Living Instead of Just Making a Living
Could we call the period before the pandemic “life,” or was it just a compulsory race to make a living? This question arises now, as we are forced to rapidly transition to a new state, a new reality. We can make the best of our new beginning if we realize that there are more fulfilling goals in life than chasing passing fads and pointless ambitions.
“This is what is happening with humanity right now. It is going through a phase of growing up, and the push we have received toward it is not easy for us.”
I remember myself as a child, how my parents spoiled me and gave me everything I wanted or needed. Suddenly, at a certain age, they began to pressure me and demand self-discipline in my studies, making sure I lived up to what was required of me. I did not understand what was happening. If they wanted me to be so successful, why didn’t they arrange it? Why was everything on me all of a sudden? I remember how this question troubled me.
It took time for me to be able to gladly accept that my life is divided into two periods: The first one is childhood, when I was under the complete protection of my parents, and the second period, adulthood, during which I needed to stand on my own, no matter how much my parents loved me and wanted the best for me. I had to achieve maturity by myself.
This is what is happening with humanity right now. It is going through a phase of growing up, and the push we have received toward it is not easy for us. It requires that we begin to approach life differently, and we don’t want to. We want to be left alone in our private world and do as we please, just as we have done until today.
If “growing up” in our world means entering the job market, going to bars, and traveling around the world for no real purpose or fulfillment, it is actually the definition of “childhood.” Until now, people have primarily focused on short term goals, on what was in front of their eyes and immediately relevant. Material gadgets, running from one indulgence to the next, endless competition to outdo others, struggles and wars over dominance, building and tearing down and building once again — these have been our childish games. Suddenly, the moment has come when we, as a global society, are required to lift our eyes from the playground and realize our situation in the larger landscape. What is the purpose of this world where we find ourselves? What is this life? These thoughts are something that we are not accustomed to.
Until today we had expected to live life to its fullest but we tried to achieve this satisfaction artificially, focusing on having a good time without considering our surroundings. We hadn’t paid any attention to the examples that nature’s behavior has given us, which take into account the balance of the whole ecosystem.
The way we have conducted our lives is not real life. We haven’t even begun to grasp what life really means. Adulthood will be reached only when we begin to grow according to nature’s plan, when we begin to measure ourselves according to its rules and characteristics which are integral, connected.
To live life means to understand it, to feel its essence and its goal. Real life is the capability to taste the supreme meaning of our existence, to feel the intricate networks and links within the universe. This is what we can call true life: when we apprehend that everything born or created has a purpose and goal for its existence.
What do we live for? Why were we created? This is something we have yet to discover. It will be revealed when we grow up not only chronologically, but also through our internal discernments. This exercise that nature has given us today with the coronavirus is our first test in growing up, that is, to reveal the meaning of life.
If we want to be smart children, we must understand what life holds in store for us and gladly, enthusiastically, and with great anticipation move toward it. Otherwise, we will experience our exercises in adulthood as suffering. One way or the other, we will have to grow up. The time has come to leave behind the toys of wealth and honor and find the true treasure, the real purpose of life, which exists in cohesive and harmonious relations between us.