Wednesday, November 29, 2006

26 Months

"Because you can"

We were watching this really lousy generic movie that was about as imaginative as trying to figure out who Jessica Simpson is recently dating (brain-dead material). The only thing positive that I got out of it once I'd jammed my finger on the off button was that we should do the things we really want to do in life. Just because we can. How many hours do we waste discovering new ways to keep us from doing everything we want to do? For me, that's easy, I just have to look at my bathroom or open the folder that holds my novel or check out the dust on my Butsudon. All of these things are on my back burner when they should actually be what I'm focusing on.

I'm a Buddhist. I practice Buddhism with the SGI, which is based on Nichiren Buddhism. I can confidently say that what I have learned about this life philosophy seems very profound without being too erudite and magical. Very rarely am I asked to suspend my disbelief and when I have questions about certain aspects, my own perspectives are just as valuable as of those who are trying to teach me. What I do know is that Life is an incredible enigma that we are constantly discovering and tasting and cherishing and somehow I simply want to value the experience as much as possible.

One of the foundations of our practice is taking action. It's a daily practice, which means that we meditate every day by chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo over and over and over again. This daily active force then helps us develop our lives so that we may become more enlightened individuals and begin to affect change in our environment. It's not as simple as it sounds and without taking action daily it simply doesn't have the effect we desire, just like everything else we do in our life. Whether it's our families or our work environment or our international relationships, nothing will come of them if we don't put forth an effort to create value in life.

"We must be the change we wish to see in the world."

It's widely recognized that nothing will occur if we don't take the initial steps. Over the past 26 months I've been able to witness this basic fundamental premise of life in action. Lucas has continuously amazed us with all of his advancement. He's gone from not being able to hold up his head to jumping and dancing and shouting and laughing hysterically and demanding and hugging (he gives such great hugs). That natural drive to succeed is thriving within him and helps push him forward. All of us went through exactly what he's going through now, and some of us still have that within us naturally while others...find a way to stifle it.

"I am alive. I am alive and that's the best that I can do."

Somewhere along the line this sentiment became enough, acceptable, no matter if it isn't true. It might sound good in a song or a melancholy poem but it's not true. We aren't even close to being the best. Not as a species. Not as a country. Not as human beings. We have a long way to go. One of the things that used to scare the hell out of me was the understanding that I wasn't going to get all of it. That I would travel through this existence and there would be things I wouldn't experience, beauty that I wouldn't witness, wisdom that would forever evade me. That life would continue on without me. Yeah, I know how selfish that sounds but those are the types of thoughts that would make my skin crawl. It made me feel minuscule, worthless, unimportant.

But here's the thing. All of that stuff that I used to fear is going to happen whether I like it or not and yeah, one day my life will vanish into the ether and no one will remember me. But that doesn't mean that my life is worthless. It doesn't mean that everything that I'm experiencing right now is inconsequential. Only if I let it.

After I began to chant I began to have a different perspective on that view of missing out on life. I realized that I have the fortune (as do all human beings) to inexperience life to the fullest. That I will be able to do the things that I want to do right up until the moment my life is over. I will always be able to learn and teach and write and expound on the complexities of this life. And instead of fearing this these thoughts now they fill me with joy.

The only way that our lives lack merit is when we don't try to live them fully and vibrantly. How do we do that? We create value any way that we can. We cherish those around us, our family and friends, our neighbors and those who work alongside us. We raise our children with love and compassion. We teach others what we know so that we can all grow together. We embrace the value in all cultures equally understanding that what we don't know can help us become better human beings. We strive to accomplish all that lives in our wild imaginations, our dreams even if those rooms have become dusty and cobwebby. We do the things that we want to do.

Because we can.

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