This post was originally intended to be the last one on a series of koan-like expanded pieces of my experiences while revisiting my native city, making peace with my past and tapping into the lucid reality of its present. I might not be able to accomplish this task exactly the way I had planned, but …
Whenever we are engaged in any activity, it is really all there is to it. We hold on to the moments we enjoy and are afraid of letting go lest we don’t experience them the same way. In our attempt to hold on to our cherished moments we take photographs, make videos, write journals etc, in an attempt to freeze a moment in time. Later, we look at those documented moments with a smile in our faces and our hearts filled with joy longing for those moments we once had.
I notice that a lot of times we are more preoccupied in capturing those amazing moments with our cameras than actually being present to actually live that moment thoroughly. There is a constant peer pressure to capture every moment we have and share with the world through social media. Every person becomes a self-proclaimed celebrity competing for the most number of likes or comments.
The noise and confusion of social media prompted me to cancel my account with Facebook a few years ago. I got tired. Yes, there are a lot of positive aspects in being part of an online community like that, but I realized that the time I was spending was far exceeding the few benefits I was acquiring for myself. Too much social noise and clutter was disturbing my life. Have I achieved anything with this decision? Perhaps not, but at least I am reading more books.
We are, by nature, addicted to pleasure in all forms. We crave the most delicious types of tastes, the most mellifluous sounds, outstanding images and incredible experiences and sensations. It’s all understandable; who wants to seek out pain and suffering? However, it seems that we sometimes go to far in order to prolong moments of joy in our lives instead of slowly settling into the new landscapes that the winds of change blow towards us. Why? Maybe fear? Fear of becoming static and dying altogether. After all, life is pure energy in movement, in motion. Sometimes, because of that paralyzing fear we repeat mistakes that have taken us nowhere close to what we visualized for ourselves in order to fulfill our potential, or become who we truly are while standing our ground with confidence and joy. As we get busy with the social noise surrounding our lives, our heads become filled with that clutter and we fail to follow our hearts and our passions. We start to pay too much attention to the noise outside and the repercussions in our minds and we repeat the model dictated by others. We forget about our own lives. We become what others expect us to be because they, too, are afraid to express who they are, after all, being different is the best thing that anyone can offer to the the world at large. But it takes balls.
Being fully happy is a work in progress; it’s a soul-searching journey that requires the courage to break free from those social and ideological shackles that try to impose ideas of who we can be. We are already that what we seek; we only need to actualize that potential and bring it to the fore. It’s no easy task to be comfortable in our skin, but it is the only way to happiness. We need to be able to face our contradictions and look at ourselves honestly from our own perspective and not the one that is looking at us from outside. We can’t please everyone, but in order to please ourselves we need to be grounded in our truth. Honesty, respect and compassion should be the core tenets of any spiritual practice.
I have seen many people fall prey to promises of happiness and peace of mind, and I’ve seen those same people suffering and unhappy because they cannot love themselves for who they truly are. They always seem to live up to the expectations of other people or some ideological construct that obstruct their lives and make them feel inadequate. It’s time we learned something from history. It’s time we looked for guidance within ourselves instead. After all, who can know us better than ourselves? We need to celebrate our differences instead of being afraid of them.
By celebrating our differences we break this divide among people, we end the separation. It is no longer “I am right, you are wrong”, but it’s an all inclusive truth of the amazing experience of being human in all its glorious manifestations. This way we can actually learn from each other as we share our stories on this beautiful planet, our home, regardless of race, beliefs, lifestyle, sexual orientation, social class or personal views.
There were times that I felt discouraged and felt a bit negative that we as a species would never evolve to the point that we can accept each other for who we are. However, I started to accept that it is all part of this great mystery that created everything, it is all part of a process and we evolve by taking baby steps, even though sometimes big leaps take place and all changes very quickly. We can only do our part in building a society that is maintained by mutual support, respect and acceptance.
As I investigate my experiences, I come to the realization that it all boils down to overcoming our fears and challenges without feeling like victims or sinners, but as one of the infinite number of threads that make up this colorful fabric of life.
So I look at myself on the mirror of life and I see that it all comes to this. Every experience in life takes us closer to the opportunity we have to become who we are. All led me to this moment, this life, this particular story. It all comes to how intrinsically brave we are to accept ourselves and others without judgement or fear, but with dignity and compassion. The best gift we can offer each other is ourselves as we truly are. That’s when the magic happens and connections are made, and the stars shine brightly in the sky and we feel the sense of belonging with all that is out there. There is a pragmatic reason why it all led us to where we are at every moment in our lives individually and as a whole. We are no longer separated, we are no longer alone. It all comes to this moment. It’s all come to now. It’s all come to this.