I used to feel so anxious that I froze and did not know what to do. Everything I did was wrong, not good enough or stupid. I never got anything right, even though my mother constantly told me what to do. I have developed a quiet confidence that everything will work out fine. Even when placed in a new situation, I no longer feel intimidated. My inner strength came from deep reflection on Life and the purpose of human existence.
As a teenager, I was concerned about many problems, like war, poverty, diseases, corruption, and injustices. I read extensively about the human condition, including history, philosophy, and politics. Soon, I developed a horrible impression of Humanity. I felt that they are the scum of the universe. Why should I bother to connect with scum? Yet, the more I rejected Humanity, the more Humanity rejected me. Eventually, I discovered ten beliefs that have changed my life and ended my struggle against Humanity.
The first belief is that Life requires nothing of us. It is we, human beings, who require something from each other. We require each other to fulfill our duty as citizens, employees, family members, religious followers, etc. We require each other to fulfill promises and agreements. We require each other to fulfill our rights (since there can be no rights without obligations). There is no end to our requirements.
Yet the universe operates fine with or without our requirements. Even the desire for survival is not an absolute requirement but our requirement. What we require depends on what we value. A dog values his bones, and a monkey values his bananas. We humans value material possessions, achievements, recognition, etc. We have little interest in fighting with a dog over his bone, just as a dog has little interest in snatching gold bars from us.
Even if we require something from each other, we cannot carry our valuables when we die. Everybody must die someday. There is no point keeping a stash of treasures locked up in a tomb with our decaying bodies when we have no means to use them.
This is why we can permit ourselves to stop imposing requirements on others and ourselves. We owe nothing to the world, and the world owes us nothing. We own nothing in the world, and the world owns none of us. Every moment is a new time for us to choose and live what we now value, free from the past’s constraints and what other people think of us.
However, this does not mean we can ignore all our promises and obligations. We must still live with the consequences of our choices and the limitations of our physical situation. Even if we do not have to bear the results, we must still pay the price: “who we are.” Betraying ourselves for a bit of material gain or whim of fancy is not worthwhile.
The second belief is that failure/inferiority is in the eye of the beholder. We fail because we judge ourselves and decide that we have failed or are inferior. If we value nothing, then we cannot fail since everything is fine with us. Failure is helpful to guide us towards achieving our goals, but it is not real. Making failure real will only create unhealthy psychological problems. Therefore, we can allow ourselves to stop seeing ourselves as failures and let go of our past perceived failures.
We can also let go of seeing other people as failures or inferior. We do not know what Life has in store for other people, just as we do not know what Life has in store for us. We do not fully understand why other people chose something, just as they would not fully understand why we chose something. We would also not know the true meaning of other people’s experiences, just as we may not initially know why we experience something. Therefore, judge not, for we do not see the big picture of Life. Freshly experience each new experience, free from the events in our past.
The third belief is that we see what we believe in. Quantum Physics has shown that even physical reality is “unreal,” not everything else. Since we perceive this world through our senses and mind, there is no fixed and objective interpretation of this world. Therefore, we must choose what we believe in carefully. Do we think that a good son must always obey his mother? Do we believe that our religion is the only path to truth? Do we feel we cannot afford to take any significant risks? What we believe, we will see as truth.
The fourth belief is that we receive what we give away. We are linked to everyone else in the world. There is no such thing as “none of my business” since everyone affects everyone else. Our global economic system is an excellent example of how interlinked we have become.
However, a hidden process is at work: what we give away comes back to us through the interconnected web of Life. Giving away something we thought we lacked also changes our mindset and shows us that we do not really lack that. Therefore, we can give away what we treasure most (and this is not necessarily a material possession).
Yet, choose to whom and what we give away carefully and wisely. Do we wish to give a beggar $5 or invest in letting him set up a business so that he can stop begging on the streets?
The fifth belief is that we already have the answers to our problems; we have merely missed them. We may get more than we bargained for when the solution solves many other issues simultaneously. Sometimes, we do not realize that we do not necessarily want a car when we really want fast and convenient transport. Sometimes, it is not more money we really want, but a beautiful home in nature. Sometimes, it is ourselves who refuse to accept the answer that we already know can work.
It may not be the answer that is stopping us, but the question. Why? Therefore, we can reflect on the question that matters rather than the answer that we have yet to figure out. Exercising my power of creativity and solving my problems in a new way started my journey to self-awakening.
The sixth belief is that we already have what we need. Human desire is insatiable, and we constantly find many things lacking. Yet, it is our perception that is lacking. We have what we need to live at this stage in our life. Our life is good enough as long as we are functional and able to live without betraying ourselves. We do not need to feel jealous of other people since they also have what they need. Neither do we need to think that other people are superior to us because they have more possessions or a higher status. How other people live their lives is none of our business – our business is how we live our own lives. Therefore, we can give ourselves permission to accept our life situation now and work within our power to change it to one that gives us more room for self-expression.
The seventh belief is that there is nothing for us to do on Planet Earth. We are free to do what we wish to make with our lives, and there are countless things we can do with our lives. Hence, it is essential for us to live meaningfully. We can create meaning by living for a purpose more significant than our individual needs. Without an overarching Life Purpose to organize our life, we merely encounter a series of random experiences happening one after another. Hence, we can allow ourselves to believe in and achieve what others think is impossible.
The eighth belief is that Life is not a straight line from point A to point B. Life is more like a winding river that takes many turns and twists. Since we may have conflicting goals and obligations, sometimes we must ignore some of them to fulfill others. Since we have conflicting instructions from different people, sometimes we must ignore some of them to obey the rest. If we insist on going straight towards our goals, we often find ourselves getting stuck in our Life Situation and unable to advance further. If we let Life take us on a few detours, we may find that we could achieve more than we bargained for. If we let go of or change some of our goals, we may succeed even more spectacularly in the end.
The ninth belief is that Life is an opportunity to grow our character. We may know we are kind, but this is only a concept until we act with kindness. We may know we are courageous, but as long as we do not show it, we cannot experience it. Hence, we can permit ourselves to live the Grandest Version of the Greatest Vision of who we are. Only by doing so can we realize the opportunities of Life. Yet, growth is not easy. To achieve something, we must give up on many other options. We grow our character when we experience the pain of losing something we value. Mature people must accept that gains come with losses whenever they choose.
The tenth belief is that everything will turn out perfectly. The worst that can happen to us is death. If we are prepared to die and live our lives with death in mind, we can place our trust in Life and let Life show us our next step. We can trust in a Higher Benevolent Power to take care of us. Therefore, we can permit ourselves to trust in Life and to end all anxieties by living with an unshakeable faith in Life.
These ten beliefs have ended my anxieties and carried me through the darkest periods of my Life. May they do the same for others, too.