Can life surprise me?
Commentary by José Parés Pérez, Concepción, Chile.
For some years now life has no longer surprised me. Up until then I had lived by acting as well as I could in the face of what life brought. And what life brought me was what our culture expects us to deal with: studying, getting married, having and bringing up children, showing that I had a comfortable life, attracting attention for how well I was doing what I did and retiring to rest and die. I do not know whether this way of life was an unusual case, but I have the impression that many of us often live life that way: we wait for what life brings us to occur and we react depending on the pleasure or displeasure that it produces in us. In this way I accumulate events without accumulating experiences. This means letting life pass, enjoying the pleasure and rejecting the pain, living with guilt about the mistakes we make and fear about what may come. The energy we invest in life is just enough to achieve what our culture demands of us; we use all the rest of our time and energy to distract ourselves when guilt and fear overwhelm us. I always believed that I would be able to work to a very advanced age, but it did not turn out that way. Overwork is a huge distraction in life. I did not achieve a balance in the struggle between the energy I devoted to my work and that which was consumed by a sensation of inner emptiness caused by a lack of a direction in relation to the pain that the majority of living beings experience in their lives today. I found it meaningless to live without taking this pain into account, particularly that of innocent people. In some way, this real pain that is experienced by most of us, needed to be included in the allocation of my time and energy. To give meaning to my life.
This decision led me to reading, studying and learning about beliefs, philosophies and paths that would lead me to an inner peace that would eliminate the apathy of taking life as it came and accepting the consequences.
There was no instant comprehension that the problem is individual and that I did not need to seek anything because I already am what I wanted to achieve. I am the one who allows myself to be surprised by life.
I decided to be present in my life and learnt that what happened to me, if I did not deal with it appropriately, would be for me to have a non-life: not just in terms of fear and suffering but also in living outside myself.
If you know yourself, life does not surprise you. Your reactions are coherent, harmonious and peaceful. These circumstances in life are the only ones that allow love to emerge, for you and for all of those with whom we share this wonderful life.
In the last few years I had a reaction as a result of not having been prepared for a surprise that life brought me and I went through a very bad patch. Seen today the situation makes me wonder how it could possibly have happened.
It did happen and maybe it could happen again because I am no wiser today than I was yesterday. It was not about knowledge; it was about a lack of attention to what was happening to me. I was distracted. Life is always new and we must live it from moment to moment. The vital attitude is to always be present in our lives. Love of myself brings to me to it, to an attentive life.