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The Value of Life
"Out of 5.8 billion people in the world, the majority of them are certainly not believers in Buddhism. We can't argue with them, tell them they should be believers. No! Impossible! And, realistically speaking, if the majority of humanity remain nonbelievers, it doesn't matter. No problem! The problem is that the majority have lost, or ignore, the deeper human values - compassion, a sense of responsibility. That is our big concern."
(The Dalai Lama)
My Life Has Value
I guess I should explain what motivated me to write “I’m Mad as Hell”. First let me say I am not mad at any one person or any one entity. I wanted your attention. I am mad at how we let our world become what it is today. We all need to accept responsibility for this. It is not the fault of any one person. It is not the fault of any one action. It is the fault of each and every one of us. We all bought into the dream, but the dream is not working. When the dream becomes a nightmare, what do you do? You wake up. We need to wake up and see the real world. Get out of the dream. This is not going to go away. We cannot sweep it under the rug. We must take a good hard look at society today and see what we have become.
Where Are We Going
""Cheshire Puss," asked Alice. "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought
to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to go," said
the Cat. "I don’t much care where," said Alice. "Then it doesn’t matter
which way you go," said the Cat."
(Charles "Lewis Carroll" Dodgson--from the book Alice in Wonderland)
It seems we have lost our way. We have become so caught up in want, that we have forgotten need. We have forgotten compassion. We live in our dream world and do not look past our own doorstep. But what of the lost, the hungry, the homeless. What of the hurt, the grieving, the despairing. It is easy to become so caught up in the race to the top of the tower, that we forget life. We forget that all our things are meaningless in the bigger scheme of things. You know what they say; you can't take it with you when you go.
What will be your legacy? What will you be remembered for? I wish to be remembered as a loving and giving person. When I go, I do not want it said, "oh, yea, she excelled at stepping on others to get to the top". The ends to not justify the means. It is the journey, not the destination that defines us. Because in the end, there is always one more mountain to conquer, one more staircase to climb. The journey is called life and life does not end with the attainment of our goal.
Enjoy the journey. Look around, smell the roses, take a deep breath. This journey is marvelous and amazing. Do not rush from one destination to another, live the journey. Look for the beauty, find the treasures along the way. "Treasures? What treasures?" you ask. The most priceless treasure you will ever know, yourself and each other. We are the most priceless treasure today. When someone passes you by without noticing, know they have passed a treasure beyond compare.
"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."
(Dwight David Eisenhower)
Every single one of us has value. Our lives have value. We are each unique and different, but in many ways the same. All humans have the same basic needs. There are certain things that we cannot do without. We need clean air, clean water, shelter, food and love. In these we are all the same. However, we must value our diversity. In our diversity is our unique value.
It is human nature to want to fit in. This feeling is caused by one of our most basic needs…the need for love. Humans do not thrive in aloneness. I am not saying that we cannot live alone, nor am I saying we cannot be happy alone. The point I am trying to make is that as human beings we are social animals. We are more productive, live longer and are happier when we are a part of a group. Family, friends, community, country…these are all groups that the human belongs to. But they do not define who we are.
Human nature also dictates that we all want to be individuals. We do not want to be a number, we want to be seen for who we are. We want to have our individual set of talents and skills recognized as being useful. We want to be valued, not for our sameness, but for our uniqueness. We know innately that there is no other person exactly like us in the entire world. The truth is there is no other person exactly like us in the history of the world. No one else has walked in our shoes. No one else has seen exactly what we have seen. We are unique. Each and every one of us is absolutely and wonderfully unique. In our uniqueness we are all equal and equally wonderful. In our uniqueness we find our value.
“There are four questions of value in life... What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same. Only love.”
(Don Juan deMarco, 1995)
What is value? Value is the intrinsic worth of something. Then we may ask what is worth? Worth is the things that make something valuable, useful and desirable. So ask, what is our value, what is our worth? How do we determine our value, our worth. I feel we determine our value in what we give, in who we love and in how much compassion we show to each other.
We must not tie our value to our jobs, how much money we make, the size of our home, or any of the many other things we have. To tie our value to any type of possession would mean we lose our value if we lose that possession. Being that we cannot lose our value, value cannot be tied to possessions. Our value arises from inside us. It is in our hearts, our minds, our souls and, yes, even in our hands.
Our value cannot be measured in money. We are each unique, one of a kind, we cannot be replaced or rebirthed, and for this reason each of us is priceless. There will never be another just like us. We are the only one. We can be cloned, but even our clone will not be us. Each person's brain's neural pathways are forged through what we see, what we do, what we hear, taste and touch. There will never be another who has all of your experiences. You are unique and priceless.
Know Your Value
What is wrong with the world today that so many people do not feel valued? Why is it that we do not see our own uniqueness, our own pricelessness? Because society teaches that our value is tied to our possessions. If we do not have a good job, we have no value. If we do not have a big house, we have no value. No car, no bank account, bad credit rating...no value.
This is not true. We have already established that each of us is unique. There is no way to ever replace us. We are priceless, in and of ourselves. There never has been and there never will be another one of us. This has nothing to do with what we own, what we have. It has everything to do with what we are, who we are. No-one can take our value from us. Even after our deaths our value lives on in the hearts of our family and our friends.
So the next time you feel like the left foot remember you are priceless. The next time you look in the mirror and think, "I'm not this" or "I wish I was that", remember that you are unique, you are priceless. The next time someone tries to tell you that you are not good enough, remember that you are good enough. You too are a wonderfully unique and priceless individual, and in this uniqueness we are all equal.
You Are Priceless
"To you is granted the power of degrading yourself into the lower forms of life, the beasts, and to you is granted the power, contained in your intellect and judgment, to be reborn into the higher forms, the divine."
(Giovanni Pico della Mirandola)
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© 2009 Kari Poulsen