Can we live happily ever after, effective today? I’m not so sure; we may need to wait another day to be happy because today, we are busy trying to make ourselves happy, tomorrow.
I think living happily ever after is the same as saying being at peace.
I’ve not had as many disappointments as I’ve had disruptions in my life, although, there has been one enormous disruption that has unfolded into the gravest and longest lasting disappointment I could never imagine. This one epiphany, so impactful it has noticeably aged me. I believe this is how all of us begin our final decent; this process of dying; our learning something undeniable that is so crushing to our spirit we are forced to see it literally, unto death.
We have an instinct to survive like any animal until we simply drop from exhaustion. Our bodies grow tired and unable to fight the never ceasing enemies constantly attacking them. I think our spirits are similar except it is more difficult if not impossible to fully surrender hope.
It seems the more obstacles we encounter the more we argue with reality in order to keep our hope alive or, maybe, because our hope is alive. Maybe it is a force of its own or is the force, the energy of the spirit in us compelling us to resist reality, not necessarily, just in order to cope with the hardships we endure; but to cause us to grope in order to realize there is something to hope for; that there is a something better than this razor sharp world awaiting us and if we can get through this lifetime, we’ll find the peace we seek.
We hope and dream of peace because we do experience moments of joy, elation and calm. We don’t long for moments of feeling happy; we want one moment, a never ending moment which, lasts throughout our whole life. We want our hopes and dreams fulfilled.
Our life is full of disruptions to our illusions from what we expect and from what we want which, brings us disappointment when they differ from what is. From our dissatisfaction comes this argument with what is and what we want to be. It keeps us going, motivating our actions, for a time anyway, until our bodies cannot handle the strain and give out. We cannot stand the idea of being out of control. Everything we do involves our planning and plotting to manipulate ourselves, others and our surroundings into bending to our ideas, to achieve what we visualize as our happy ending.
Visualization helps us to work at controlling the uncontrollable. We are never really in charge, which is why we work so hard to take charge.
We see ourselves in authority, as being able to make things work out the way, or in any way in which, we seem to… win. In our minds, we do not like to lose, that would mean we would suffer or would be lacking some necessary element, which would bring us to and/or keep us in a state of happiness.
I think we are designed with an inherent losing streak, causing us to toil in vain but, not without purpose. Our struggles revolve around frustrated attempts to surpass limitations and restrictions we are confronted with in our perception of how we want or believe things to be. We are forced through circumstance to hit these real walls but, our hope forces us to resist what is and visualize what we think or feel could be if we were unrestrained. This keeps us groping, hoping and believing it’s possible to break free and somehow un-limit ourselves.
I think at the point we realize we can be hurt, against our will, then, a part of our will is broken and the stress we experience activates the aging process in us. Sort of like a vacuum. Little by little draining us of life; dehydrating our energy flow until we are empty and depleted of resources; until we are no longer immune to the disease and it little by little takes us over because we are made too weak to conquer it. Oh, we fight back. Our first reaction to being hurt is to reject it and the source of harm. This begins the argument we live in each moment of our lives; can we or can’t we… “to be or not to be”.
When we are hurt and have no way to combat it such as when seeing, feeling and knowing a harsh reality and being helpless through what we deem our normal or usual channels (i.e., our intelligence and physical abilities) to make it what we would like it to be then our only recourse is to hope. We hope for it to be a lie. We hope for courage to face it without rejecting what might be truth. We hope to see it for what it is and find balance while coping with any disturbing or discomforting issues surrounding it. We hope for peace and ease rather than dis-ease regarding its existence and affect on us. We hope it and any associated pain from it will go away but, it doesn’t. Instead, it returns continually throughout our lives in all we encounter because it, is beyond our control. It is an attitude and a lack of understanding. It is growth and decay wrapped up together.
We have limitations whether we know what they are or not. When conflict with our restrictions arises, the result is always our hope moving us to climb the barriers we are aware of only to reach more barriers. The fact that we die and are in that process, doesn’t allow us to overcome the barriers and live without hindrance. Each generation has the same frustration; this bodily form must learn in this manner… the hard way. We pass traits and characteristics on but to utilize them, we all must live by trial and error. We are striving to live peacefully and harmoniously with, remove or leave behind what disagrees with us. This wrestling the enemy, our nature and our captor, is what wears us out.
It’s not really possible to have peace when in distress. When your spirit is in discord, peace is no where to be found and that disease is what spreads through the mind and body, breaking us down. When we are broken down, lowered notch by notch, ego-wise, confidence in ourselves suffers. This makes us fearful of the unknown. Fear is what stress is made of. This gradual prolonged stress leads us to our death by decay.
