loved ones. We choose entertainment over the search and understanding of knowledge. So many are entirely wrapped up in there own self importance with things like updating there status or tyring to be popular with virtual friends that they don't have the desire nor the attention span to probe into the joys that an open mind can embrace, assimilate and then recreate in a meaningful conversation or a piece of writing. It is true that the youth of the world are always going to be self-absorbed which I will not be so hard on them, because unlike most people who are middle-aged or approaching it, I remember o too well what it was like to be a grinning and carefree youth. It is also without a doubt that those who are under-privileged have a very scarce access to information, which by the way is hardly an accident. Those people who are without, one can understand that a day-to-day life of want and oppression, leaves the deeper thoughts to be the least of there worries. 
       On the other end of the spectrum we have those who have attempted to answer this question in one way or another. You have the people of various religions who believe that they live to serve their deity or to spread the message of said deity. Which I would say that is indeed a noble pursuit but we weren't brought about simply to serve. If that were the case then why not make us all the same. Why give us freewill? Why create us at all? We also have an endless parade of what I call neo-religions that  sprang about at the end of the 20th century, claiming they have all the answers. Scientist, psychologist, engineers and statist or nationalist of a dozen stripes coming along with the ludicrous ideas of modern demi-gods whom people bow to like a dog before his master. And of course their are the philosophers with their endless discourses and a mouthful of rigmarole that, by the time they finish their argument, one has forgotten the whole point. Heaven help me if I ever reach that point! So many deep and meaningful thinkers have brooded over this topic and in the end a large portion of them have determined that life is meaningless. That is ridicules! The mere carrying on of existence by these negative and hopeless thinkers shows on its own that there claims of "No meaning" is false. If they actually believed that then why do they not take there own life? The reason is because they are unable or unwilling to embrace life with its joys and hardships or deep inside they know that they are wrong!
        The simplest answer to this riddle of existence is very simple and quite anticlimactic. Existence justifies itself! Life is a gift and a treasure that has been bestowed upon us. Recently I heard an octogenarian say "Live while you are alive". Simple? yes, but true not the less! Only the most hardcore cynic would completely deny this. For it is no accident that you are who you are or that I am who I am. This is the great wheel of the universe spinning in the hands of a loving and kind creator, bringing you right here, right now, at this very moment in time and space to join with my comrades and I on this journey of breathing, smelling, seeing, touching and liberating.
       Now I know that this may be a bit simplistic for many of the brainacs of the world and I myself have played devils advocate on this as well so if more of a  reason is needed then let me proclaim that as sentient beings with freewill, free minds and individual souls, the reason of our existence is to grow! Yes to grow, spiritually, with knowledge, with wisdom and lastly but not the least we must "grow" our temporal shells as well, or rather we must take care of our bodies. By following this three-fold method of growth I believe that we reach the highest state that a human can attain.
        This is an axiom that I live by and I feel it is vital to share. Sijo Bruce Lee once said "I am happy because I am growing and honestly I don't know where my limit lies. To be certain there can be a revelation or a new discovery that I can obtain", true words indeed! We must train our minds so they do not become stagnant. We must not turn into vegetative automatons who allow the TV or social media tell us who and what we are. We must transcend the ignorance and prejudices of our countries, our cultures and even at times what our family members have taught. We must open up the spirit and teach it how to accept and bathe in the light of growth. We must strengthen our souls so we can be at peace with our surroundings and our fellow humans regardless of how annoying they may be. When the world that you live in collapses around you, the strength of the spirit will walk with you and comfort you through any storm that may descend upon you. When that day comes you will face it with courageous prudence and if you don't overcome, you will find peace within your loss or suffering. Finally we cannot become slaves to laziness. If we don't look after our bodies who will. If we fall into slothfulness and let ourselves disintegrate, how will we be able to focus on the other two methods of personal fulfilment. If  our bodies fall apart we may not accumulate the years of joy that await us.
      Combining this trinity of my own personal existentialism we must be sure to maintain a balance. What is the good if you forge your body but let the mind remain in darkness? So many times when I am at gym I see people training their bodies yet as soon as they open their mouths you know they train not their mind nor spirit. So many times they are too busy worshipping their own vanity. What is the sense in feeding the mind while your body deteriorates? A great example of this was when Tamo, the founder of Chan (Zen) came to China and saw that the monks were falling asleep while praying and meditating. To liven them up he gave them a set of yoga exercises to engage in to keep their bodies as strong as the mind and spirit. Is there any justification to hone the body and sharpen the mind while your spirit starves for a light that one refuses to let shine into the heart? To me where I stand, this sounds like foolhardiness, especially when people of good reason refuse to open them selves up to this train of thought. Surly in your own life you have seen this drought of the spirit. If you are one of these people then search deeply into the light of reason, beyond super-science and beyond the secularization of serious thought. I am not telling you what to believe in; just believe! With this balance I have transcended the pit that so many of us fall into. True, I had to fight tooth and nail and cross through fire and water to achieve this but believe me dear friends and comrades it is worth it.
        We must also be sure to remember the brevity of life and to live each day to its fullest. I'm not speaking of the "live fast, die free" mentality but rather embracing everyday as a chance to learn something new; sometimes in the most unlikely places. Our lives are but a blink to the all-seeing eye of the Creator or as Master Mo said "Life is like viewing a carriage and its horses' through a crack in the wall. One moment it is there and the next it is gone." Or as the psalmist says "Mans life is like the lilies of the field, here today and gone the next". There is no doubt that we are all drowning in the river of time but that does not mean we are to waste our days away. We are not put in the universe just to "get by" or "survive", we are hear to flourish and renew ourselves with love, grace, and knowledge. If we deny this then we are giving up on ourselves and throwing to the wind the beautiful genius that is in us. To refuse this it is to give up on your own existence and the world as well and that would be an act that you surely would regret; perhaps not today, nor tomorrow, maybe not even in this life. But you will regret the life-energies that you let slip away! So I say to you my friends let us live, let us be at peace, let us grow. Let us embrace the earth and sky, the sun and moon, the clouds and the stars. Let us make living an art and live a life that will be spoken of for all eternity! May the spirits bless you and long live Anarchy!

by Steven R. Cebula - philosopher, anarchist, student of truth