I’m a hopeless romantic; I love walks on the beach, the beauty of a sunset, and the adventures of life. But as a young man I wan inconsolably heartbroken whenever a girl broke up with me (which was often). I would be so depressed and cry and just be in a terrible state of suffering. I was a tragic poet writing about the pains and torment of love.
But then one day after one of my breakups I had an epiphany, an enlightenment, an awakening. I realized that I would always have problems in my life no matter what. There’s no escaping problems and obstacles in life—they are an inherent part of life.
So I realized if I was always going to have problems I might as well enjoy them. I might as well welcome obstacles into my life. I challenged life to give me more problems. “Life,” I said, “give me more!” “Life, give me more!”
That became my motto, my rallying cry whenever I was feeling beaten up by life and problems. “Life, give me more!” I would sometimes scream in anger and tears. I knew that I could handle anything that life threw my way; any problem, any obstacle, any heartache.
Not only could I handle any problem, but I could do it with happiness and confidence. Isn’t that what life is all about, being happy? Who wants to go through life miserable and unhappy? Apparently lots of us because that’s how we live our lives!
We say that we’ll be happy when we get that perfect job, or when we meet Mr. or Ms. Right, or when we have X amount of dollars—It’s always something in the future that will make us happy, it’s not about being happy right now. Why not be happy now?
Being happy now made sense to me. I call it living a coherent life. Coherent means to make sense of be logical. Isn’t it logical to be happy now, in the present? The present is all that we have—the past is gone and the future never arrives, it’s always in the future. But we have right now and right now we can be happy if we choose to be.
“No, I can’t be happy now because I have problems. My wife and kids hate me, my job is a dead end, and I can’t afford a vacation.” We have learned a different set of logic rules—if something bad happens you have to be unhappy. If you have problems you have to be depressed. You can’t be happy if you have problems—what will people think?! They’ll think you’re crazy!!
But it’s your life and your choice to be happy, sad, or whatever. I choose to be happy whenever I can and I try to help others to learn how to do the same. I want everybody to be able to face problems and obstacles head on and say, “Life, give me more!” I want people to be happy every day of their lives. I want you to be happy now!
Doesn’t that make sense?
“The uniqueness and singleness which distinguishes each individual and gives a meaning to his existence has a bearing on creative work as much as it does on human love.” Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning.
It is strange and ironic that I have not encountered Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning until this (late) period in my life since it is the search for meaning I have struggled with so mightily throughout my life.
I struggled in high school because I could not see the meaning in the algebra, English, history, biology, and assorted other classes that I was forced to take. At that time I worked in a nursing home and saw the discarded old whose prime and usefulness had seemed to have passed. I could not see the meaning in their lives as they wound down often in dementia, loneliness, and despair.
Also at this same time I saw my father’s despair as he came home each day from work tired and worn, a little bit more taken out of him, a little less life to give. What meaning was there for his life? Was it my fate to live the same meaningless life? (A few years later he seemed to find relief in the cancer that would mercifully end his life.)
After graduating from high school I began an adventure to find such meaning in my life. I hitchhiked and traveled to far off places such as Hawaii and Mexico in search of meaning. Later in work and college I searched for a meaning for my life—at times finding such meaning and at other times losing it.
My inability to firmly grasp and retain the meaning of my life was dependent on my desires for love and money, on my insecurities and psychosis, and on a world that does not reward the nebulous and intangible. “Make a living” not “Make meaning” is the motto of our society.
Frankl writes about two men who had given up on life in the Nazi concentration camp and talked of committing suicide. Both men gave the typical argument that they had nothing left to expect from life. But Frankl turned the question of expectation on its head and asking the men what life expected from them. It turned out that each man had something that life expected of them—one had a daughter living in the United States who was waiting for him and the other man begun a series of books that needed to be finished.
“His work could not be done by anyone else, any more than another person could ever take the place of the father in his child’s affections.”
Each of us has a unique and singular mission, a meaning that life expects of us. Life has presented you with a set of circumstances, obstacles, and experiences that make you the unique person that you are. Even closely knit twins have unique experiences which distinguish them from each other. Why did life give you the life it gave you? What is life expecting from you?
