Our all-consuming lives can be full of ambition, dreams, and regrets. These thoughts can fuel varying degrees of feelings; anxiety, fear, pride, and shame, to name a few. But what if we took a minute and thoughtfully draw conclusions about our lives and realize the value of not taken everything we do so seriously.
Humans have a way of exaggerating the drama in our lives to levels of extreme intensity. We place so much emphasis on the struggle, our conversations, actions, and minds are wrapped up in the concept of fighting for our lives. Why do we romanticize our lives as a struggle?
“Stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight.” ― Gordon B. Hinckley
Few times do we fall in love with the beautifully common unfoldment of our lives. We want to live under the fantasy of notoriety, the stardom of celebrity creating a vortex of self-indulgence that leads to a life of fervent distress. We’re full of ourselves and don’t know how to stop being so self-serving in such a poisonous way.
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
When we stop taking such a small view of life and start looking at a broad view, we see the unnecessary significance we place on ourselves. If you’ve ever seen the picture A Pale Blue Dot or read Carl Sagan’s essay on the matter, you get a glimpse of how tiny we truly are.
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor, and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” ― Carl Sagan
When you understand our place in the big scheme of things, it can make you feel several ways. But what I’m encouraging is the realization that what impact we have in this life is of little consequence in our world or beyond. Appreciate this and live your life full of wonder and curiosity, rather than stress and anxiety. We are miracles, and our opportunity is in embracing that miracle every day we’re lucky enough to be alive.
“The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.” ― Carl Sagan
We have the power to make our lives better just by changing our thoughts on our own importance. We agonize over our significance, and I often wonder if our focus was on the right action if we’d be more successful in general. The weight we place on our own importance can cause most of us to sink into a sea of despair.
“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” ― Alan Watts
We have to have fun in our lives and enjoy the moments that are tough and as well easy. They all make up our experience. We have to stop looking to the future for that illusory happiness and start looking at our present experience as wonderous.
“Every moment in our lives brings the opportunity to love and appreciate this beautiful magical life.” ― Debasish Mridha
More Laughter & Love
There are no experts in this thing called life, and those that seem to understand it better than others are drowned out by the commotion. But what I’ve learned to date is not to take myself too seriously. My life is what I make of it to an extent, but if you don’t enjoy each step, you’re missing the precious journey only to come to a destination that ends with finality.
“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.” ― Herman Melville
Keep this life simple. Enjoy your family and friends. Laugh and play with your kids if you have them. Cuddle with your pets on your living room floor. Listen to the birds and enjoy the sunshine on your face. Stop complicating this thing.
“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.” ― Alan Watts
Most importantly, love each part of your life, accept it with loving-kindness even the parts you might dislike and want to change. Focus your attention on the idea of love and appreciate all the small details that make up the people, places, and things you touch. Carl Sagan once wrote, “She had studied the universe all her life, but had overlooked its clearest message: For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” So, shift your thought and let the light of love and gratitude be a beacon to change your life.