“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” Lao Tzu
Dramatic title aside, it has become quite clear to me our lives are governed by never ending cycle of high and low moments. One minute the world seems like a place of endless possibilities where nothing stands between us and achieving true happiness. The next, everything seems pointless and doomed to choke us with its ever pervasive mediocrity. It makes me wonder if the conflict Yoda sensed in Anakin was merely a product of natural angst and had he acknowledged this fact, all that youngling killing could have been avoided with some proper counseling, but I digress. On the bright side, recognizing this leads one to a number of realizations about life, that help to put this roller coaster ride into perspective.
What goes up, must come down. Well unless of course you live some sort of epic anime-like existence, but then your life is awesome all the time so this lesson doesn’t really apply anyways. In any case, its a pretty simple revelation when you think about it. Every moment of excellence we experience is inevitably going to end, and will probably be followed at some point by an event or mental state we would probably rather avoid. However, knowing this, we can focus on simply savoring the great times in all their fleeting glory. Then again, we could just hurry up on the whole flying car thing, and then every moment would be sweet, sweet victory.
This too shall pass. Okay so maybe not the most original concept in the world, but it does not make it any less true. While it would be nice to completely avoid the dark times in our lives, this would require wizardry far beyond that of our current scientific endeavors. Sorry Prozac. Though, when one remembers the simple piece of wisdom that eventually all things come to an end, including the really terrible nonsense, things seem far less hopeless. Though speaking of wizards, if we lived life according to Gandalf’s advice that we “shall not pass” we could avoid the whole dramatic picture and just fight Balrogs under some mountain, which makes the concept of up and down moods seem almost trivial in comparison.
Its all about perspective. When we consider our circumstances, its best to maintain the proper level of perspective. For example, when I wake up to find my car has decided it is going to play the magic “engine light” game it makes me want to punch puppies. (Something, might I add, I would NEVER do.) However, when I compare my car woes with the famine in Somalia, it starts to lose its edge a bit. No matter how many crazy and terrifying things the world wants to throw at us, we can always take a certain level of solace in the fact, that it is probably giving someone else an even harder time.
With all of these gems of wisdom, it should be simple to accept the natural tides of life. Or you could just invent the flying car and find a way to mass produce it. Seriously, why don’t I have a flying car? It just seems wrong. On a more serious note, accepting the bi-polar nature of our existence, makes everything far easier to handle. Knowing that bad times and states of mind will be followed by good ones and that no matter how bleak things seem, there is always someone who is going through something worse should prevent too much dwelling on the negative. Then again, you can always give in to the darkside and become the next Darth Vader. Though even he flowed back into the light when it was all said and done. Ebb and flow, such is the nature of the force.