Writer: Lamia Gamil
Editor: Ahmed Ashry
Picture credit: Findingjules.com
What is the purpose of life? It’s a common question that often puzzles many people, including myself. We often contemplate whether or not we are moving on the right path in life or whether we are totally off track. It doesn’t stop there. Those types of questions take us deep. Deep enough to either drown in them or find what we always wanted to know. The journey starts with questions such as, am I good enough? What are my roles and responsibilities towards my surrounding environment? What is the meaning of life? And where do I stand in it? Is life fair? Why are things like these happening to me? All those existential questions hit us at some point of time.
For me, I always think of life as the wind. There are times when it’s calm and peaceful, but there are also times when it’s stormy and turbulent. That’s the beauty of life: it’s never monotonous. It fluctuates all the time. If we live in linearity, life will be boring and plain. We will turn into emotionless robots doing the same thing over and over again aimlessly. When water stagnates, it rots. Thus, I have come to the epiphany that in order to live a purposeful life, we must accept its hardships and its prosperity — its ups and downs. It keeps us moving. It keeps our emotions and thoughts alive. It refreshes our faith and hope. It keeps our heart beating. In my opinion, life is composed of so many different elements, but the most crucial elements are enlightenment, leisure, and rumination and meditation. They are considered three main pillars to pursuing self fulfillment and self acknowledgement. Failing to achieve any of those pillars can have serious implications on the quality of life we are living. Together, they form a triangular base to a purposeful and fruitful life.
Firstly, education is the gateway to the enlightenment, sophistication, and maturity that enable individuals to live a prosperous and joyful life. Education does not necessarily mean going to school, completing a master’s degree, and then getting a job. That’s only a small portion of what education really means. Throughout my life experiences, I have come to reckon that being educated is not only about being a straight A’s student at school, but it’s also about understanding the nature of our reality, understanding our thoughts and emotions, and knowing our roles and responsibilities in life. Education allows individuals to ponder in search of truth, justice, and conscious reasoning in our minds. It enables us to find the “Tao” which is “The Way.” The Tao “The Way” is not something that we clearly see, it is something that we comprehend when we shut our eyes and analyse the inner voice that pops up every now and then. This inner voice must be heard and understood. It’s our guide when the world crumbles and we feel caged in our fears and uncertainties. I believe that the Tao is within us. It is not something that can be indoctrinated. We have to dig deep within ourselves to find it. In order to reach this state and find the Tao, we need to keep an open mind and heart, and we must listen more often. We will never be able to reach this point of enlightenment without Education.
Secondly, leisure is the perfect escape from the stressful world we are living in. The feelings of indulgence, freedom, and relaxation are significantly important to personal growth and well being. Every day we wake up, hustling from one activity to the other. We get so caught up with so many deadlines and daily chores that need to be done throughout the day. All of a sudden, we realise that the day is over, our energy is low, and our bodies are screaming, not able to do anything but collapse. This cycle never stops. We do the exact same thing over and over again. This vicious cycle steals our happiness, time, and our beauty. It leaves us exhausted, lost, and blinded. Such routines result in severe mental health issues.
I have experienced this myself amid the Covid-19 quarantine. All my days became one long day. As if the world around me has reached a point of stagnation. Everything feels the same, tastes the same, and looks the same. I wake up, stay on zoom for hours, and then spend the rest of the day finishing up my work. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. At this point, I felt so fed up with everything, I started losing interest in everything I was doing. No doubt, I was in dire need to do something new. I needed something to make me feel alive again. Isolation, monotony, and sickness are the right ingredients for a miserable life. Ever since I started focusing on learning more about self development, I became more adamant to make time for myself everyday. I started exercising, spending time with my family, “zooming” with my friends, cooking my favourite meals, going for a walk every day at night, and writing more. All these changes had significant positive effects on my overall well being. I had more energy to focus on my work. I started appreciating the little things that I used to take for granted, and last but not least, I felt happy and satisfied.
Lastly, in the mad world we are living in, we must pause for a moment to meditate and breathe. Everyday we are swarmed with negative news on social media. We feel gloomy and mournful not just because of dreadful situations happening in life, but also because of the negative thoughts that keep swirling in our mind because of all the events happening around us whether we are part of it or not. We all became too much connected and involved. Today more than any other time, we know more that we should know. We are exposed to so much negative news on an hourly basis, and it is very hard to set a barrier between you and the world. The effect of this is hitting us more everyday. No wonder why depression and anxiety are becoming contemporary diseases. Meditation truly helps us control our thoughts. In order to do so, we need to pause every once in a while. We need to breathe in positivity and breathe out all the negativity. We should know that it will never be possible to please everyone around us, and that we cannot fight all battles. It is important to choose our battles and prioritize our needs. The most important person that you should make the effort to please is YOU. When you learn to appreciate yourself and know your worth, everything else will fall into place like a puzzle. If we learn to pause and breathe, we will learn how to be happy in life. We will learn to make peace with our past and learn to get rid of our negative baggage. We need to learn how to embrace the moment we are living in, and most importantly, know our worth.
To recapitulate, we will only blossom in life when we understand the true essence of our existence. To live a balanced life, we need to connect with our inner self. The only way to unleash our potential and discover our true abilities and beauty is by finding ways to overcome our fears and desires. We need to live life with an open mind and put things in their right proportion to avoid undesired endings. We have to learn how to control our emotions. Emotions, if not controlled, become the dagger that rips us alive. It’s important to listen to our hearts, but never lose sight of reason. Nearly everything in life changes and evolves. In the light of this fact, we must know that change comes from within. It was never an external force or some sort of a supernatural power. Life is hard and sometimes it gets bitter, but we have the power to limit its soreness and alter its ugliness. You have the power to be in charge of your own journey.