How do we determine when to declare that our life works?
The word “works” usually refers to a function to (easily) accomplish a given task. That task may be broad, like live in society, confront apparent limitations, keep a positive attitude, take care of your family and your health, or to be friendly.
1. Probably the easiest way is just to declare that life works now. That is a dynamic definition, not a static one. We’re not saying that everything is perfect. We are saying that when I look, choose, and act, those actions bear fruit. If the fruit doesn’t come then I am not blocked, but able to alter my course, look, choose and take up another more effective action. I am also able to back off of that avenue, and find other rewarding pursuits.
2. The difference between “works” and “doesn’t work” is often just a focus. We are then looking at only one aspect of the situation. But there’s something that works in everyone’s life, even if it is small. Many people complain that nothing works for them, but that can’t be true or they would be dead.
If our focus goes through a significant upward shift, we declare something is working. How big a shift does that take, and what evidence in our circumstances will satisfy us that it is true? In other words, part of that upward shift of focus is that we chose to shift focus. And part of that shift is that circumstances seemed to change enough to merit a new definition. Which came first? We usually think that circumstances will shift our focus. Can focus shift our circumstances?
3. What we focus on effects our openness or closeness. If we focus on doom, we feel bad and brace ourselves for pain. What new circumstance can flow into those feelings? Doesn’t that just reinforce the appearance of what we are afraid of? If we focus on what seems to be working (however small) we feel encouraged and positive. Wouldn’t this be the best scenario if we wanted to let that circumstance change for the better?
4. We hear reports of finding an “ultimate wisdom”, indicating the existence an ultimate reality. But our choice of focus, and if we claim our life is working or not have nothing to do with that. Life working is a relative phenomenon. It is just a significant upward shift. It has nothing to do with any ultimate reality.
Anything given the label ultimate would be a disconnect from what is not ultimate, the relative. I say that since ultimate is not the sum of any amount relative parts. A disconnect is the ground for what we call “not working”. The way in which we know and reference life is never ultimate. We may imagine something about life is ultimate, but please show us where that factor touches ground.
I am OK with saying death is the ultimate. But I have infinite patience to wait and find if that is really true.