The “human condition” has been a topic for philosophers, poets, and artists ever since the first caveman started drawing on his cave wall. Early cave drawings indicate that cavemen were curious about their world and their life experiences. People throughout the ages have grappled with the paradox of living a finite existence while feeling the tug of an infinite soul within.
One of the burning questions mankind has grappled with since the beginning of time is, “Who am I?” coupled with, “What am I doing here?” These two questions have led people to believe that the answers are “out there” and we need to discover them. There must be a “secret to life,” and we are consumed with trying to find it.
Is there anything more to life than just the treadmill struggle to survive? Why do we struggle?
“Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers… Live the questions now.” — Rainer Maria Rilke
As technological advancement expands our possibilities, it seems to demand that we fill every waking hour with some productive enterprise — finding a balance between a fruitful participation in society, and enjoying the innate pleasures of nature, personal relationships, and philosophical musings. But modern life has become very difficult.
In dwelling, be close to the land.
In meditation, go deep in the heart.
In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.
In speech, be true.
In ruling, be just.
In daily life, be competent. — Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Today’s magazines, newspapers, blogs and podcasts contain many references to, and articles about, balancing one’s life, slowing down, or dropping out. This seems to confirm that we have a universal longing to make our lives something more than the proverbial rut. This longing also seems to be recognition of the irony of our existence — that we are somehow the butt of some great cosmic joke.
How often do we acknowledge this desire for balance in our own lives and promise that “soon” we will do something about it? How often do we tell ourselves that we are going to find wholeness; that we are going to take some corrective action to put our own lives in balance and discover the meaning of life… the secret of our existence… ?
It’s like the weather. Everyone talks about it…
©️ Rusty Alderson, 2022