(Material for this essay comes from the books "Love" and "Personhood" by Leo F. Buscaglia, Ph.D., "The Road Less Traveled" By M. Scott Peck M.D. "How Good Do We Have To Be?" by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner)
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Welcome to this journey called life.
On this journey, we meet individuals from all walks of life who have found the secret to life and now wish to share it with us. Because it worked for them, they insist it'll work for the rest of us. What words will inspire me, move me from my depression to joy? Are these words any different from what I've read before? Or are they much the same, just labeled differently?
On this journey, we meet the piously religious who believe that no matter what life throws at us, God will deliver us. They insist only through "their" God, can you know peace and have meaning.
Are there no happy atheists and other nonbelievers?
God works through His people, those that adhere to His teachings - to love and to serve.
Sadly, this is the exception, not the rule. If it isn't the exception, then why are our church attendances declining and the growth in new age philosophies?
On this journey, we are introduced to self help books that stress that no matter what negative feelings plague us, we can wrestle them into submission - stressing thinking positively, our negative feelings would seize to exist. They all promise instant healing, full recovery, a cure for every ailment.
If life were only that simple.
Positive thinking works for those who are already in that frame of mind. If positive thinking really worked for all, we could cure homelessness, shut down mental hospitals, prisons, etc.
What, then, is this journey called life?
First and foremost, we must acknowledge life is difficult.
We think when we reach a certain plateau or level in society, our problems cease. These problems may stop only to open the door to more challenging ones.
In the words of Oscar Wilde: "There are only 2 tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants and the other is getting it."
Secondly, we are the only creature that knows the difference between right and wrong. Animals don't. They are wired by nature. They do things out of instinct. As a result, we are the only creatures tormented by moral dilemmas.
This journey involves taking risks - leaping into the unknown. There is something very scary about that. But if everything were certain, such a life would, sooner or later, bore us to death.
We need life and all it has to offer to be a mystery. There IS only one absolute in life - that there are no absolutes.
This journey involves pain. For without pain, we do not question about life and all its meaning. We do not grow or mature. As Aristotle said: "a life unexamined is not worth living."
This journey involves discipline to become whom we are meant to be, never ending while we are still alive, made more frustrating by those who would confine us to their vision. It takes a bold act of courage to stand up for who we are and what we believe in
We have no choice but to take this journey. We are either growing or we are dying. We do not remain stagnant. For if we do not take this journey, our alternatives lie in loneliness and despair.
Welcome to this journey called life!
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