It’s sunny, warm, a beautiful afternoon – I’m lying on the beach under some palm trees listening to the waves rolling in… but I don’t feel happy. Looking up at the leaves I can’t stop thinking, Is this really what I should be doing right now?
My businesses aren’t where I want them to be. My finances aren’t where I want them to be. And I’m sitting on the beach?
Shouldn’t I be making money right now?
Shouldn’t I be working on a blog post right now?
Shouldn’t I be writing my book right now?
This continues for a while, before I start getting annoyed with myself for not enjoying the setting –
You’re literally lying on the beach, I think next, and you’re not happy. What’s wrong with you? Plenty of people would kill to be here. Why can’t you just enjoy things in life? Why can’t you appreciate this for what it is?
“The beach just doesn’t do it for me,” I think next – rationalizing it now. “It does something for other people, but not for me. I don’t get the same thing out of it.”
I keep thinking like this for a while longer until finally something makes me get up and go down to the shore. The sun is setting now and I start walking back and forth on the beach, right along the shoreline where the waves are breaking on the sand.
Kids are playing in the water, and their dad is taking pictures. A few couples return from snorkelling, pulling their boats in to shore as it’s getting darker now.
I walk slowly back and forth, feeling the sand and water mixing under my feet. Looking down at the infinite number of little grains I’m reminded of a story Ram Dass tells about his teacher Neem Karoli Baba –
Ram Dass is in India and there’s great turmoil in Bangladesh – millions are suffering and children are starving and dying. Ram Dass is concerned about the situation and conflicted over whether to go help — about what to do in the face of such extreme suffering.
He goes to his teacher Maharajji, who sees he is upset and says, “Ram Dass, don’t you see it’s all perfect?”
[Don’t you see it’s all perfect?]
Walking on the beach looking at the sand – you would never doubt that the sand or the beach are perfect. Every little piece is exactly where it should be – even with all the millions of little grains, not a single one is out of place. How could it be?
Every wave out on the ocean rolls in exactly as it should. Each wave is perfect in the way that it forms and breaks, and the whole ocean is perfect. How could it not be?
It’s perfect – that’s what I’m thinking now, still walking back and forth – It’s all perfect. Every grain of sand, every wave, every cloud in the sky – the whole sky – every tree – they’re all exactly as they should be.
My logical brain kicks in – “All these little grains of sand, in exactly the right place. That’s a lot of variables – more than any human life contains. And they’re all exactly perfect…”
How could all the things in your little life not be?
All the the things you do or don’t do, the experiences you have, or don’t have, all the aspirations and the striving, all the successes and the failure – all perfect.
All the desire, the yearning, the gains and the losses, the goals you achieve or don’t – it’s all perfect. How could it not be?
I keep walking along slowly, still feeling the sand and water mixing under my feet –
All the work you do or don’t do, all the money you make, spend, save, invest – all the businesses you start or don’t start, the companies you build or don’t – all perfect.
A pair of girls were taking photos on the beach and start to leave – one of them waves to me, I wave back and start thinking about girls –
All the girls you talk to or don’t, the ones you sleep with or don’t. All the girls you love and the ones who’ll love you, the ones who break your heart or whose heart you’ll break. They’re all perfect. The kids you have or don’t have, the family you have or don’t – that’s perfect too.
All the places you visit or don’t visit, the people you meet or don’t meet, all the things you see, the travelling you do or don’t do. All the poor children who walk around at night selling flowers or collecting bottles instead of going to school – that’s perfect too.
And all the suffering, the pain, fear, tragedy, loss – even the depression, that’s perfect too.
All the things you create or don’t, discover or don’t discover, all the change you do or don’t make happen. The life you build for yourself or don’t build – it’s all perfect.
All the thoughts and feelings that come and go – every time you feel the wind or take a step, wake up in the morning or fall asleep at night – it’s all perfect.
Philosophy got it wrong – “is” and “ought” are the same thing. Every part of it is perfect. It’s hard to see or accept sometimes, but that’s part of it too.
I see my friend walking over now and I’m about to be interrupted – that’s ok. He shows me some photos he’s taken and I say they look nice (they do).
The sun’s long gone now and we’re the only ones left on the beach. We’re here and everyone else is gone, Why is that? I think now. We decide to get something to eat and make our way back up – I’m feeling a lot better now.
Maybe the beach does do it for me after all.
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