What is it to “live”?

I am incredibly sore this morning – sore with ideas, thoughts and my life until this point. It is actually pretty good that I have made this far without any major problems. Anything can happen tomorrow and it is immaterial if I had been a good person or a bad one; a lot of unforeseen events have no bearing on how right or wrong you have been in your life. They just happen and you are expected to jump back with optimism to “live” life.

What is it to “live”? I haven’t figured it out. Here are some common ways that I have seen around me: (Of course, the following bullets have nothing to do with what destiny has in store; it only outlines some popular choices)

  1. Traveling from one day to another, fulfilling our responsibilities and living by the social, ethical code. Good sleep with no crazy dreams is often encountered and a common belief is established that nothing will ever go wrong and if it does (it always does!), God will bring back the order of things. Destiny can never be brutal to our kind. We beam with faith and become the vessel of hope expanding in all directions almost blinding us. We continue with the goodness of the world. Old age brings some regrets but our simplicity washes them and we are gone and remembered as ones who lived their life “fully”.
  2. A close cousin of 1. For this breed, sometimes, a nagging question surfaces: what is it that I am doing? Does it fill me with wonder and happiness? The answer almost depresses us and we choose to forget it conveniently and keep going until same round of questions sprout from our mind. Good sleep is not guaranteed as the slight discomfort in our heart tugs us in different directions leaving with a list of irritating possibilities, all beginning with “what if” ? Most of our kind are envious with the ones who can experiment and derive an iota of thrill along the way but we are never comfortable to step out of the box. We jump when no one is looking and we return in no time. All is good is what we keep telling ourselves and grow old and die on a sunny day.
  3. A distant neighbor of 1. – with visible variations of throwing away the rulebook for the sake of “happiness” or in reality, some “spark” in life for a few times. In one of those unfortunate times, our type will get caught and maligned for life as we are not seasoned in doing things out of the box. It is not in our blood to lie, to cheat and to not feel guilty. We return to being 1. after we are scarred but it is too late. We are forsaken; however remembered only for what we did “wrong” and how a fair punishment was bestowed upon. the entire journey of our life is summated only in the leap we dared to make – the one that broke the norm; the control of the righteous.
  4. Anti 1. Ones who refuse to travel on the set path because they believe in something else. Possibly tormented inside the box; these make their way out, early, by carving doors,windows to walk out and camp themselves in the open. They explore, they find and then they stick to their created beliefs but most of them still succumb to control rather than influence and hence distinguished by the society in a negative or positive way. Either way, they color the history books for generations and are considered examples of a certain form of living. Whether good or bad, they always suffer a large opposition and usually die as a result of the hatred of ones who resent their inner freedom.
  5. Indifferent to 1. These are far removed from power, control, influence and anything that can corrupt the very essence of life. They go by, discovering themselves, oblivious to where the society puts them – inside or outside the box. They live their life, make mistakes, own them and move on to make new mistakes. Life is like a wheel – traveling on a different road accumulating experiences, visions, wisdom and suffering. It is difficult for them to own responsibilities as they cannot be tied down and hence they die alone.

While there are so many variations in between and beyond these five types ( lines are blurry between 1,2, and 3 and distinct for the last two); life is something that each one of us carves on his/her own limitations and capabilities. It is beyond the dimensions of a rulebook listing the wants and needs of existence as good or bad; for there can only be guidelines. There is no prescribed “right” behavior and there are no guarantees. Life will most certainly be unfair and as long as one can look back and smile at all the mistakes and perfections in it; I believe it is all fine. The idea should be to minimize regrets and maximize happiness. Redemption will follow.

As Buddha rightly said: Work out your own salvation; do not depend on others.

And that is good enough for me.


One thought on “What is it to “live”?

  1. Ok, here’s the problem. I have to think about this post. Parse it, and work it, and given those first two…re-write whatever tripe I came up with first blush. And “iota” makes me suspect that I’m dealing with a person of substance. Can’t have that. I’m off to change my template.


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