Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Bliss or pain?

There is a profound sadness to life.  We are surrounded by tragedy and the ever present dread that is our lives.  Pain and suffering, disappointments and loss seem to weave through every path, every choice and every decision, leading us toward uncertainty or opportunity.  Even privileged lives share in this story, leaving no one untouched by the inevitable hand that we call life.   

For eons and generations our fathers and mothers have suffered, we all suffer, but for most, we rise above those inevitable and obligatory lessons and begin to understand the true meaning of life.  The simple words of “No pain, no gain” help us to comprehend why we need to suffer, why we demand the adversity and challenges that once endured provide clarity and perspective to our once limited and myopic view.

“Ignorance is bliss” but it does not teach, does not enlighten, nor does it help us to grow.  Ignorance, simply stated, is being content within our darkness, helpless in our servitude and being satisfied with not knowing, not caring and having no desire to expand, explore or move beyond our selfish and limited view of how we want our lives to be.

We are entering a time of personal atrophy.  Life has no meaning, others lives mean even less.  Personal wants and feelings take precedence over the lives and feelings of others.  The level of selfishness is expanding and with it our traditions that bind  our society, maintain our humanity and cement our families together.

Women and men are at odds with each other.  We are encouraged to think tribally, adopting group thought, supplanting individual rights.  Political discourse has been replaced with an all out war for power, with the end goal of total annihilation of one over the other.  

Pain and suffering is a natural consequence of life, but the current state of life, as we see it today, is filled with  discord, graft and corruption.  There is an evil that transcends the natural process that allows us to learn and grow with a blackness that kills the light of progress, and destroys the ability of man to choose to grow from those tragedies.  There is no growth when evil is allowed to flourish.  There is only pain and suffering or worse, wholesale ignorance.  

When we extinguish the light within we forsake all hope of progress derived from and inspired by the trials that life so abundantly provides.  We are left alone, powerless to move beyond the pain and suffering and unable to endure or learn, spiraling forever downward into the abyss of an unknown eternity.  

I was asked the other day, “Do you believe in God?” My first thought was, of course I do, but then I started to think and as I thought I was reminded of a video clip from Jordan Peterson regarding the same question.  

He was asked if he believed in God, and he started to consider his answers but eventually came to the conclusion that regardless of his answer, he needed to act like he believed first.  Then the question was irrelevant.  

He went on to explain that it’s too easy to simply say we believe and move on.  That statement however,  means nothing if we fail to act like we profess.  Letting our words carry the load without the reality of doing what we say.  

It is so easy to “Do as I say, not as I do.”  I am guilty, I admit it, and I plan to do better at acting as I believe.  

Regardless of the level of pain we endure in life, the suffering we experience or the trials we live through, we all need to believe in something greater than ourselves.  There is only one way to fight against the malaise of darkness and ignorance.  We need to believe, we need to act as if we believe and then be consistent with those actions and commitments.

Religion is a very good way to focus energy; it’s not the only way, but a “good” Religion provides the basis for that belief and a structural plan to follow.  

Unfortunately, most religions today are in a freefall.  Memberships are down, commitments and covenants are not seen as important.  Choose a belief and then follow it, commit to it and defend it.  The leaders of those religions are not perfect but the idea of God is hardwired into our psyche.  The need to believe is much more than a passing wonder.  We believe because we have always believed.  From the first man and women we have believed that there was much more to life than the hardships of everyday living.  

Believing makes life worth living, it gives purpose to our existence and it elevates our temporal thoughts into the celestial realm where inspiration gives us the hope and understanding that life is worth living.

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