3 Simple Truths of Life
We can be so addicted to thinking about the future that when the future is finally present, we will be absent — because we will already be thinking about what comes next. Why dream our lives away? Why suffer over what was but no longer is? How can we stop living in our fantasies of the future or in our memories of the past and start living in the now?” – Rabbi David Aaron
I had an epiphany over the past few months that there are three simple truths of life.
There are probably many more than three, but I like the simplicity and power of three.
When I live by these three simple truths, life is usually good, happy and fulfilling.
It struck me how often I don’t live by them, and how much I live at effect. I settle for living life on terms other than my own. I wonder how many other people live the same way? A lot, if the people I know are a fair sample of the population.
When I ask them why, many of them say it’s a money thing. They claim that living life on their own terms can only happen AFTER they have enough money to do it. It got me to do some deeper thinking on the subject.
If I have to wait until I have enough money to live life on my terms, I could be waiting forever. How much money is enough money before I can say, “Now, I can live life on my terms?”
What’s money got to do with it?
You might say, “Get real, Mitch. I’ve got to earn a living and I don’t always get to do things on my terms. Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries. It’s more like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.”
I see your point! Let me suggest another way of looking at this.
My son Adam is going through this as he approaches his 16th birthday. He’s too young to drive, but his friends are driving, so he wants the same privileges of his 17-year old friends. He needs his mom and me to take him places, or get permission from us to go with his friends.
He’s frustrated because he can’t live life completely on his own terms. He wants to be independent, but he’s dependent at least for another year. I explain to him that it’s good we do things with other people because it’s part of the give and take of life. In the NEW Game, we’re inter-connected and interdependent.
Living life on your own terms has little to do with what you’re doing or where you’re going.
It has everything to do with who you’re BEING!
How much money do you need to be happy, grateful, kind, compassionate and supportive of others? There are many people with plenty of money who aren’t any of those things.
Being is a different dimension of life than doing or going. Being is more important and valuable than doing and going combined.
In our success obsessed world, we are diminishing the value of being and elevating the values of doing and going. We have an affliction I call…
We put replaceable value (what we do) ahead of the infinite and irreplaceably valuable (who we are).
Values inversion is a cultural affliction approaching epidemic proportion.
Money is a symptom, not a cause. The cause is behind and beneath the money.
Cause is living out of alignment with three simple truths of life:
1 – At the intrinsic level I am perfect the way I am and there’s nothing to fix. The old saying rings true in this NEW Game: “God don’t make no junk!”
Improving skills, deepening knowledge, advancing in business and gaining wisdom are desirable, but not necessary to be valid. I can choose to do more, have more or go more, but there is nothing I can choose to “be” more. Essentially, I am all I am.
“There’s nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.” Lennon & McCartney
2- I can enjoy life the way it is NOW, and live life on my terms however much money I may have at the moment. Sacrifice, compromise and suffering are optional, not mandatory.
3- When I forget or lose my way, I go back to # 1 and #2!
For years I was drifting out of alignment, chasing, feeling the need to do more and go more to be worth more. I’ve reversed the trend. I’m making nice progress on number 1 and 2 above. I’m doing my best to be mindful and aware to stay aligned with and live from these simple truths.
I’m excited and passionate about living life on my terms, however much money I have or don’t have. That means making choices with a different order of value:
Life… Livelihood… Living!
In the new game, we put life first. After getting swallowed up in the narcissistic chase for money, power and material things during the 1980’s and 1990’s, it took the worst national tragedy in American history to bring us back to center. Our world changed dramatically on 9/11. We put family first, and placed the highest value and importance on loved ones.
And yet, here we are three years later more divided as a country and polarized then ever. There’s a palpable anger, too little civil conversation and almost no public debate. We are scared witless that some fanatic will get his hands on a weapon and turn Manhattan uninhabitable for generations.
How did we get here?
It seems we made choices guided by lower rather than higher values. We placed lesser value possessions above the highest value, humans. We put ideology, beliefs, power, money and material things ahead of our well being, environment and our children’s future.
This mad dash to win, to have more and to get more goes against nature’s hierarchy of value and creates serious misalignment in the world. Many people preach but don’t practice what their God tells them, which is to place…
Compassion over ideology, empathy before righteousness, humanity above vanity!
When we place ideology, righteousness and vanity above humanity, we invert the natural order of value in the universe. When I seek more for myself at the expense of another, I don’t get richer. I impoverish the world and diminish myself.
When I create more pie for everyone, I enrich the world and enlighten myself. I enjoy a healthy state of being. It’s health promoting to be good to yourself for who you are. Rather than punish yourself for what you haven’t done, celebrate how well you’re already doing. It’s unhealthy to be critical of yourself for who you have not yet become.
If you think you need to become more to validate yourself, you are part of the “I need to become more to be worthwhile” club. I’m a member of this very big club.
In truth there is nothing more to be. You can BE happy right now, no matter your circumstances. Like all states of being, happy doesn’t require anything more. You have everything you need to be happy, fulfilled, and loving.
They have nothing to do with what you’re doing or where you’re going. They have everything to do with how you’re being.
Today, simply BE happy. Even if it’s for five minutes. Tomorrow, be happy for 10 minutes. Every day, be happy for a bigger part of the day. Be grateful for who you are, for being alive at a defining time of history.
BE good to others because they deserve it too. Remind them it’s OK to be happy and fulfilled, no matter what they do, where they go, or how much they have.
Bonus Truth #4:
Goodness is a higher value than righteousness. Being good is being compassionate and empathetic. Each is more important than being righteous.
Put goodness ahead of righteousness.
Live by these three simple truths.
1 – At the intrinsic level I am perfect the way I am and there’s nothing to fix.
2- I can enjoy life the way it is NOW, and live life on my terms however much money I may have at the moment.
3- When I forget or lose my way, I go back to # 1 and #2!
Enjoy today. It’s all you’ve got.
MitchTopics: Spirituality, Thinking, Values