The Secret of Life: The First Secret
IN SEARCH OF…..
Philosophers have wrestled with this topic for centuries. What is the secret of life? Related to that is the question concerning the secret of happiness.
There are so many unhappy people in the world. This should not be a shocking revelation to any of you. Go outside and walk the streets of any town or city in the world, and you will see unhappiness etched on the faces of those you pass by.
Of course they have their reasons. Some are facing marital problems; some have lost their job or are unhappy with their place of employment. Others face financial ruin while some have ill-health. All valid reasons for unhappiness….or are they?
During my sixty-four years on this planet I have known, quite obviously, many people. Some for sure were unhappy, while others seemed to be happy each and every time I saw them. Why were some smiling constantly while others had seemingly forgotten how to smile? Surely we all have problems; how is it that some people manage to find happiness despite their problems, while others are weighed down so drastically that they can barely function?
Those questions are at the heart of this series of articles? Without a doubt, happy people must possess the secret of life and happiness. Of course they have trials and tribulations in their lives, but they have managed to use certain principles and beliefs and with them mold a happy life.
What do they know that others do not?
Today, after many detours and after many missteps, I believe I have finally figured it all out, so I’d like to share with you what I believe are the secrets of life and happiness. Each part of this series will discuss, in some depth, one of those secrets.
THE MOST IMPORTANT OF THEM ALL
We begin with the most important secret of them all.
Without love, what is there? If love is not the single-most defining characteristic of your personality, I do not believe you will be truly happy. Of course there are those who would argue that point, and I respect them for their opinion, but for my money, love is crucial for happiness, contentment, and fulfillment.
We are a unique species in that we have the ability to love. It can be argued that a mother dog loves her puppies, but is that love or is that some genetic bond that really does not encompass the nature of love?
Merriam-Webster tells us that love is:
a (1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child> (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates>
Whatever definition you hang your hat on, I believe love is what defines us as a species.
To give of yourself completely; to sacrifice for another; to become so bonded as to feel incomplete without the loved one; those are the characteristics that make love the straw that stirs the drink of humanity.
The Beatles told us that “money can’t buy me love,” though many have tried to purchase it in one shape or form. Unfortunately, once one attempts to buy love, or happiness, we are delegating those things to the status of mere possessions, and possessions by their very nature are transitory. True love has no marketable value; it cannot be held, weighed, or dissected. It simply is, an ethereal reality that is priceless in and of itself.
I have spoken in the past about my adoption. I had been shuttled from one foster home to another for the first nine months of my life, and during those nine months I had remained blind. The doctor’s called it “Failure To Thrive Syndrome,” a unique occurrence where a human being does not develop because of a lack of bonding. Once I had been adopted, and once I had been shown love, my sight came within two weeks.
The power of love!
Love, though, has a dual-nature, and I would be remiss if I did not talk about the other aspect of this most important quality.
Those who are much wiser than I will tell you that it is impossible to love another human being without first learning to love yourself, and I believe that to be true. It is crucial for our development, as a loving human being, to embrace our uniqueness and love who we are. That is the key to self-love, the realization that there is only one of us; we are the most precious of all creation, and as such we are lovable.
Loving oneself is not ego-driven, but rather a humble embrace of our individuality. It is to realize that at this very moment we are one of a kind, and our future will be filled with moments of discovery and achievements that can only be ours.
Once we have opened that door and seen our uniqueness and our value, we then have only to step through the door and welcome self-love.
And once we have passed through that threshold, we will be capable of giving love to others.
INFINITE POSSIBILITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES
One of the incredible facets of love is its ability to never become depleted. Just as a teacher dispenses knowledge and yet retains it all, so too does a lover have the ability to love many and still retain that love. We have an infinite capacity for giving love, as long as we have love to give in the first place. We are capable of loving literally thousands, and yet in doing so we will never run out of love. Isn’t that remarkable? Each one of us is a vessel carrying unlimited cargo, and even when our ship docks, and we unload, we leave on our next journey will a hold full of love.
Perhaps it is time for us to unload some of that cargo.
More to think about on this subject
- Love: The Word, The Meaning
Love is more than just a word; love is...the single most important thing in life.
BECOMING WHAT WE SHOULD BE
Psychiatrist R.D. Laing has written: “We think much less than what we know, we know much less than what we love, we love much less than what there is, and to this precise extent we are much less than what we are!”
In other words, there is a part of us that is lying dormant; there is a potential in each of us that has not been realized. It makes no difference if we are brilliant with an IQ of 180, or challenged with an IQ of 80. It makes no difference if we were born into poverty or born into wealth. It makes no difference if we were born fat, thin, tall or short. None of us has achieved our potential, and there is so much more of us than any of us are aware of.
Thus, each of us should be on a journey of self-awareness and discovery. We should be plumbing the depths of who we can be, and that encompasses every aspect of our life. We are capable of so much more. We are capable of being a better person, a more compassionate person, a more empathetic person, and yes, a more loving person.
This is our own personal challenge….our own personal Odyssey….the journey of self-discovery. We have no competition along this journey for we are each unique; it is a personal challenge to become all that we can be.
And it begins with love!
Make no mistake about it: love can be painful. Love can be rejected! Love can be ridiculed, and love can be used as a weapon against us. Love can be snatched from us by death, and love can die a natural death from neglect or apathy. Still, we are human, and as such we need love and human interaction.
Do you doubt it? Think of the child who endures parental abuse and does not run away and in fact still loves his parents. Think of the teenagers who change their appearance and alter their personalities for peer approval. Think of the strangers in a bar, drinking with those who they do not know, just to be in proximity with another human being.
We need love and human interaction!
Sit with me a moment
SO GO FORTH AND LOVE
That is, in fact, your challenge….your personal quest! The need to love and be loved has been imprinted on our DNA since birth. It is as natural as breathing for a human being, although many have forgotten how because they have not developed that ability, but rather allowed it to atrophy.
There is no better time than now! We have the ability to love, and we have an unlimited supply of it. Perhaps now would be a good time to begin sharing that most precious of gifts.
To borrow from my novel.....love alters reality!
Love one another….love yourself….and learn the secret of life in the process!
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)