LukeyoutheU essay 1
Life is an invitation. You don't have to enjoy it, to in-joy it, if you don't want to.
You don't have to live an enjoyable life. You don't have to look at the good in difficult situations. You can find issues—wholly justifiable issues, things that "shouldn't be;" things that other people would agree with you are bad; injuries that have been done against you, that you have suffered and/ or are suffering under even this day. You can make these unwanted circumstances the centerpiece of your life. I know people who have. My grandmother did. I know I have, at times, in my past.
Besides the possible mutual commiseration with those who will listen, and the passing pleasure that companionship may give you, besides the pleasure of being "right," the feeling of being justified in feeling bad, why? What good does it do you, or those around you, in the long run?
Let's face it: stuff we don't want to happen in our lives is going to happen at least sometimes. A difficult situation with a loved one. The uncaring actions of a stranger. An unexpected accident, from out of the blue (as most accidents are). An illness. The death of someone we care about. Things happen. I do believe we can increase the amount of good that happens in our lives, yes. But I also believe that not one of us has complete control of our lives (or the lives of others). We'd be foolish to think we do.
So what if bad things happen.
Believe me, I am not wanting ill for you, or for me. I want us all to live happy lives. But things we don't want to happen are likely to happen, at least sometimes.
Again I say, so what?
Are we going to let our emotions, our thoughts, our enjoyment of life, our in-joyment of life be determined by mere circumstance?
We can live that way. If we want. Possibly most people do.
But there's a smarter play. We are smart to bring all the good that we can to our lives, the lives of others, and to the world anyway. In any way we can. In all the circumstances we can. We can do so by making the good that is in our lives the centerpiece of our lives.
I think the pain we humans suffer is the knowing that, from our perspective, things could be better. That our lives and the lives of others could be better.
It's the old knowing of good and evil, isn't it.
Dogs, it seems to me, and cats, too, don't seem to have this awareness. There's a dog I know that rejoices every time I come back into its/ his presence. It's as if we've been long separated. There are eight homecomings every day. The tail wags, tribute items (a small stuffed toy, a sock) are presented to me, before being playfully pulled away.
But we are not dogs. Sometimes it seems some others (or even ourselves) act like dogs. As humans, though, we have some understanding that whatever our current situation is, it possibly could be better.
This is where the invitation comes in. It seems that dogs mostly react to the situations in their lives. We humans have the choice, most often, in how we act. We have options. An invitation to feel better and to do good. Life itself is an invitation. We can choose to be aware of a situation, including an unwanted one, and instead of focusing on what doesn't seem to be working for us we can focus on what is working for us. On what is good.
Just the simple habit of focusing on the good itself makes the situation better.
This isn't just theory. I've seen it play out in many, many cases. I've seen that when, though I am aware of the bad , I focus on the good, the situation itself becomes obviously better. There is positive change. Change that I (and sometimes others) can see. Things move toward the good that I desire.
Once we're in this practice, in the practice of finding and in-joying the good that is present (and there is always good present), then the good tends to take over. Expand. We find more good. There is more good.
At least, that's my experience. It is a way of life which makes sense to me. It is a way I can add. I find more good. Create and make more good.