“We live in illusion. In the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That is all.”
— Kalu Rinpoche
Look around you.
What do you see? Your computer screen, the wall, the light coming into the room from the window. Outside, there’s a typical black road with some parked cars, your neighbors’ homes, all lined up in two straight parallel lines, gliding down into an intersection.
Airplanes, packed with people, jetting off into the clouds. Traveling on a work mission, or on a holiday, perhaps. Going to a wedding, to a funeral, somewhere for a loved one, far, far away from here. Maybe they’re going on an adventure… Or, someone on that plane is really a spy from another country. What do they all see, when they look down at my little window? What do they imagine, if they think of me?
There’s war in the Middle East. There’s war on the market, there’s war right here, between friends in your hometown. But you can’t see the emotions being flung left and right, the glances passed between the hallways at work, at or school. You have no idea that in a week, your friend might be gone. Or your coworker. Or yourself. That one of your hearts are going to stop beating without notice.
You can’t see me sitting here, trying to explain all the thoughts in my head, not making a lick of sense, yet you’re still reading. It’s as if I don’t exist. If I stopped commenting from this point on, you’d have no idea what could’ve happened to me. I could literally disappear from your consciousness, as if I’d never been present. As if I never existed.
You could die right now, of a heart attack. You could get kidnapped tomorrow. You could get caught up in something terrible, or wonderful, you just don’t know. Every day, a million atrocities are being carried out, a million miracles are being performed—yet you sit here before a computer screen, completely normal, completely unchanged, completely stagnant in your own personal bubble.
Why aren’t you afraid, that slaughter is abundant in the real world? Why aren’t you running down that road, screaming for your neighbors to come together, come to help? We all have the power, the choice, to change things, if we choose to work together. Yet we act as if our routines are unshakable, that how we are today is how we are going to be tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.
We believe it, and so it is true.
Life is on repeat. We wake up. Go to school. Stress. Come home. Eat. Homework. Fun. Sports. Eat. Go to sleep. Wake up. Repeat.
Summer. Then school.
Then, college—fun, friends, jobs, and responsibilities. More stress, more love, more hurt. Happiness, and work.
Then, family. Marriage. Travel. Home. Watch our children continue the repeat.
Death rolls around, sooner or later.
It is said that we should live each day as if it is our last. I have always considered that piece of wisdom, but have never acted upon it.
Life is an illusion. What you think is happiness, or perfection, or equality, is going to be quite different from everyone else’s definition. We, human beings, have literally invented the words ‘love’ and ‘life.’ We bring meaning to words, to actions, to ideas that essentially have no meaning. Nothing is evil. Nothing is immoral, nothing is sad. Nothing is happy.
It is we who make happiness and sadness. It is we who create violence and compassion, universal laws, and logic. We, human beings, have created everything.
If I had never come onto the Web, you never would have known of my existence. But since you choose to acknowledge it, I am present. If humanity had never discovered the atom, we would not have been able to acknowledge it. It simply wouldn’t exist.
We witness so many conflicts and issues through the news, through books, even through sharing experiences over an online forum, and wonder why we can’t do something more to help. To change it. To reverse this ‘evil,’ ‘sadness,’ ‘hardship.’
But we can.
Who says we can’t? Who says that we, the ordinary beings of the planet Earth (of which we’ve named ourselves), can’t make a change? We complicate our subjective existence by making laws and regulations, rituals, definitions, asking questions that can never be answered.
In reality, we are only a flash in time. But at the same time, we have created…everything…out of nothing.
Look at all we’ve accomplished…
And all we’ve destroyed…
…because of the choices we’ve made.