Dears friends and fellow living beings,
For months now (actually years, but who is counting?) I have been struggling with the question, What is life? and I seem to be no closer to the answer now than when I first started my search. My work has not all been in vain, I hope, but most everything I have written lately has not been worth publishing. I have page upon page of notes and ideas, all of which seem to end in the virtual wastebasket. But, and I hope you agree with me, there seems to be more to life than just biological processes. Biology is all well and good, but how many of you out there believe without qsuestion that life has no purpose? I know that every fibre of my being cries out for life to have purpose. Why else would we put up with the seeming vagaries of life as to where we were born, what race we were born into, what sex, what gender, rich or poor, theist or atheist, etc ad infinitum? Why else should we bother to live?
It is my firm belief life has purpose, and since we have purpose, there is more to life than biology. I might be wrong, I don’t know. Why else am I struggling with my above question? Jim, the common atheist, is examining the biology of life on his Word Press blog. Does he believe in only biological life? I don’t want to ask him, it could screw up his questioning. Sha’Tara, ~the burning woman~, is also writing about life, from a more metaphysical viewpoint, I guess one might call it, although I am not sure how proper that would be. Aishwariya Ramachandran has been worrying about “how we make sense of the world,” amongst other things. I am sure there are many others throughout the world and on the internet who are asking something quite similar, looking for an answer even as am I. In fact, probably since the first being to realize he, she, it could think, this question has been plaguing almost all living beings. And I am, I am sure, a living being.
My original question, back in the 1960s, was: Who am I? In the intervening years I think I have given myself an answer I can live with. I am a living being, capable of knowing what I want to accomplish in this life, and hopefully with the skills to do that. I run my own life, as much as anyone can. I make my choices based on how I want to live, not on how others want me to live, unless I willfully give them the power to make my choices with me, or for me. I am whoever I want myself to be. And I do what I want to do. AS LONG AS I DO NOT INTENTIONALLY HURT OR OTHERWISE INJURE another living being.
But on top of all that, I want to discover what my life’s purpose is, and what life really is (I believe the two go hand-in-hand). Actually, I must confess: I am lying. I already know what I “believe to be my purpose.” And I also already know what I “believe life is.” But on both counts, what I believe is not believable to most others, so I have mostly stopped telling people, unless they show true interest. Many people say they want to know what life is all about, but knowing is meaningless unless a person is willing to commit themselves to act in a purposeful manner. And if you believe that…
I guess what I am really looking for now is proof that I am right. The trouble with that is, besides the English language that doesn’t really have the definitive words available, that kind of truth is not available here on earth, or anywhere in the physical universe. So Catch 22,222,222: To truly know life, one has to first know death.
Question: Do you believe in reincarnation? This was one of the questions I had to deal with once I escaped from my christian upbringing? But my very first answer took me back to the possibility of heaven. How so? As a child I was surrounded by sinners, even though they said they believed in god. Given I was only looking at the ten commandments, but 0Monday through Saturday adults spent sinning, and on Sundays they pretended to be so pious. Worst of all, most of them believed they would be ascending to heaven after their deaths. None of this, obviously, made any sense to the child I was. So I tried my damnedest to be free of sin. But the older I got, the harder it was to not sin. Possibly, left to my own devices (like if I had had no friends at all) I may not have sinned, so ingrained was the knowledge sinning led not to heaven, but to hell. This was a horrible belief to lay on a gullible little kid. But I had friends, and to keep them I had to sin, everyone was doing it one way or another. It was also about this time I learned that if I told my parents the truth about something, I got backhanded across the face; but if I lied, it was my parents who were the gullible ones, they believed the stories I was telling them. Okay, so I was a liar and a sinner, no way I was going to heaven. But what if: maybe we had more lives to live, practice lives, so we could learn how to get things right? So I made up my own little story for myself: This life was just a practice life.
Imagine my relief when I started looking into buddhism–all lives were practice lives of sorts, called reincarnations, and once you got it all right you achieved nirvana, whatever that was. Sounded kind of like heaven to me. Ànd despite my movement away from christianity, I momentarily returned to a belief in god.
The god belief has now gone forever, but reincarnation still fits me like a rubber glove. IMO, no one can learn everything there is to learn about life in one go-round. Nobody! But given enough incarnations, everyone can learn everything needed to become a perfect being! Only, evolution shows we are all descendants of 4 billion years-ago one-celled beings. With enough incarnations, through enough different species of living beings, we can start as absolute know-nothings, and progress into know-somethings. This is the true meaning of reincarnation, IMO.
And once you know something, you can go on to different planes of existence to know more. And this is where I shall end this post.
‘Nuff said. For now…