The thought of living until a ‘ripe old age’ may not be well-wishing. Statistically we are living longer, but are we overlooking quality of life? And more so, how is that quality, from a rational perspective, impacted by the choices we have already made today, or even yesterday. Can we remove ourselves from the past and start fresh with a ‘new lease’ on life? Can we stop the clock all together if we meditate enough?
A conversation I had recently leads me to think that what we have done in our lives, our behaviors, as unpredictable and non-determined as they are through their course, have the effect of determining our longevity more so than what we can do about them in the future or even the present. Perhaps I am being fatalistic just a little bit.
We refer to this in a number of ways inadvertently in common parlance: We oppose as self-guilt what we may have to spend a lifetime making up for, though we try to overcome this by living in the present and applying techniques such as mindfulness and other therapeutic encounters oblivious to the challenges of existence. There is enough to worry about here; are we merely settling, or are we trend-searching?
On the other hand we may take off down the path of reinvention by adhering to strict diets and exercise to stave off an early passing only to replace one form of self loathing with another or one form of compulsion with a new addiction. It is little wonder that stress is the number one risk factor for an early death and we are more likely addicted to stress culturally.
The conversation made me think of lack of foresight that most of us have. Most of us lack the attitude unconditionally of leveraging our lot in life. We rail at the one per cent, and we are slowly being dragged to a stop by alternative philosophies and pseudo-science that coincides with our defensiveness and inability to handle the guilt and shame we were taught since we were young. Get over it! When did we break out into collective catatonia?
I am waiting for the return journey from my incredulity here. It will come, I’m sure, when I have more time to think (and feel ashamed); balance in the world will be restored but I have to accept the idea that we are still trying to realize the perfect in our imperfection. Maybe evidence of a truer picture will come my way, but there’s one thing that I hope I will still believe, and that is that we are walking contradictions; this time around. It seems I need a little more meditation.