Live a magical, inspired life. At 41 years old my life can be busy. I have a family with two young boys, a job and my past time is karate. What takes the most time and energy however are the boys. There are schedules to be kept, meals, bath times, activities, play, swim lessons, karate and so on. It is a routine that makes life become a bit of a blur.
Also at 41 years old we’re full of experiences and not much is new anymore. I rarely feel inspired and do not get very excited about anything. I think back to when I was young and the excitement the upcoming weekend would bring. I remember how I would daydream and how vivid my emotions were when listening to music, seeing a great movie or the excitement of an upcoming date. You’re always surrounded by your peers where the relationship landscape shifts, especially in dating. The future is wide open and full of possibilities and it is fun to daydream about all of these possibilities. We’re all in the same situation, protected by the guardrails of our parents and teachers and success can always be had later if one isn’t doing too well in school.
At 41 however, our lives have diverged dramatically and we should have succeeded by now. We compare ourselves to our old classmates and the divergence can cause some depression, especially when seen through the window of Facebook. We’re pretty much settled into our lives and not many big changes can be expected.
For me personally, I’m very happy with the decisions I’ve made and life in terms of success is pretty good. However, I want to feel the excitement of my youth again. So how to do it?
I’ve found that mixing up my music, watching some really great movies and trying to live an ‘inspired’ life do the trick but the uplifting feeling is short. So I thought about this for a while and realized that in this age of constant information, endless choices and infinite distraction I should just focus on a few things that make me feel young and generate that old uplifting feeling.
For me and my personality that means living a magical life: I should see the wonder, mystery and beauty in things such as the stars, scientific discoveries about the universe. I also return to things that excited me before with movies such as The Hobbit and LOTR, The Matrix and the show Game of Thrones. Some of these things rekindle passion about the real world: The Matrix inspires me to learn more about computers, Game of Thrones about Medieval European history and The Hobbit about taking those first few steps out of our homes to go explore the world and have an adventure. So in essence, it is the fantasy which inspire real world passion and are the path to an exciting life. I want this excitement in my life, otherwise it can become monotonous and I become a boring person.
So that covers my thoughts on how I think I should improve my life at 41 years old. However, my other realization about life seems to go in the opposite direction. In learning more about the universe and what we as human beings actually are, I’ve come to a conclusion that our bodies are just a form of bacteria which evolved on a rock out in space. One recent book I listened to while on my many recent plane rides is “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry,” by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Our universe mysteriously came into being, expanded and over billions of years formed and continues to expand. We as a human race have only been around for a second in all of that time yet for the most part we considered our home to be the center of it all and our bodies made in the direct image of a God which created it all. Then we learned we’re not in the center of the universe, that our bodies are very much comprised of bacteria and going the way we’re going with polluting our planet, the possibility of getting hit by a rock or ray from outer space and or destroying ourselves with nuclear war we might not be around for another second in cosmic time.
I think about how a much more advanced alien race would consider us. We think ourselves so smart but have only been around for such a very short time compared to the age of the universe. With the discovery and subsequent realization that here are billions of galaxies out there with stars and planets such as our own that are inconceivably older than ours these alien races must possess technology which our minds cannot even comprehend. And so it follows that they must consider us just a simple form of bacteria who have learned out to communicate with each other by simple, audible means. We consume other living things and excrete them through a hole at the end and we have four appendages which give us a form of movement and a way to grasp other things.
I tell you, looking at the human body as a form of bacteria really makes all of those beauty products seem rather absurd. We cover up our natural smell with chemicals called perfumes and colognes, women put paint on their faces and walk around in uncomfortable, ill-fitting shoes. Men spend hours at the gym which is so slight should seemingly all powerful aliens be looking at us as bacteria, that those bench presses are just a waste of time compared to their power.
Just as we look at bacteria through a microscope I imagine advanced races in this universe looking at us. Little bacteria moving around, making noise, forming religions, joining and reproducing, killing and then just die as inconsequentially as when they were born.
Yes, unfortunately this has become my thoughts on what we actually are as a human species. However, I do have one hope that allows us to transcend from being just a lowly form of bacteria and this is the mind. Yes, perhaps our consciousness is simply due to the billions of neuron connections in that lump of meat we call the brain, but I feel as though the universe has many more mysteries in store for us outside of what we can physically perceive. I think our five senses are only realizing half a percent of what is out there. We’ve spent most of our time in physical discovery which is real and concrete, but for that which cannot be perceived we’ve let the fairy tales of religion hold the reigns. Now I say fairy tales because most of those stories I’ve come to believe are simply made up; “plagiarism of a plagiarism, of a hearsay of a hearsay, of an illusion of an illusion,” as Christopher Hitchens says.
It has been my experience that religion focuses on these illusions and stories for the mainstream while keeping the mystical behind closed doors open only to very few or those who doggedly pursue them. Religion is man’s way of rationalizing the most important question of all, who we are and why we are here. In other words, it gives an answer to the question of what the hell is going on??
It would be much better to focus on the mystical aspects, of the mind and perhaps our abilities to transcend our consciousness out of this frail bacteria in both death and while we are alive? This is what attracts me to meditation, to the mystical aspects of Buddhism and to mindfulness.
Yes, it is my belief that there is a lot going on in the universe and perhaps beyond which we organisms with our simple brains cannot perceive and this my friends is awe-inspiring. And so I quit going to church and instead prefer to meditate, to focus my thoughts and thus try to perceive my life at a higher, clearer level. It is with my mind in focus that I can live a better life, be a better husband and father and find my mood much elevated. It is in these meditative states that I also wait for enlightenment, that lightning bolt of truth which gives the answer we are all searching for whether we realize it or not.
And so with that, it is time to meditate.