My own life has given me the unique perspective that I call “The Coherent Life” consisting of the six values of Confidence, Happiness, Love, Peace, Passion, and Abundance. My purpose, the meaning that life expects of me is to share this philosophy with you. My hope is that you will find meaning in your life through my writings.
Right now you might be hurting financially. You may be fighting with your spouse about money problems, how you can’t afford “unnecessary” things. Maybe you hope and pray to hit it rich somehow in some way—just like those recent Powerball winners.
When we think of the word “rich” we tend to think of money. With terms like “millionaire” and “billionaire” we automatically think that they have a million or billion dollars even though they are not called “milliondollarsaire” or “billiondollarsaire.”
Even with the term “well off” we think of people who have lots of money. But we can also be spiritually well off. By practicing meditation, mindfulness, and concentrating on the Six Value Suns of the Coherent Life, we can add to our spiritual bank account. Each act of enlightenment is a deposit into our spiritual bank account.
We withdraw from this spiritual bank account when we encounter stress that brings us down or when we don’t maintain our spiritual practices. We can’t just make a deposit into our spiritual account and expect it to be there at some far off future date. Every day we are making withdrawals as we deal with life’s stresses, other people, and problems that arise. Life is like inflation, it devalues our spiritual wealth.
The only way to become spiritually rich is to be proactive and practice those things that will bring you closer to the God that you are a part of. The Six Values of the Coherent Life: Confidence, Happiness, Love, Peace, Passion, and Abundance are the cornerstones of a spiritually wealthy life. Practice using the Value Suns to add these values to your life so that you can live a rich life.
Has this ever happened to you? You’re in your home at night and a fuse blows so you go to get the flashlight but the battery is dead and you don’t have any extra batteries in the house.
Or maybe your TV remote is broken and the number 2 doesn’t work so you have to press 30 and then go back a few channels to get to channel 27. Or maybe it’s channel 227 you want to watch then you have to go to channel 199 and go forward lots of channels.
Maybe you have a gate latch that’s doesn’t quite work right so you have to fiddle with it every time you close it to make sure it’s securely locked or else the dog will get out (again).
Don’t you have enough stress in your life what with work, traffic, kids, relationships, etc., etc.? Get rid of those easily fixed little stresses so that you can find that much more peace in your life. Buy extra batteries to have on hand. Buy a new remote for the TV. Fix that gate latch once and for all.
By taking care of these little stresses you won’t be thinking “there’s another thing wrong with my life.” Take care of the small things so that you can escape the big stresses in your life instead of adding to them. These are easy fixes to finding more peace in your stressful life.
It’s been a few months since I last blogged. There are many reasons (and excuses) but the important thing is that I’m back writing.
Twenty years ago I was in Amway – I know, run away! Say what you will about Amway and MLM (Multi-level marketing) but my upline leadership instilled in me some very valuable lessons and habits. One was not to make excuses. Whenever someone would complain that they didn’t have time, or were tired, or their favorite TV show was on, or whatever the excuse, one of my leaders, Scott Harimoto, would say, “Any excuse will do.” That means no matter what your excuse is for not doing something, no matter how good the excuse is, it’s still an excuse.
Sometimes we disguise our excuses by calling them “reasons.” You might say that reasons and excuses aren’t the same because reasons are, well, more reasonable. We think of excuses as cop-outs, as explanations for why we didn’t feel like or were too lazy to do. But reasons, well reasons are GOOD excuses. We wanted to do that something, but something, or someone, or life in general got in the way. We had a car accident, we had to work late, the alarm clock didn’t go off. Reasons, we believe, are things that are out of our control.
But those familiar with my blog and the Coherent Life know that I believe that nothing is out of our control. My concept of “God” is the all-encompassing energy and power that is inherent in all things, living and insentient. God is not a separate entity from ourselves but rather we are an integral part of God. God is not some old man controlling our lives, but we are God, actively controlling our own destinies.
So stop making excuses (or even good reasons). Know that you are the one in control. If things are going the way that you want, then look within yourself for the reasons why. Is there something inside yourself that you need to change? Maybe God, that bigger entity that we are a tiny part of, is telling us that what we want isn’t what we need.