I have spent most of my life convinced that I am somehow inadequate as a human. This is not a particularly unusual belief because the message that Homo sapiens are flawed is everywhere. The world is also full of experts who claim to be able to fix us and make us happy. Maybe this explains why mental illness is skyrocketing, and why so many of us waste our time trying to find something that will take us to nirvana (or at least help us feel slightly less flawed). It is this notion that we are broken and in need of fixing that is the real reason for why so many of us end up feeling miserable and frustrated.
I would class myself as a spiritual person, but I don’t prescribe to any particular creed or religion. I have great respect for the eastern philosophies. Even my youthful rebellion against Christianity has settled down to something far less confrontational. I can now accept that this system too has a great deal to offer us humans. The remaining problem that I have with all these different creeds is that they either view humans or reality as somehow lacking. We are left with the choice of following a path where we ascribe to a certain worldview in order to be saved or we try to deny life in the hope of something more satisfying.
What if there is actually nothing wrong with reality and we already have all we need to be happy? Perhaps the problem is not that we are broken, but that we perceive ourselves that way. It could even be that the universe is exactly as it should be, and that the only reason for why we think otherwise is that we are unable to see the big picture. I’m not sure who first said this (there seems to be a bit of debate) but my favorite quote is:
“Life is a mystery to be lived and not a problem to be solved”
The Key to Happiness is Acceptance
In a post yesterday I mentioned my belief that life is a series of lessons, and that things happen to us for a reason. This may sound contradictory to my claim today that we are not broken and so do not need fixing, but I do not see this as the case. In order to effectively overcome the obstacles in our path we need to fully accept who we are and make the most of what we have. Our progression as humans does not mean that we are becoming more worthy because we were always worthy. This means that we do not need to fix ourselves but only to extend our capabilities.
It may be that the act of trying hard to fix ourselves (or the world) will only lead us to further misery. The problem is that we expect that this journey of self improvement will mean that we become some type of saintly being or that we will experience an improved version of reality. This puts us on a collision course for disillusionment and frustration because when we fail to overcome what we perceive as our human limitations it just further emphasizes the idea that we are unworthy and wrong. It also means that when we continue to experience the ups and downs of life we feel that it is our unworthiness that is the problem.
Life is what it is, and we are what we are. All we are expected to do is to get out of bed each day ready to face the challenges that come our way. If we do this we are already doing enough. The program for progressing as a human is already built into reality, and there is really no need for anything more than this. It could be that all these self help programs and spiritual gurus are surplus to requirement. This is not to say that they are bad or useless. It just means that they are unnecessary for making us acceptable as humans because we were that way to begin with.