Do you know someone who always seems to have something going wrong in their life? You know, like a country western song: my wife left me, my house burned down, my truck got stolen and my dog died.
Is it really that some people just have remarkably bad luck? Or do they just complain more? Or, is it possible that all those things really happen out of the person's sheer will to believe that life is *that hard* and their only retribution is to complain loudly?
I don't know... I was talking to my friend Indra tonight about the way life happens. We both believe that life is innately random and that it's self-centered and foolish to translate the events around you as pertaining to you; as being fair or unfair. Life just happens, all around you, often including you; but never *at* you. You really can't take it too personally.
This is not to say that nasty stuff doesn't happen because it does. It's just valuable to keep in mind that it's only nasty because you say so. You hate it, or love it, because it changes your life; so you assign it value.
That's another useful lesson: nothing means anything in and of itself outside of our evaluation of it -- and reality is only what we perceive through our senses and belief systems, each individually and therefore prone to conflicting reports. See? Philosophy 101. An easy but surprising poorly-attended class.
I was once in a group of people being told exactly this concept, which I was already pretty sold on and sat there nodding my head, "yes. Duh." Amazingly though, one person after another raised their hand to say "but... but... but..." trying to assert that reality is universal or that everything happens for a reason. Sure, it may give life meaning to say stuff happens for a reason; but to be fair, that's just one possible rationalization for certain events. Yeah, everything happens for a reason. The very simple but grammatically messy reason is, it happens because it didn't *not* happen. The end.
And don't you friggin' call me nihilistic! I'll tell you when I'm being nihilistic. I'm just being deeply empirical at the moment, as I am prone to being. Ladies and gentlemen: I am no dreamer. I am no (longer) idealistic. What I am is a realist, but an optimist: Life is what it is, and it's gonna be okay.
Letting go of concepts such as you're here for a reason, life is hard, or... I don't know, *any* preconceived notion of purpose or meaning, is not nihilism. Saying life and events have "no meaning" is not to say they are all for nothing or life is somehow "worthless." It is only to say that events have no intrinsic universal meaning, which means they have the freedom to be anything. Realizing that is the greatest, most freeing feeling. You are not confined by obligation or habit or opinion at all. You have all the choice in the world all the time but you probably think your choices are limited or already made for you. Thinking that is, um, just your decision, really.
Am I being boring now? Did I say something that seemed utterly ridiculous/obvious/pedantic/dumb? Ok, sorry. Well, let's see. Today I got a massage, and the room with the massage table where I got my yummy massage had a bunny in it. A real live bunny! Is that better? When I clicked my tongue at the bunny, he looked right at me and wiggled his nose, and stuck one ear forward while the other one flopped backwards. It was awfully cute.
Let's see, where was I. So, there's that bumper-sticker cliche that shit happens. It's true. And some people deal with their shit quite well, and others quite poorly. One friend came to me once with this entire slew of complaints; and I admit I was a bit on edge because she always has a bunch of complaints (I admit also that that is only my story of her, not necessarily fact)... so I asked her, "do you think you're the only person in the world with problems?" She looked at me, probably deeply hurt. It was surely very much not the right thing to say. But it's something that's valuable to get into perspective.
I've mentioned before my feeling that life is what you make of it, and like it or not every second that passes is your life. It doesn't exist in the future, you can't actually live it there. So you can take each moment and highlight the suckiness and point it out to everyone so they'll share your pain and tell you how right you are to be pissed off. Or you can deal with it as needed and go on. It's amazing how much of your enjoyment of life is in your attitude about stuff that happens in it.
I love the Black Knight, in the Monty Python film The Holy Grail, whose limbs have all been chopped off in a sword fight, and he yells after his opponent, "Come back here you coward! It's only a flesh wound!" Now that's what I call kickass. Not exactly realistic either; but ballsy.
I think everything that happens in my world is two-dimensional and in being so is capable of passing right through me. Only when it touches on my fears, or expectations, or disappointments, do I focus on the thing and freeze it in time, adding a third dimension to it. Only then does it cease to flow into the past where it belongs; and instead bounces off me like a rock, inflicting wounds.