Life is a fleeting thing. In my younger days, I foolishly joined an MLM company and used to attend local conferences where successful directors would give speeches. No offence intended to those who are participants of MLM companies and especially those who are doing well; it simply wasn’t for me. But my philosophy of life includes that there’s always something to be learned in any environment. As such, I remember the words of the one of the speakers, “Life is a flicker. And in the snap of a moment, it’s over…”
It is true that in the grand scheme of things, we’re only in this life for a very brief moment in existence. Sometimes life can FEEL long. And from an outside perspective, you’ll hear people say, “they had a good, long life” but as it relates to the nature of the universe, we’re here for but a mere spec of time. It makes you think about the importance of how one chooses to use that time and how they behave themselves around others.
In my previous career, I walked the line between light and darkness. I got to help a lot of people and prevent a lot of bad within my small corner of the world. But I was exposed and would see both sides of the equation. Sometimes I would be forced to see some pretty dark and disturbing things, which I still carry with me to this day. But I always had the benefit of going home at the end of the day and knowing I was happy and safe within my little haven and that I was doing my part to reduce suffering in the world.
When I say I’ve seen some dark things, it doesn’t even have to be something horribly traumatic. I’ve seen the folly of people who turn on each other for some of the most trivial things. Spouses, friends, brothers and family…. There is a slice of society that doesn’t care what bonds or relationships exist when they feel an entitlement to their cause. And sometimes it’s justified. I’m not here to judge. I wasn’t THERE to judge. But the suffering that results from these encounters is long-lasting. It’s gone a long way towards showing me that some people just want to watch the world burn.
This brings me to my own life. Despite my personal beliefs, I can concede that no one TRULY knows what happens when we leave this life. In that light, I’ve always fought hard to maintain and preserve myself while trying to live as happy a life as possible. When one stops to consider that goal, it’s a really simple one. Living a happy life is easy. Manage your affairs responsibly and pay attention, live in the moment and work on doing the things that make you happy versus what everyone else expects you to do and you’ll be pretty happy. I make it sound pretty easy and in truth, it is. But I understand that some obstacles can get in the way and make happiness difficult to achieve.
And I say “pretty” happy because there will always be things that will be out of one’s control. For example, I don’t think I need to explain that life would be simpler if I didn’t have Type-1 Diabetes. That being said, I also wouldn’t be the person I am today if I had never been diagnosed as such. Maybe I wouldn’t have the drive, ambition and focus on health and martial arts that I do, if I’d grown up without the challenges that Diabetes has thrown at me. This is where you’d hear me say that all things happen for a reason.
It would be contrary to Buddhist belief that suggesting that some levels of suffering in life are necessary in order to grow and evolve. And this may be so. Saying that all things happen for a reason would indicate that possibility. After all, if some form of suffering you’re going through is happening for a reason, doesn’t that mean it’s an essential aspect of life? It’s one of the more important philosophical conflicts I’ve always had with myself. And I’m pretty certain I’ll carry it with me into my next life, since there’s no clear answer.
If there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that you should never intentionally do something that will cause suffering in others. I’ve also experienced this phenomenon first hand in recent years, where certain individuals have taken action that would have altered my life in a seriously detrimental way. Now that the smoke has cleared, I’ve often considered speaking with these people and confronting them, if only to learn what their motivations were and why they did the things they did. But ultimately, what further growth will that provide me? It likely won’t do anything but re-open old wounds and cause more suffering. I choose to be better than that. I choose to be happy. ☯️