From Party Girl to Yogi: This is 33
5 minute read
“Life is like an empty canvas. You can go on carrying it your whole life, and you can die under its weight — but what is the point? Paint something on it!” ~ OSHO
When I was a teenager, I discovered the gateway drugs to my existential crisis: weed, Nietzsche and Nirvana. While my classmates were gossiping about the he-said, she-said BS, I was staring into the abyss. While my grandpa was trying to teach me algebra, my heart was throbbing for answers of a different kind: Who am I? What is the purpose of my existence? What is the meaning of life?
Something deep inside me knew that there was no way I was here to just gossip and die. Or memorize formulas and die. Or make money and die. My first pang of growing pains hit when I realized that no one — not my friends, nor my parents; not school, nor society — has the answers. That we are born into this world alone and we will die alone.
Yes, you could say I was a nihilistic little shithead. No wonder I was such a loner. And a bad student.
The thing about the abyss is, when you stare into it long enough, it sucks you right in…into its mystery, its allure; its promise to imbibe your life with enough knowledge and nonsense, drugs and drama to fill in the gaps of your esoteric existence. Sound familiar?
If only someone had told Alice that this illusive rabbit hole contained more questions than answers, more riddles than truths. That the more she chased time, the more she would run out of it. That the ego distorts reality and nothing is ever as it seems. That madness disguises itself as logic. That chaos disguises itself as order. That demons disguise themselves as friends. That FOMO is a trick of the mind. That jealousy pollutes the heart and anger corrupts the soul. That parties end. The high never lasts. Hearts break. And candles burn out.
Imagine if Alice knew that the answers she sought were already inside of her. If she learned the formula for Inner Peace. If she understood the language of Silence. If she mastered the Art of Listening. You’d probably find her meditating under the tree instead of crawling into it.
But then we wouldn’t have this awesome story to tell our kids so I’m glad that didn’t happen.
Fortunately for Alice, she woke up before she lost her head. But not all of us can be so lucky. In fact, I would say 99.9% of us stay fast asleep and fall deeper and deeper into a bottomless pit of misery, finding enough comfort in its company to create a whole story around it. But instead of it being just an awesome story to tell the kids, we believe this story to be 100% true. And it runs (and ruins) our lives.
The most dangerous person is not the enemy who confronts you, but the fake friend who comforts you. Misery is that fake friend.
Misery is the most dangerous weapon of self-destruction. It disguises itself in the most insidious of ways — hiding behind the veil of financial freedom while slowly taking years from our life. Mass producing bells and whistles to distract us from the emptiness we feel inside. Selling us cheap thrills in exchange for our Aliveness. Quenching our thirst for knowledge but keeping us starved for Truth. Feeding our fears and insecurities with fake news, fake trees, fake buzzwords, fake smiles, fake entertainment, fake love.
And in the most tragic instances, Misery changes us from human beings into human doings.
And then we become a society of robots, moving from right to left, left to right — too fixed on the fakeness to notice the realness of life: the fullness of the moon…the coolness of the wind…the smell of rain. And we go on, spinning our wheels, living in a distorted reality that keeps us busy, but hollow. Wealthy, but far from rich.
Or even worse, we become just like zombies, completely unconscious, merely living and breathing but hardly alive. Consuming just enough food, air, and water to sustain a whole lifetime of lifelessness.
Only few of us will be so fortunate to wake up and resurface to Light.
Man, nothing feels like spiritual rock bottom than the realization that there is no meaning in life. That the quest was all for nothing but a story to tell the kids. That the battle you’ve been fighting is with yourself.
One of the hardest realities I encountered from my trip down the rabbit hole was that staring into the abyss is utterly pointless. The more you philosophize, the more you intellectualize, the more you conceptualize, the more pointless it becomes. Life is not like algebra; you cannot apply logic to find the answers. There is no equation for meaning; Truth has no such formulas.
As it turns out, meaning is not something to be sought after and found — it’s something to be nurtured and created. It doesn’t magically reveal itself; it is revealed only through the magic of our own Awareness.
Meaning is created when you leave the safety of misery and venture into the unknown.
Meaning is created when you take moment-to-moment responsibility for your own happiness, without relying on money, popularity, status, drugs….
Meaning is created when awareness and compassion are the driving forces of your existence.
Meaning is created when you stop living for yourself and start living for the whole; when you add beauty and blessings to the world with your song and celebration.
When you serve, share, and surrender.
When you love — really love — without holding back.
When you are willing to participate in life with every fiber of your being, not just your mind. And not just out of convenience.
When you can do less and be more.
When you can think less and feel more.
When you see life as a never-ending adventure, not just a temporary thrill.
At 33, I’m realizing that the only way to bring meaning, purpose, or fulfillment to our life is by witnessing Life as it is. Because only when you witness Life as it is can you fall in love with its simplicity, without the bells and whistles. And only when you fall in love with its simplicity can you enjoy its richness, its fullness, its vibrancy. Can you laugh your ass off at how funny Life is, how funny I am, and how funny you are. I’ve realized that in these moments of innocent, childlike laughter is when I feel the most alive; when I can really feel the presence of the Divine. When I can enter into a timeless, deathless existence. Within this eternal existence, one does not need any answers. One only needs to recognize the ultimate Truth of their own being.
The beauty of this Truth is that when you fall in love with Life, you rise in love with yourself.
At 33, I’m learning that my journey has just begun. But this journey is of a different quality; it is a journey within, where I get to reinvent myself over and over and over again, adding more color, more flavor, more melody, more fragrance to each new birth.
At 33 I celebrate Life as it is. Me as I am. An explosive source of joy and energy that burns burns burns but never burns out.