The other day I heard someone speak of someone who ‘lived life to the fullest’ and I thought: what does that mean exactly?
To me, it means a person who is generally seeking some sort of ‘pleasure’. This means that it is not ‘living life to the fullest’. There seems a misconception that ‘living life’ is seeking pleasure. I totally disagree with this. It seems more accurate to me to say that people seek pleasure because they cannot live, as pleasure recompensates them for this inability. This is also confirmed by observation as well.
This got me thinking and I stated an interesting question:
“Do you love existence?”
Existence . . . existence is the all of everything, the totality of life. Do you love it? I don’t speak of just the ‘good’ aspects, but everything else too, good, bad, boring, etc.
It seems to me that ‘loving existence’ is one of the hardest loves to perform.
One reason why is that existence, by its nature, hits to our depths. When I say ‘love’ it isn’t just an emotion, but more. In reality, it is ‘beyond love’. This makes this very difficult to define. As a result, it might be better to say it with other questions such as:
Do you feel content with existence?
Do you feel frightened of existence?
Does existence make you feel uplifted?
Or, better yet: Do you feel comfortable with existence?
I feel that many people could not answer these as positively and definately as it would at first seem.
Since existence is the all, its hard to answer because our life as an all is not complete. In many ways, we are waiting for these questions to be answered.
As a result of this, we are always somewhat ‘incomplete’. This means that existence, by its nature, makes us a little uneasy at the least. There’s always this sense of frustration. And so we can ask this question:
Are you comfortable with the uneasiness of existence?
This uneasiness never ends you know. It goes on and on. Learning to love existence means a loving of this uneasiness, this incompleteness, this frustration, which is within us. How many of us love this uneasiness? Not many. Most of us tolerate it and try to live our lives around it. For many, life becomes and odyssey to flee it, be it with money, possessions, pleasure, or what have you. In the end, though, it is always there, lurking like a mist in your life.
Reflecting much on this uneasiness, I think, is a good thing. There’s nothing wrong with being aware of it. Confronting it, we find it isn’t as bad as we think. But be careful. The uneasiness has many forms. Soon it will unsettle you again, often when you least expect it.
In reality, I don’t think anyone can grow to love this unsettling quality of existence. A person may get used to its ‘fact’ but soon it will knock you over again. When this happens we become unsettled and bothered. That’s the way it is.
The question then, it seems to me, is not in ‘loving existence’ but an acceptance of this situation. But we must remember that acceptance, really, is a form of love. Accepting the fact that we must often be knocked down is, really, ‘loving existence’ but that doesn’t mean we ‘love’ being knocked down and unsettled. It means that we accept its ‘fact’ only, that it does happen, and it is a part of life.
In the end ‘loving existence’ is nothing but accepting the conditions of things. By ‘accepting’ I mean that you must tolerate things, endure things, and bend for things. It means that you must make concessions and sacrifices. It means a giving up of yourself.
But it also means a participation in ‘existence’ a doing and a being. How can a person truly ‘love’ when they are not all there? A person must be ‘all there’ to ‘love’ existence. This takes great strength and integrity. Most of us actually hide from existence. Not many of us are able to stand up in the face of the ‘great fact’ of existence, naked and bare. Ask yourself: Do I hide from existence? Truly, the answer to this question may not be as great as we’d like. Hiding from existence we certainly cannot love it.
With this it seems that the great ‘love’ of existence is in its embracing and accepting. No complaints, no quarrels, no arguments, no bad feelings, no trying to change things. But it also means accepting oneself. Do you truly accept yourself? Many of us would be surprised at our own answer to this question.
Acceptance means the absence of trying to change things. Truly a person who ‘loves’ existence doesn’t try to change it . . . or themselves. But it seems that many of us gear our life to trying to change things in the quest for ‘happiness’. What does this hide? . . . A fear? . . . A worry? . . . An unsettling? How can we ‘love’ when we’re trying to change things? We can’t.