I think everyone has asked this question at least once. So did I, quite some time ago, but just recently I came across a paragraph that made very much sense, I connected it with other ideas and want to share it with you.
It’s from J. Krishnamurti from his book ‘What are you doing with your life?’ According to him:
“Life is a relationship; life is action in that relation. When I cannot understand relationships or when they are in ruins, I am looking for a deeper meaning. Why are our lives so empty? Why are we so lonely and disappointed? That is because we never looked within ourselves and because we don’t understand ourselves. We don’t admit to ourselves that this life is all we know and because of that we need to understand it holistically. We prefer to run and that’s why we look for the meaning of life outside our relationships. When we start to understand what action is, which is our relationship with people, possession, interpretations and ideas, then we understand that the relationships themselves are their own reward. You don’t have to look for it. It is just as searching for love. Can you find love by looking for it? You can’t cultivate love. Love is inside relationships and not beyond it, and, because we don’t have love we want that life has meaning.”
I see that in our society, ways of education, means of getting information, all knowledge and understanding, thus relationships, are coming from the outside. We have to learn something someone else has decided, we have to work at places we don’t feel ownership in, we don’t have the choice on what is on the media, truthfully and relevant for establishing and maintaining healthy relationships. All that leads to fear, being unattached, and living other people’s lives. When one goes to work then (s)he is ‘in service’ for someone else and being led by their rules, boundaries and limitations, and when one goes home, another set of rules, or, relationships apply. How big is the love for your work? And how healthy is your relationship with what you’re learning at school? Or, facebook, or, or, or?
In existentialism one of the essences is: What was first? The idea or the result? And, how does that reflect to life? We don’t want to eat with our hands, so we invented cutlery, or chopsticks for that matter. The idea was first then the solution. Yet, with life it is opposite, we were first and to what end do we function?
Luckily, for many people, we are in control, have a certain amount of freedom to choose, to fulfil our needs and find meaning to our lives. Relating that to Krishnamurti, life is the relationship and the actions within we automatically already have. It is in our own hands, for a great part, to choose to have healthy relationships, with love and passion, and get away of the unhealthy. We can enrich our lives by adding on more relationships, of all different sorts, as with only a few relationships life is narrow.
Luhmann, a sociologist, is thinking in systems and in rationalizing. He sees that the world around us is that complex so we cannot understand it. We only understand parts of it after we have rationalized it, have given it a place in ourselves. The only way to reach that understanding is to enter a relation with what you don’t understand, learn about it, rationalize it, internalize it and use it. The more interaction, the more action, the more different relationships, the more we enrich our lives and can choose what is healthy and relevant for us and what not. Opposite also is true, with limited action, or actions below we are capable of handling, life is poor as well. However, we can’t sit doing nothing and complain about the inaction – it’s just a matter of doing something to gain new positive actions and relationships. With a certain self-reflection, we can position our rational self, all we know, into the big irrational and complexity of all we don’t know.
When we see ourselves in the centre, we can internalize and rationalize all complexity we interact with. Those relationships are in our own hands, maybe even more than we think they are, and with the right and healthy attitude we can positively interact with them and discard those which aren’t healthy.
This is an encouragement: Enjoy the relationships you already have, as all action with everything around you IS life! Internalize more, add more action, thus more life to it, from your initiative, seek out the healthy and discard the unhealthy. Keep on adding on and enjoy the action and interaction with all what is around you or will be around you. It is impossible to hide or to run away from it, or seek something which isn’t realistic to have a relationship/(inter)action with. Find truth in life, your truth in your life, benefitting you and your neighbour at the same time. Learn from a different point of view, see that rationality of how that person is interacting with their relationships. They are there in its own right.
Life is your relationships, oh! and do enjoy your spoons – steering hot food in a pot hurts your hands.