Life is a fickle b*tch.
There are only a few things we know for sure about being a person: we are mortal, we are finite, and we are limited.
Oh yeah, and we suffer—a lot.
All religions begin with the assumption that life is suffering. They have to. We can’t uncover well-being of spirit until we contend with the human tragedy.
You might be thinking “well, that’s harsh.”
No, what’s harsh is the human condition, and if we deny that life is suffering, we will most certainly find a way to make others suffer too.
We will die. Everyone we love will suffer and die. To run away from this brutal reality is to reject our own humanity—and nothing good happens when we reject our humanity.
We don’t know that much else, really.
There’s little we can say about the nature of the universe. We haven’t figured out why we’re here, exactly. As far as living well and having healthy relationships go…obviously none of us know sh*t about that. We don’t even really know that we die, because until we’re faced with death, it’s just an idea.
But suffering—we experience that in our body and soul, so we’re in no position to question its reality.
That’s the situation, boys and girls. Life is a crazy thing, and human beings are just as crazy. We are a part of this cosmic roller-coaster ride, and it’s up to us to steer it in the best direction possible.
And I wouldn’t say we’re all doing that at the moment.
There are many solutions to the problem of human suffering. We could become a narcissist and ignore our common humanity—seeking only superficial validation from others and worldly pleasures. That’s one way. We could take full responsibility for the human experience and live a meaningful life as an antidote to suffering. That’s probably better.
Or maybe—and this is where I’m going to take a more cheerful turn—we could live with our ass in the air.
Stay with me.
I was driving with my girlfriend yesterday, appreciating the vibrant colors of nature with the wind in our hair, and completely randomly, I stuck my ass up to the windshield and, twisting my body upside down, anchored my feet to the ceiling of the car.
I have no idea why I did this. It was really funny to me, for some reason. When my girlfriend turned toward me, we both broke out laughing in a beautiful hysteria. Then I thought to myself, “maybe this is how we were meant to live…with our ass in the air.” That just made me crack up even more. I’m still smiling as I write this just thinking about it.
For those who don’t know much about me, I’ve had a severe chronic illness for the better part of the last six years. It’s been a completely heart-wrenching and soul-crushing experience. Anyone who tells me life is not suffering comes off as a fool to me. I would say the qualities that have carried me through my experience of illness have been wonder and humor.
I guess this is what it means to live with our ass in the air—because when we’re in a state of wondrous humor, when we’re curious and elated observers of the beauty of existence, no f*cks are given.
No one who lives with their ass in the air gives a f*ck.
There are two ways to rise above suffering, in my experience. One is to laugh. If we have a reason to laugh, we have a reason to live.
The other is to wonder, which means delving curiously into the nature of things. Rather than immediately writing off pain or discomfort as a bad thing, we say, “Huh, that’s interesting.”
Both of these qualities allow us to recognize a truth that we might not have seen before, and that’s empowering.
Live with your ass in the air. Take a joy ride. Go sit in a field and watch the stars. Take things as they come, and f*ck everyone who tries to “put us in our place.”
Learn to laugh at the chaos of human life.
Be courageously curious, and don’t let any convention stop you from asking questions. Allow yourself to bear witness to the eternal dance of existence, and catch a glimpse of the infinite.
Life is a tragedy, a fickle b*tch, but it’s also the source of everything good, and there are many ways to lessen our suffering. Sing. Dance. Jump. Touch the sky with your heart. Feel the sh*t out of everything.
Life is always here, now, waiting patiently for us to discover the wisdom of nature. Beneath suffering there is truth. Breathe deep and seek peace, soul family.