Just kidding. Perhaps that was click bait.
I’ve spent years searching for the answers: Who am I? Why am I here? What am I doing? How can I maximize this life? Will my life finally be complete when I buy a jet ski?
Does this sound familiar to anyone else? Jet skis are awesome.
And the answer is:
More questions. My journey revealed more questions. Well that doesn’t seem quite satisfying. But don’t move on quite yet …
Here is what I found out - I am comfortable with the unknown, or at least learning how to be comfortable with the unknown. I can make peace with the barrage of questions spinning in my brain. I can live a simple life based in compassion for all, including myself.
Through meditation and reading piles of books on theology and philosophy, I found that we can all slowly open up to the mystery of our existence by approaching life with love and compassion. That is the gist of most spiritual texts, right? Be love and open up yourself to something greater?
I finally find solace in being love and compassion. (ßUff da! That sounds like a squishy and amorphous concept that offers no practical benefit in my life) Here is what I mean – I cannot control many external factors in my life, my spinning brain will never have all of the answers, I will never know why there is so much suffering on this planet, and materials items (even jet skis) and job/social titles will never bring anyone meaningful fulfilment. Clinging to such ideas and searching for “the concrete why” will only bring suffering, as I loosely paraphrase Buddhist teachings. (I highly recommend The Dhammapada for your next reading)
In my daily life, I can be love and compassion. That is all that I can control. I can approach the “real world” with actions based in love and compassion. I approach (or at least try to) all relationships and interactions with compassion and love without expectation or attachment. (Oh – I don’t mean romantic love, like taking your partner to Applebee’s for the 2 for 20 meal deal, but the general love for all beings, creations, and the universe type love)
For example, let’s talk injustice. I serve a criminal defense lawyer and see systemic injustice and trauma on a daily basis. It is a tough existence. I can’t change the system overnight. I can only control my actions and intentions. I serve my client through authentic connection. I serve my client my telling his or her genuine story. In an adversarial system, I can help the judge, jury, and prosecutor see my client’s human nature. Through compassion, I can take care of my client and myself for the benefit of all.
And this isn’t easy! I try not to get caught up in the results, actions of others, or even my own ego. As I said, I am work in progress. My clients benefit when I act with compassion for all instead of endlessly fighting and battling egos within the system. My mental health seems to benefit as well.
Love and compassion isn’t inaction. It isn’t escaping the real world to meditate in a cave. Compassion based actions are for the benefit our ourselves and our community. The endless spinning questions were not serving me. Mediation, learning with an open mind, and compassion-based actions brought an unexpected answer to those questions.
I try to approach each moment with other questions: How can I be love and compassion? How can I take care of myself and my community? How can I exercise less judgment? How can I take small moments to simply be? How can I be present with others? How can I find a friend who owns a jet ski?
And as I implement mindfulness tools such as yoga, meditation, nature walks, or a coffee with a good friend, my mind slowly releases those screaming questions of, “Who am I? Why am I here?!?” – Because I realized those questions need not be answered when we approach each day with love and compassion.
By Mike Millios