Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Our Heroes

Think for a moment about what stories we fixate on as a nation. A glance at our television and cinema shows that we respect what is powerful and violent--the conqueror, the dominator, the unrepentant victor. Our heroes impose their power on their enemies; they take "theirs" without remorse or reflection.

How many of our heroes are heroes because of their dedicated compassion? Their honest humility? How about their uncompromising love in the face of personal danger?

Have we as a culture narrowed down our virtues to the imposition of will? Is violent, unrelenting power all we find worthy to worship?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Then what of the significance of stars?

I have decided to not attend grad school. If I had made this decision two years ago, I doubt I would have handled it as well as I am. A Ph.D.  was my goal for years, was my sense of direction and purpose. To reach that high standard meant I would have a legitimate voice in academia--the chance to influence the world paper by paper and student by student. Although I believe I have the intelligence and writing skills to complete a Ph.D., I have struggled the past couple years to find the discipline I need to succeed. As last semester waned and the GRE approached, I didn't have the important details in order. I hadn't studied for the exam and I was lax in my classes. I only needed one class to graduate, yet I kept myself on the precipice and finished with a C. I showed no where near the resolution and attention to detail I should have. So I called it off.

Maybe it's best for a break. Maybe I should live for a bit and do some reflecting and wandering. Some searching and seeking. I don't know what I'm looking for, but I know it will reveal itself. 

I've always had big dreams, and I don't know who I'd be if I lost them. Is this preoccupation with reaching for something grand simply my desire to distinguish myself from average? To prove to myself my individual and unique significance? That out of the billions and trillions of human lives lived, my personal story still carries weight?

I have thought a lot lately about the question of significance. What is the significance of each individual life? Naturally and unintentionally, we each are at the center of our experienced universe. We comprehend the world through the lens of our personal histories, and thusly create personal realities. What gives any of these realities significance? What gives anything in existence significance?

Last year I lost an important person to suicide. I have wondered again and again about the pieces of his story that I missed. I always felt he kept some torment out of sight, and now I will never know what it was. I've asked myself about what he learned lying on his deathbed for a week before passing. Were his thoughts, which can never be recovered, analyzed, or retold, still significant? Since they can never impact this world that continues, do they not carry weight?

Then what of the significance of stars? Are the unseen, unexperienced parts of the universe insignificant? Are the trillions upon trillions of worlds, suns, and galaxies only valuable as mysterious scenery?

There can be no way that only humans are significant. And deep in every being something screams that they are, or wishes desperately to be so. If humans are indeed significant, then all the unknown must be as well. Every particle crumb, known or unknown, in all of existence, must carry weight.

I believe that existence guarantees significance.

Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve (alone)

So here I am, alone on New Year's Eve. I worked an eleven-hour shift today and work early tomorrow, so I figured I'd spend New Year's Eve at home with my parents for the first time in years. Now they are asleep and I am alone. Life rarely happens how you hope or expect. I have concluded that the only way to be happy is to accept life as it is. This is not to say we shouldn't strive for what we want, or give up easily, only that our realities are often different than our imagined ideals. And it seems the most painful trait is the inability to accept the limits of our control.

When the exterior does not reflect what we desire inside, when what we feel ought to be reality does not line up with our experience, we despair. This is unfair. This is unjust. This is not how it should be. Can I live in a world where this is the case? Yet often our most true source of control is internal. Our control exists in our perspective. We can find a hundred reasons each day to despair or rejoice. Still we ache for the world to change, rather than for us to adjust how we interpret it. We stay trapped within the same sense of worldly injustice. How ironic is it that, once we let go of our desperate need to control whatever issue concerns us, we find resolution and solace? Relief resides within, not without.

Coming to peace is an internal process.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Inaugural Blog Post

2012 is about to end and we are still here. I am not surprised. Even with all the uncertainty of the day, I can't help but remain enthusiastic. I feel like I am exactly where I am meant to be. Following an idea I picked up from new age books, I often wonder if, before we were born, we scripted every detail of our lives as maps for personal advancement, and that our challenges are critical to reaching our highest potential. Sometimes when we are despairing, the benefits can be so difficult to see. Yet each struggle has changed me; they offered the painful power of perspective.

I guess my pre-life self was ambitious.

I pray that every person facing despair will find moments of solace, will embrace and rejoice in them, and take the small truths they offer. Often these small mental movements hold the answers we crave.