If you haven’t listened to Alan Watts lately, I would highly recommend giving him a try. He would often refer to life as one big cosmic joke. In so many ways, life is not even close to as serious as we make it out to be. This applies to all perspectives: from the one who sees the world as a dark/hostile place, to the one who spends his whole life lost in spiritual pursuits trying to find meaning. We all take life way too seriously, and the reason has to do with a fundamental misunderstanding of who you are.
The truth is that death is not the end of your life, just as much as you being born was not the beginning. You are experiencing an endless cycle of existences that are likely happening all at once. When you “die”, it is merely the end of this one fragmented experience. But you won’t necessarily realize it or even miss it. It’s all good, you will just continue to be pure existence/creation in another form. But you can’t see any of that right now.. from your point of view, this body you’re in currently is all there is and ever was. Everything outside of you.. is outside of you.
The joke is that we don’t get to know/feel this truth in our waking life (at least not so easily). There are ways to see, but until you do, life is going to feel more like a whole big world out there with important events happening, and important people doing important things with their important lives. And so as an individual living in the 21st century modern world, you are just a mere speck. And you compare.. you feel so minuscule that you no longer experience any connection to anything or anyone around you. It’s just you; lost and unsure of what you’re “suppose to” be doing here.
This is at the core of depression and anxiety. It’s this constant undertone feeling of infinite dread and uncertainty of what is going to happen to you. You feel trapped by the hopelessness of the situation, and it matters. It matters a whole lot to you and everyone around you capable of judging your life against the “should’s”.
Life = Play
But none of that is real. You are the entirety of all of existence experiencing fragmentation.. but your true nature is God itself. There are no should’s, you get to do exactly what you want in life. You are the most beautiful and perfect thing that could ever exist, and you get to honor that and everything around you each and every day, because it is all You. You still have to play the game that society has created, but know that the game itself is in a state of delusion. It rewards both those who follow the rules and play the game, and those who completely disregard the norms in favor of authentic creative expression. Those who sit in-between suffer a life of mediocrity, victimhood and unfulfillment.
So go on.. improve your life in all the ways you desire. If you feel lack in how much money you make, the job you go to, your physical health or your relationships, then go and become the very best version of yourself. But do it because you enjoy experiencing just how capable you are, and how awesome that feels.. not because you want to live up to some external ideal and gain external validation (love) from other people. It’s all for you.
And take your time.. this is a long ass process. It’s your life’s work. There is no rush or deadline to meet. It will all happen in good time if your intentions and heart are in the right place. Release your addiction to external validation or what people think of you. Because it doesn’t matter.. this is the joke: it really doesn’t matter. You yourself are everything you’ve been looking for all along anyway.
I laugh when I think how I once sought paradise as a realm outside of the world of birth. It is right in the world of birth and death that the miraculous truth is revealed. But this is not the laughter of someone who suddenly acquires a great fortune; neither is it the laughter of one who has won a victory. It is, rather, the laughter of one who; after having painfully searched for something for a long time, finds it one morning in the pocket of his coat.Thich Nhat Hanh