Perhaps there is no greater means of improving one's life than striving to answer in the most enlightened way this single question: Why live? I started to ask myself that question about thirty years ago after my diving accident, which left the husky and lusty teenage athlete that I was a near quadriplegic. What had given meaning to my life until then had become largely impossible. As a result, my life seemed absurd.
."Seemed" is the operative word here. Many years of reflection and study have taught me that the lack of meaning is always a lack of wisdom.
Everything I have learned and that has turned the bitter and suicidal young man that I was into a mature and serene life lover is what I impart to my reader.
Listed below are some cardinal points that may serve as guidance toward greater wisdom:.1. There can be no contentment without acceptance of the limits of reality, within which excellence and joy are possible, but not perfection and infinite happiness. Furthermore, there can be no contentment without the courage to pursue excellence and joy persistently, against failures and misfortunes.
Above all, our minds are at our command and determine our moods.
Independently of circumstances and results, contentment follows from positive thinking and positive action ? though admittedly it is not possible without circumstances and results being at least favorable enough to permit thinking and action.
2. In the pursuit of excellence and joy, the awareness of our adaptability is paramount. Change, and sometimes extensive and traumatic change, is part and parcel of life. Fortunately, we are able to adapt to this change.
That is, the favorable habits we develop within relatively stable circumstances ? for example eating, working, or dating habits that are conducive to our happiness ? do not truly define who we are. What does truly define who we are is our innate ability to acquire favorable habits whatever the circumstances (provided the latter are not so bad that they cannot be turned to good account). In a word, we are by nature adaptable, just as the world is by nature changeable.
3. The one fact that differentiates life from infinite bliss is the struggle that is required of the living to achieve satisfaction, which is never complete and permanent. We can either sorrow over this fact or rejoice in it. Why rejoice? Because with the struggle comes merit, and merit is a joyful emotion that any valiant soul knows intimately and values immensely.
Just as we cannot build a house without first securing a solid foundation, we cannot achieve fulfillment without first ensuring that our bodies are sound, thanks to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
5. To be free to do what we please is a precious right that we have as members of a liberal society. This right comes with a corresponding duty: to respect that right in others. Indeed, we are free to do what we please if what we please is not to make our fellow creatures suffer.
Mutual respect is the sine qua non of collective harmony. It is the chief principle behind human justice.
The right to freedom, within the liberal society, also means that we are free to believe what we please. No institutionalized ideology is imposed on us besides the basic moral principle dictating that we respect one another so that society, however liberal, remains sufficiently ordered to be operational. The reverse of order is chaos, which only knows the law of the jungle: dog eat dog.
Now, the right to believe what we please comes with a corresponding duty: to think carefully to define our own ideologies according to which we see and do things in different ways.
Again, the only imposition is the basic moral principle dictating that we respect one another.
6. Within the context of my own ideology, which I cannot impose, but only propose, love is the essence of life, its essential purpose. It includes the love of ourselves, which consists in promoting our own life. This love is instinctive and foundational; it is instrumental in the love of others, as we feel solidarity with them.
At a deeper level, love extends to that of everything. It proceeds from the divine principle behind the universe, thanks to which everything is the way it is, capable of being and better still, within certain limits, capable of flourishing. Like this principle, these limits can be ascertained through their obvious manifestations, but never explained.
Ultimately, the universe and our relative knowledge of it are founded on a fathomless mystery.
? The lack of meaning is always a lack of wisdom.? There can be no contentment without acceptance of the limits of reality.
? There can be no contentment without the courage to pursue excellence and joy persistently.? Our minds are at our command and determine our moods.? We are by nature adaptable, just as the world is by nature changeable.? With the struggle comes merit.? We cannot achieve fulfillment without first ensuring that our bodies are sound, thanks to a healthy diet and lifestyle.? Mutual respect is the sine qua non of collective harmony.
? We must think carefully to define our own ideologies.? Love is the essence of life, its essential purpose.? The universe and our relative knowledge of it are founded on a fathomless mystery.
Thank you for your attention. I wish you every happiness!
Note: "1 Great Way to Improve Your Life" by Laurent Grenier is a chapter in the book "101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life," published by SelfGrowth.com, the #1 Internet resource center for achieving success and happiness in life.
This book is a gold mine of human wisdom by 101 experts in self-improvement. To buy a copy of this unique and wonderful book (which comes with a wealth of bonuses for under 15 USD!), please click on the link below.
.Laurent Grenier's career as a full-time writer and philosopher spans over twenty years.
He has released various articles in art and philosophical magazines. He has also written some philosophical essays, a collection of memories and thoughts, and a compendium of physiology and nutrition, still unpublished. His part autobiographical, part philosophical book "A Reason for Living" ? published in December 2004 under the NardisPress imprint (ISBN: 1589611659) ? constitutes his best work to date.
Official web site: http://laurentgrenier.com/ARFL.
html.Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Laurent_Grenier.
By: Laurent Grenier