“The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced”
The mandate is simple, but the fulfillment is improbable:
How to live rightly in the world
How do we, as beings, navigate a realm in which what we are capable of doing will never match what we ought to do?
The response to this paradox is that although we cannot ever live entirely right, we can gradually find greater degrees of right living. Life, then, consists in cultivating the mentality and practices of truthful existence—that is, developing a philosophy of mindfulness.
The world we inhabit is marked with complexity and intricacy. Stochasticity challenges our perceptions of certitude and immutable truth. Life is not deterministic. Relativity serves the unintended consequence of having our actions simultaneously help and harm other beings. No thing can be isolated from its ties with the universe and placed in a vacuum.
Given the nature of existence, what can I, as one single being, do? What is the consequence of my fleeting life in the scheme of eternity? What consequences do my actions have to the world? Does my existence even matter?
On the basis that our actions are intricately tied to other beings in the universe and to the universe itself, our existence is not only meaningful but also purposeful. We are creatures of agency. Our lives matter to the extent that our actions have repercussions, whether benevolently or malevolently, on the world outside our own being.
In response, I believe the task is cultivating an attitude of mindfulness for all actions and intentions. With mindful living, I can use the powers vested in me as a member of humanity to seek flourishing with all beings and all matter of the universe. Together, cooperatively, we can find the mutuality and understanding needed to live justly and harmoniously.
I don’t believe life comes with easy answers. Nor do I believe that life comes with answers at all. Part of our humanness is gross imperfection and moral ambiguity. We bump along the passage known as life without any certain idea of what is ultimately out there, or what our existence is even for. But we are privy to the journey and can create our own meaning along the way. This is part of the beautiful mystery of life—no matter how imperfect—that we are fortunate to have found ourselves intimately involved.