We all learn as we go, however, when we are young, our naivety allows us to accept, more easily, what comes, storing all of the patterns we see then beginning to gather and formulate ideas when the images are crossed. All of these crossings create new patterns; new in the sense they hadn’t crossed our mind before. Then we explore these new images of ourselves and how to get our way by manipulating, applying and re-applying what we know or what we think we know, to reach our intended outcome. The problem arises with the outcome not usually being what was intended. This causes us to develop those worry lines and dreaded wrinkles on the outside and it determines our life line on the inside. This is death by decay. We have no protection from the process. We are born into the war zone and must cope by any means necessary at any moment the bombs hit.
We worry about and have a false sense of control; our not having it but wanting it and our focus becomes how to get it at the cost of our lives. We spend our lives thriving from dreaming of and scheming for what we want but, the wanting and the striving kills us. Thus, ultimately humbling us over time, in every way, both tearing us down physically and spiritually. This is the purpose for our inherent losing streak mentioned previously. It’s a way to learn about the value of life and where our true hope lies, this ultimately builds our courage because it stems from hope in a power greater than ourselves, not from a false sense of personal confidence which, is continually and easily shaken.
Our believing we are more powerful than we are prepares us for a fall so we may be humbled; teaching us what we are and what we are not. Showing us the order of things regardless of the chaos we may see in our ongoing battle to realize our personal worth and place in a world much larger than the small mind and body we are bound to and serve with diligence to the end.
Our ego suffers crushing blows as it is hit with the reality of its limitations and is beaten down by a power greater than itself. We repeatedly suffer our egos attempts to skirt around this undeniable truth. Being humbled unburdens us from this false sense of power and is a virtue because with deep humility comes compassion. Not only for ourselves but, for our fellow man. The catch is; it goes against our nature, which, is the nature to work at conquering and overcoming anything contrary to our being top dog and seemingly free willed. We will not stand for it! So we are prepared to die for our cause. Literally prepared for death by the nature of our design… born losers. We become our own worst enemy, but our design forces us on a course to understanding the enemy which teaches us compassion.
In study of the nature of things in our environment, we observe what is and it sure doesn’t seem too compassionate, much of the time, however, with every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. Where there seems to be cruelty, we can also see a blessing. Everything has an opposing point of view. One simple example; a mama bear nurtures and protects her cub even from papa bear whom, sometimes, may kill it given the opportunity. The cub has a friend and a foe and each of them can only carry out the action found in their nature, yet baby bear is taught from the existence of both. What happens, does and, all life goes on until it doesn’t.
We have an instinctive nature, as does each member of the bear family, however, with a distinction. We have a much greater intelligence and add reason to our instincts. We use our intelligence and our instincts to label our actions as good or bad, harmful or helpful, regardless of their true nature.
Our inner debate and resulting label confuses our mind and body. The label which amounts to our personal determination of morality, crosses with our instinct (i.e., our gut feelings) and all of the other patterns and ideas we’ve picked up and sensed, causing us to believe we or things are not what we or they should be. We cannot find lasting comfort in our decaying state therefore are never fully satisfied with how things are and because we have labeled them while in a conflicted state, in our confusion of what we want to be and what is and we try to control them to either keep the label the same or change them to fit a label, whichever we think will bring us closer to our desired condition. We seek self-soothing comfort in all we do. This is our instinctive motto for survival; endure or go down fighting.
We have an, us and them mentality… if you’re not for us, you’re against us. If you are seeking for yourself, then you aren’t seeking for my self. If it happens we can be allies in our self-seeking then we get along until your self no longer serves my self, then we get along little doggie. We separate our selves out of our need to sustain our idea of how things should be for me, not for we. It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, as someone always does. Sure, sure there is fun and games also, but life hurts due to the many burdens put on us in efforts to sustain our decaying cage. We are forced to grow old. Aging due to a losing, age-old argument. Things are not what they seem. With the knowledge our will is irrelevant to the motion of the world in and around us, rather, what is around us dictates our will; we are caught up in its momentum. If the force of the waters current is stronger than the object in it, the object is swept away. It doesn’t matter if it wanted to go, it is moved. Without the realization of not being able to control an outcome, we would still suffer from whatever obstacle is set before us due to our limitations.
Internal arguments, this crossing of ideas to create what we want furthers our hope and builds our confidence and courage despite our plans being thwarted over and over again. Our behavior is directed by the unstoppable energy of life swirling, pushing and pulling us through it and being shaken, stirred, lifted and lowered along the way. This is why I believe we all age ungracefully. No matter how blissfully ignorant, serious or light-hearted we can be, the mental, emotional and physical stress generated, ages us. We wrestle the concept of not deciding for ourselves how things will turn out and who we become. All actions great and small affect us, as each one gives us hope to be all we can be, simultaneously, each one takes it away as we are hit with the epiphany, we are what we are and things will be what they’ll be. There is no running away from that. At some point we are forced to stop running and walk slowly with this knowledge until we can walk no more, simply dropping from exhaustion; at which point, through forced surrender, it is time to give in to the inevitable and find understanding in knowing we can only receive compassion having reached our final rest despite lifelong attempts to evade it. No more conflicts in play, our tension relieved; now forced to relax and receive a happy ending.