Advice · Buddhism · California · death · Experience · Health · human interest · inspiration · stress · Yoga

A Passionate Life Is A Life Worth Living. Is it?

This post is inspired by my recent decision to focus less on the development of the Pack Your Mat blog and social media and put more of my energy on a new yoga and meditation project my best friend and I are piloting this Fall in the country of Armenia, geared towards human rights defenders, LGBT and women’s rights activists, social workers, teachers and more. In short, anyone who is trying to make the country a more inclusive, safe and healthy place.

The project is called Stega: A Perfect Union.

To find out why we called it Stega, click here.

To watch our informational crowdfunding video, click here. 

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A passionate life is a life worth living.  This familiar saying is a variation of what Socrates is claimed to have uttered a few moments before being sentenced to death, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” 

One can take the absolute part of the statement “not worth living” out of context and claim it quite pessimistic and a bit dire. I don’t think he meant what most readers might interpret as, “why live then?” In fact, I will not attempt a full on philosophical essay. That said, I will only provide my interpretation to set the context for this post. Socrates is implying that if one follows their passion, then that life, filled with all the difficulties and challenges, is still one that is lived enjoyably.  Does that then imply that a life which is not filled with passion is NOT worth living? Absolutely not!

As human beings we have choices. Yes, we are sometimes bogged down by the financial burdens of Western capitalism or deeply-engrained ideologies which don’t let us move into the direction of truth. Deep down, we might have the illusion that we are lost and do not know (trust me, that is a familiar feeling). On the same token that illusion might be telling us that we do know, but we really don’t. How then do we ever know if we are following our “passion”?

Many of us carry on with our days at jobs that do not make us happy and relationships that do not serve us. Yet, we end up in a habit of fulfilling these roles we ought to or think we should be, without consideration to our well-being and joy. Why is it then important to move towards the direction of truth and purpose? The simple answer came from a conversation I had with a friend a week ago. He said:

We are all dying!

The minute we are born, we are all dying! In Buddhist philosophy, the uncertainty of death is accepted and not challenged. One comes to term with this fact. Fear and anxiety around it is removed. In most Western philosophies, we are disillusioned to believe that death is reserved be for the old or the “diseased.” In fact, in a flash, we might cease to exist. Yes, I know, we don’t like talking about this. But, it is true. Just because a certain family member or friend might have a terminal illness with a “new (undesired) lease on life” doesn’t really mean that they’re going to go before we are. None of us have a guarantee on the number of breaths or hours we have left. This is not meant to be negative or uncomfortable. In fact, it is meant to offer a new and positive perspective.  Why live a monotonous life which lacks passion, when each moment is so unpredictable as to inspire a passionate existence? Sure, we can view western statistics and tell ourselves that we are still meant for certain milestones and the average age of death is X. But, really, why wait? Why not make that change? Why not risk it all and follow your heart? I know it’s easier said than done.

So, then, you might be asking: How do I find my purpose?  Well, I don’t know.

But take a moment to recognize that all the things that you are doing now (even if you do not think serve you) are the variables which place you where you ought to be. Even if you have that office job that you despise, it is somehow giving you and putting you on some direction.  Finally, being open and flexible to all the things that come your way is a guarantee that you are moving in the right direction. Equally, being able to say no to some things which initially seem attractive may create a smoother path toward a passionate life. Finding purpose with the present moment even in the most mundane of things is ultimately going to give you the clarity you need to discover your passion. So, go for it! Start seeking your truth a tiny bit at a time, and make life more worthy of living.

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