5 Things that keep us from appreciating life – and blunt its value.

5 Things that keep us from appreciating life – and blunt its value.

by Michael Todd

May you live free of pain ... may you find permanent freedom from suffering.
May you live free of pain … may you find permanent freedom from suffering.

The chances of being born into a human body are like the chances of a sea turtle in the pacific ocean … wandering. The chances of our life, are akin to the chance that he – in his course of swimming through this unknowable vastness, would, for randomly, peer up and out into the world above the surface. The chances of having this body and this life, and this chance to use it … are akin to the turtle … in that vast ocean, with an unknowable surface … popping his head up randomly … that he would do it right through the ring of a life raft that had been floating in that precise spot.

1. Attachment

When we are born, the process of conditioning begins. In Western Science, we record and observe how the memory folds this process together and molds it into a world view that we live by. The most dominant feature of this worldview is that of “belief”. Belief is the glue that holds our worldview together. Attachment is glue; attachment is the metaphysical energy … just like that of gravity or electromagnetism, that prevents us from letting go.

Letting go applies to thoughts, feelings, people, beliefs, objects … and to even more esoteric things that have no words; that basic constituents of our composition.

It need not be complex, though, to acknowledge the simple word “attachment”. Or the simple word “belief” … and to begin to be mindful of how they hold us away from freedom – how they imprison us.

2. Distraction

We are born into a world of infinite complexity, beauty and incomprehensible value. Its primary value lies in the practice of expressing compassion and love – to all the things around us that can appreciate those things. Small animals … insects (I have a stick insect named Emily) … but it’s difficult for us to look at this in the eye.

So, instead, we spend our lives (the lives that, we’ve established, stem from incomprehensible and mathematically absurd origins … we waste this precious resource. We waste it in a profundity of ways; pointless chatter, idle talk … and mainly through the simple distraction of various living (living outside our own life rather than in it – living through a video game, a movie, a book or somebody else’s story rather than seeing what’s right in front of us.

The relationships there.

3. Fear

Fear dominates us biologically. Like all forms of being, we’re hardwired to feel and experience fear in order to survive. Human beings possess and practice a special and more advanced form of fear than any other animal, though.

We become neurotics; we fear losing possessions, we fear losing things we don’t even own.

We fear losing hypothetical possibilities.

Grounding ourselves; seeing what’s right around us and appreciating the simply beauty of the people we know, the universe we can see – the senses we can feel … they can break us from this convoluted “human” fear.

As Buddha said – fear strikes twice: Once is natural; it’s natural to fear. Twice – this is on us. We choose to dwell on the fear – to multiply it.

4. Uncertainty

Uncertainty is a specific form of fear; a sub-branch.

We’re safe as far as we can see – we feel good as far as we can calculate our own safety.

This strategy is flawed, though.

Even the most brilliant mind can see three, maybe 4 chess moves ahead … the fact is, we’re all living an illusion in wasting time combatting uncertainty.

An alternative is to surrender to what we know is inevitable … like …

5. The unwillingness to acknowledge that our ultimate fate is death.

You will die. I will die. Everybody alive now … on this earth, will die.

We can fantasize about transferring our consciousness onto a computer disc, or about evading death somehow. This is a trap, though. It’s another form of conditioning; another form of attachment.

It’s ok to die. It’s ok to leave this body.

When we do – we take our kindness with us – our compassion with us; our simple acknowledgment of the world with us.

-Michae Toddl; April 6, 2015


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