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Friday, November 8, 2013

32 Years as an Earthling

 Back in 1981, a baby boy was born like many others at about noon, November 8. There was nothing particularly special or auspicious about this boy. This isn’t the story of the coming of a man who will change the world. Yet, he is the important person in my life. That baby, after all, was me.

An Auspicious Birth? I think not….This week has been a very  hard one  as I was admitted to hospital and had to stay there for over a week - only to be discharged last Monday or was it Tuesday? True, I'm very glad that I am back home - even if now I am down with the flu!

 However, being at hospital reminded me of the place I was born and where I’ll probably end this life - my "end". Yes, it’s not a very pleasant thing to reflect about death when you’re close to mark another year of life (so far). On the other hand, being in hospital having witnessed, once more, the last moments of a dying man, does force one to seriously question one's priorities and wonder whether you're doing all you  are contributing to a better society as you had aspired in your earlier youth. 

In addition makes one appreciate more the many known and unknown people whom, in  a way, saved you and made it possible for you to carry on for another year. In this, there’s an almost endless list of people that I would have to thank for making my life possible, including those who set up against me and who have challenged me to know better who I am and learn of my weaknesses which I have many.

I am experiencing high fever right now and I’m afraid that I won’t be able to write for longer. However, my experience at hospital - one of many others - has reminded me that, in spite of what modern society tells us, we remain beings who are dependent on each other. While we choose to avoid thinking about our future mortality and hide the dying, wherever possible, away in the corridors of a hospital, we know deep down within us that that person we reject may be us one day.

We may believe in an afterlife fervently but no one else knows. I wonder myself and have, rightly or wrongly, decided to live my life in the present and not speculating too much about whether there is an afterlife or not. I believe that it’s only in the present that I can provide a useful contribution to the welfare of humanity. Buddhism has taught me that lesson - that true happiness can only be gained by being compassionate to those around me - whoever they happen to be. After all, there will be a moment in time when all I have been given, including my very life, will be snatched from me in an instant. 

It forces you to focus on what you are doing in life to improve, your lot and the life of those around you that you can realistically touch and perhaps assist in our common journey. More importantly, it makes you aware that, while you may need to speak out injustice and needless cruelty against others, you remain responsible for your life and actions. You are  the master of your happiness or can be if you don't  spend your life as a passive, almost intoxicated, person. Drugged by the things other tell you are good or bad.  

I admit I may find times when I wish that parts of my life turned out better than it has. Like any other, I do fantasise about a future I wish to live. Right now, I can only think of regaining my health and  regaining a normal body temperature. Yet, I had - one day - much more ambitious dreams than that. 

I realise that while these may be worthy dreams to pursue, they too have their time and place and, like anything else, are subject to the same law of impermanence and entropy that rules the cosmos. 

 

One may feel despair at this statement. However, this is the way the universe works. Yes, I have lived for a 32 years but that doesn’t mean it will last another 23.

I am grateful for having lived another year. I appreciate the contribution of all those who have sustained me and helped me in surviving despite the times I was close to the end.

 

Thanks from deep within.

 

> Read what I wrote last year (2012