Making Decisions

Lately I’ve been struggling with making decisions in my life. I’ve referenced it many times before but Sylvia Plath put it well in about a fig tree. She wrote that she saw different possibilities reaching out in all directions. Sylvia sat at the foot of this tree and couldn’t decide which possibility to choose. Instead of enjoying one fig, she watched as they rotten into nothing.

Some days I really relate to this. There’s too many choices and to have one choice means that I cannot have the other. It’s poison to make a decision when you have to sacrifice other options. I want a car but I don’t want a car. There is no right answer. If I buy one, then I will be less able to save money. By not owning a car, I can’t go out on the weekends by myself. I’m stuck between two equally opposing options.

I mean, there are many other decisions I have to make in my life but that’s an easy one to explain. They’re silly and stupid first world issues but it seems like they occupy a lot of thought and create a lot of suffering. If I bought a car, I would suffer because I chose to buy a car. If I continue to live without one, I suffer because I’m stuck in my room. Either way, suffering.

To be honest, I don’t know if there is a solution. I am grateful for the life I have with or without a vehicle. Yet it still is in the forefront of my mind. How do you make peace with your decisions in life?

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1 Year

This past year has been a roller-coaster of emotions and experiences. I’ve been in the deepest pits and on top of the world. I’ve found myself unable to function for days while others I’ve motivated myself beyond belief. A couple of weeks ago I wrote this down:

The truth in the game is that you are not able to be mentally repressed by anyone other than yourself. As long as you think that you’re trapped, you will be. Drop your own chains and set your gun down. You were never at war with anyone but yourself.

There are times when you will be driving and a cliff will appear out of nowhere. You’ll find yourself falling into a dark pit. In these moments, you can be your own worst enemy. You can fight a war against yourself and that’s hardest battle a person can face. There’s no reason for that sort of bloodshed.

This past year has been filled with those mysterious cliffs and I’ve found myself falling more times than I’d like to count. I’ve also discovered that I tend to be the one who drags myself down. I could be standing in 1 inch of water, but I will still find a way to drown. And, by god, if anyone told me to stand up I’d push my face further into the water.

It took a year of suffering and half a year of blogging to realize this: you may find yourself in horrible circumstances but you will always come back up. You will heal and life will go on. Depression is a very real thing but you will move past it.

Nobody could have helped me last September. After all, I was in the deepest pit of my life. I couldn’t find anyone who understood my situation. I was torn between desperately wanting consolation and wanting everyone around me to shut up. More than anything I felt alone.

I think that we isolate ourselves because we think we suffer alone. We think that our struggles are unique or that others will shame us. We don’t want others to see us as weak.

The truth is, you’re never alone. We all suffer, and while I may not fully understand your situation, I’m here for you. You may experience horrible things in your life but you will move past them. You will heal and you will feel better one day. If there’s only one thing I’ve learned in this past year, it’s that we all have an unimaginable capacity to heal.

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To live is to suffer

It’s odd how when we suffer, we can gain a lot of insight into our lives. It’s not until everything goes wrong that we see what was going right before. When our car finally breaks down, we notice how well it was running before. We hate our job but we find that we don’t have any other job we like better.

To suffer is a condition of life. We must constantly tear down and rebuild everything around us. If we don’t tear it down, the walls will crumble anyways. The impermanence of everything assures that. By accepting life as a struggle it ceases to be one.

I wrote last night about a lot of the struggles I was going through. My car broke down, my jaw kept me up all night, and a lot more things were at the forefront of my mind. However, I was unconditionally accepting of it all and let it pass by. I accepted the suffering as part of life’s way of challenging me as a person.

When we stagnate, we become ignorant. When we stop all struggling and suffering, we neglect change. We become ignorant of the things around us. By suffering, we embed compassion and understanding in everyone.

This does not mean that to suffer is good. Rather, suffering is part of life and as much as we wish for only growth, we also have to take a few steps back sometimes. To suffer and to mentally reject it, we fall into another self-defeating track. We must realize that although we will suffer through our lives, we will also have great joys and great losses.

To have is also to lose. To have loved is also to have lost. In great happiness, there is also great sadness. As Osho describes, it is like a great tree; happiness grows towards the sky and branches out, while the sadness buries itself into the ground to form roots. The greater the happiness, the greater the sadness. In everything is its opposite.

Once we realize that life will inexplicably move on, we can accept life as it is and the suffering is not as bad. We can help others who suffer and enjoy life in a different way.

Remember, when you’re going through a tough time, it may become worse but it will definitely become better. Life challenges you and sometimes you will feel like you’re peddling backwards, you’ll feel like everything is wrong, but I assure you, your life is moving forwards. When you struggle, you learn how not to struggle, then you struggle with something else (ad infinitum). See the process as part of life and you will relieve a lot of stress.

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Striking Balance

And in the end, all the suffering we inflict will be equivalent to the suffering we incur.

With running the risk of sounding like a preacher, I think that everything evens out in the end. All the pain and discomfort we strike on one another, shall be the same amount as the suffering we experience. It is as if you are striking yourself when you strike another.

On the other side, all the good you bring into this world shall also be returned. Every kindness you bring about for a stranger, shall be brought onto you.

So then I pose this question; are you birthing kindness to all those around you or are you bringing suffering into this world?

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