Fear of Nothing
I’m vulnerable. A gust of wind could knock a tree over on top of me and my life would be over. A reckless driver could run over me on the road and take my life with them. As I write these words, my heart could stop any minute. These can incite fear.
These and many other things can happen to you. You’re vulnerable, just like me. And just like the people you love – your mother, your child and your friends. To make something perfectly clear, I’m not trying to scare you.
Recognizing that your life is not, and never has been, in your hands only makes us more aware; it’s just the truth.
What am I getting at with all of this? I’m telling you I have a feeling that we’ve lost conscience of what our existence really is. This isn’t important, but it’s consequences are – living a reality that doesn’t exist is an invitation to a poisoned meal.
We cross out days on the calendar, as if they were the little sticks that we used to draw and cross off during class when we got bored. We doze on the buses and subway cars, repeatedly and routinely opening and closing the front door, over and over, like a train going on it’s already-marked track.
We waste our time boasting, protecting ourselves, attacking people, and gossiping about them. In the department store of life, we behave like the rich woman who goes in and buys everything she wants, as if money and time were no object.
Set a balance. Put the things that make you happy on one side, and your responsibilities and obligations on another. If those two things are not balanced, you’re doing it wrong.
Not only do you not know how to do this as an individual, but we don’t know how to do it as a society. The average time that someone needs to spend on obligations and responsibilities in order to survive is huge.
We allow ourselves the luxury of telling children to study and prepare themselves so that they can work in whatever field they desire. How do we allow ourselves to lie in such a vile way? What’s to say that the jobs that modern society offers are even desirable to everyone? I’ll let you think about that one for a minute.
Another unfortunate consequence of lack of awareness of our own vulnerability is that we are oblivious to suffering. We believe that if we do things right, if we get on the right track following the enthroned virtues of hard work and sacrifice, everything will be fine.
So why should we help someone who has freely chosen not to follow this recipe for success? We deny misery because we think it is the consequence of the acts of those who suffer, and we think we will never be exposed.
Thus, the low perception of invulnerability and lack of similar events in our personal lives separates us, in our minds, from people who suffer.
Therefore, we only look up from the book we are reading, and we only recover our human nature when we realize that this barrier has been broken. For that to happen, it has to increasingly occur closer to, and always before reaching, our destination station.
Images courtesy of Annette Shaf