Life is a Sunset
Earlier this week I wrote about the importance of being unattached to outcomes and someone commented that it was a very Buddhist philosophy. Buddhist see everything in this world as temporary and encourage people to disengage from temporary things to break the cycle of rebirth.
I don’t consider myself Buddhist, because I think disengagement isn’t the right answer. I think we’re here having a human experience, and we should revel in it and soak it up. I’d feel better jumping off Samsara if I knew what it was for.
Buddhists are right that your experiences as a human being are illusory and temporary, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We don’t spend our lives obsessing over a coming sunset, or living in existential dread for when the sunset is over. We just see it, and it’s beautiful, so we sit with it a while and enjoy it.
We enjoy the moments we have with it, and we fully expect and are at peace with its inevitable ending. We know it’s not really a “thing” in itself—it’s just an arrangement of the sun and the sky and the earth, with a certain type of light hitting our certain type of atmosphere at a certain angle that only people standing near us can see. All that makes a beautiful, meaningful, and temporary experience that really only exists from your particular vantage point in the universe.
When it’s over, nothing is lost, it just means you’ve moved out that vantage point. You also know that you’re part of an ongoing cycle and you’ll see a similar, maybe more beautiful sunset, when the time comes.
That’s my philosophy. I think any experience that you become consciously aware of has the capacity to look beautiful from your particular vantage point, if you want it to.
Success and failure, and love, and anger, and power outages, and travel, and sex, and everything you experience is beautiful, and you can give whatever meaning to it that you choose, and you will eventually move out of the vantage point from which its visible, and that’s perfectly fine.
You’re part of a larger cycle, and when the time is right, you’ll see it all again. And since you’re going to be wiser when that happens, maybe it’ll all be more beautiful and meaningful than you ever knew before.
Young and Dumb
## 1. I was a precocious kid, the kind that's remarkably well-spoken for a 6 year old, and everyone thinks it's cute. At that time I figured, since I got along with adults so well, I must be pretty much on par. I knew I had facts and figures to learn, but obviously I operated on a similar level. But then I turned 10, and I could plainly see how much sophistication I lacked when I was only 6. I'll skip the montage, you get it, this is an ongoing process. But think about this. Now that you're an adult,...
Making Others Happy
Doing what everyone else wants has its perks. I graduated from high school right around my 15th birthday. I never liked school and I got nothing but mediocre grades until I skipped from 5th grade into high school. Impressive (to whom?). Then I continued getting mediocre grades until I graduated. It was all very disappointing (to whom?), and I was rejected from LSU when I applied. I wrote a letter to the Dean of Admissions to convince him to let me in anyway, and he did. I kicked ass in college. I was always on the Dean's list, and I...