I was listening to an audible (an audio book for the modern lingo uninitiated) with an edible – my favourite pastime – which said life by another name is suffering. You are alive – which means blood flows through your veins still and coagulates as required, but you don’t live – which means enjoy life – which means? Well, if you sit under a tree or on the commode, you might be enlightened.
I have tried both, but I’m still on that discovery of purpose journey – enjoying life means serving rather than having a purpose, right? Giving back vs Survival! Which means? I can sit for longer periods to ponder over this paradox! It’s the only time I am free from suffering. Because I am thinking. But, on the other hand because I think, I suffer!
The rest of the time, like they say on an edible oil container – cholesterol free – its time to freely suffer free! That’s what the Audible said, and I was worried that till I agree, I might suffer with doubt, so I agreed immediately. Now I’m left trying to convince you – that that’s what life is all about. Alignment! Imagine my suffering if we are non-aligned. Imagine Biden’s and Zelensky’s suffering because India is Non-Aligned to Putin!
The Audible went on to tell me about suffering – What it is etc. Apparently, it has nothing much to do with the ring (unless it is too tight around the finger), though many think it so! It is universal but has nothing to do with Universal Suffrage! and yet, the very word, rings alarm bells in your ears especially as you grow older and become a walking medicine cabinet or work out harder to avoid being one!
Audible says we are always in some kind of pain or the other. That’s where the suffering comes from. From the time we are born; that’s why the first thing we do is cry or are made to cry! – till we die. It never stops. Physical, Mental, Emotional, Socio-economic, which possibly is the most important of all, or all four combined. NOTA is not an option. If we don’t have any, we manufacture it. It’s what keeps us alive – the worry, the doubt, the competition, the interaction, the hope, the aspiration – we suffer all of that and we say aloud we are enjoying life! So that others think we are better off than them. Its relative and very much dependent on what the relatives think!
Check out our selfie’s, it’s a cover up made for a Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism if ever there was one. It’s how we live. Complicated? no simple actually – trying to understand is part of the suffering. And you think that once you understand, you will find your purpose, and will be suffering free; Oh yes. That’s free. Once enlightened, you cannot go back to being unsure. It’s different then you have to suffer the expectations of others and yourself! Understanding life is a lifelong exercise, which keeps you fit until death. The Kung Fu in the head never ceases!
So, the Audible said, the way to live – when you are alive – is to enjoy your suffering and be productive. Means? Even if you have had a stroke – not a positive one ala Eric Berne, but the other one, the one that strokes you to sleep with a violent lullaby and then wakes you up in la la land, or if you have lost a loved one and are full of pain, or if you already in La La land sitting on your own personal volume of Coleman’s abnormal psychology, you must still ensure you make yourself useful to yourself and others. Its expected of you. That will ease your suffering and those of others which is even more important. Audible told me how to do that too. You smile, make others smile, like I try to do without much success – Imagine the suffering involved! and live life till you are alive. But first ensure you are alive and stay that way until you are very dead – Very important. Only if you are alive, can you live life!
My edible is almost over, but I hang on as Audible gives me the example of two linesmen powering up an entire city with their work on the electricity transmission lines – One who was in a severe accident that required him to undergo multiple surgeries that left him largely damaged and another who had an early onset of Parkinson’s working in tandem! Both don’t use the word suffered to describe their condition. They just had what they had. They didn’t suffer it. They don’t suffer it. Not even when they there is black-out! The French say “C’est la vie!” — which means “That’s life!” I would say that’s being a-live!
As the audible ended, so did my suffering! For the time being. I understood how I was suffering, but not why! I knew what to do about it, but not how. A tear came to my eye. I grabbed a tissue, wiped it off before it left a stain, lest anyone should see it. Sometimes I let another see it, so they may offer me a tissue to ease the suffering. We do that to ease our own, don’t we? We feel good as soon as we grab the tissue and hand it over. That’s how we wipe our hands of the issue. With a tissue. The tissue had come to my rescue. But the head Kung Fu continued! And I contemplated a new problem, and so must you as you read this – that’s what living a life is all about – a series of problems you solve with a smile, or you re-solve with a cry!
From where did the tissue come and whither will it go? Did it suffer to hide my suffering? Or was it built soft and tender on the back of someone else’s suffering. Another tear escaped my eye. But the tissue box was empty. It will take until next week to find another one. So more about that next week.
Till then keep buffering. Now-a-days, buffering is one of the main causes of suffering! Because it interrupts our life’s stream! Like when you suddenly from a feel-good dream?
This Article is written in the lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured its purely coincidental.
Photo by Carolina Heza on Unsplash