We are born and then we die.
What went before and what goes beyond is an unknown so the life we live between these two certainties is all that matters.
This is my belief anyway.
The duration of our current existence is indeterminable. I have learned this from experience and have lost people who are close to me in both ordinary and extraordinary circumstances.
Losing someone you are close to sucks no matter what the circumstances but it is what it is.
Demise is a sadness in any exigency however grief is a process that is tied very much to love.
The greater the love – the more significant is the loss.
I have learned this too.
Men and women are sapient creatures who are as complex as we are unpredictable. I don’t get a lot of things and my life is littered with mistakes of my own making. I try however to deliberate and excogitate from my erring.
It’s not easy.
I try to use words like excogitate too.
I like the sound of it.
I like writing it too.
I don’t get violence but I have been embroiled in it before.
I don’t like cruelty either – yet I have been both a victim of it and a deliverer. I have felt shame and pain in many forms. I am perfectly imperfect and I hope that I have grown from my inadvertence.
I don’t know whether I have though and I am not adequately equipped to measure my own worth.
I don’t believe in deities or in a faith that is blind.
Why would I?
How could I?
I have seen cruelty and injustice and inequity that horrify me. What manner of god would permit such atrocities? I have discussed and debated this matter with men of cloth and monks and lamas and their arguments that man is imperfect are sound - but they don’t convince me to worship.
I comprehend the need for belief but my preference is to invest such faith in myself - and the people who I love.
It is a big endowment but I can touch and see it.
I can shape it.
I believe that the majority of people are inherently good but there are vocal and powerful minorities that are not - and they are the wreakers of chaos and havoc.
They are the ruination of things that really matter.
I think the teachings of the Bon - which is the foundation of the tutelage of the man named Buddha make the most sense. He saw and wrote that we are impaired creatures and that our development into something that he calls enlightenment is a simple path of compassion and compunction and lenity.
It is consideration.
I understand that I am in a minority here in a world awash with religions that seem more confused than me. I think that the supposedly merciful gods worshipped by billions would be appalled by the behaviours of the extremists amongst their devout. Tens and perhaps hundreds of millions of people have perished in conflicts relating to religion.
Look at the Middle East.
Look at Ireland.
Junior and Senior.
Wars make no sense yet there are economies that have a dependence on conflict.
Look at the United States of America. They are warmongers of the highest possible order – engaging, invading and intruding. The cost of manufacturing and deployment of weaponry and soldiers would feed the poor of the world and educate the destitute but they can’t seem to stop.
I don’t think they can afford to.
To many people acts of bravery involve death and destruction and peril when real bravery is the opposite of these things. Gallantry is providing for people who have less than do we.
It is tolerance and acceptance.
The Americans have been occupying foreign lands and devastating populations with weapons of mass destruction for a hundred years.
They can’t seem to stop and their hypocrisy and ignorance is terrifying.
I lost friends and colleagues in the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York. The event that is forever synonymous now with the numbers nine eleven. The attack was horrendous but the Americans commemorations of this loss seem to me to be a glorification of war. Their bombs and drones and military might inflict such damage – more damage in fact – on so many people in so many countries.
Don’t they understand?
I don’t think they do.
I have known love and hate and joy and despair and I seek wisdom but it is so hard to find.
So is myself.
I have looked high and low.
My search continues but as I age I am discovering that a purpose might be many things and there is simplicity and some satisfaction in just being.
I believe that we are formed by what we desire yet we are shaped by what we experience and so I endeavour to experience as much as I can.
I cram my life with people and events and I move around a lot to take in what I can.
I am restless.
I am reckless.
New cultures, new people and talking to strangers have enriched me yet I still don’t know my purpose.
I do not know who or why I am.
Yet I have had a very fortunate life.
I can’t complain.
Even though I sometimes do.
I think that kindness may be the key to everything and life lessons relating to compassion and morality are important but empathy is something that is inherent.
Selflessness is not a natural state but it is an important one.
We need to frequently put ourselves in other shoes.
We need to put our lives in perspective.
Wealth is not possessions or money - although that's easy to say when you have enough of both.
It is goodness.
It is virtuosity.
It is righteousness and honour.
These are noble things.
These are precious things.
They may be everything.
I know where I have been but I still don’t know yet where I am going. At times I feel so lost and dazed and directionless. I hope to tread a path that causes minimal harm but I value and cherish experiences. I want to immerse and saturate myself in my surrounds.
I need to experience experiences.
They are the essence and substance of who I may become.
For the moment though – I think that just being is enough.