Chapter 5 How do we savor life’s bouquet?

第五章 如何欣賞生命的花朵

5. How do we savor life’s bouquet?

I find that one of the greatest conundrums that an educator faces is to how to reconcile the joyous and boisterous faces that you see on your students in a high school classroom with the desultory and seemingly embittered twenty-something-year-olds that sit on their scooters at a stop light or stand listlessly scrolling on their cell phones virtually everywhere else. The reason, “in a nutshell”: unrequited angst. They have not been given the tools to deal with an increasingly complex “universe” -- their universe. When I have been told all my life that these are the rules of “the game of life” and I work diligently and play the contest well and now this; I am allowed to be shocked and resentful, am I not? To stumble into a job interview that goes positively, only to receive a trifling bit of money and a laconic and nasty boss is, to say the least, earth-shattering. The look on their faces has already been painted by Van Gogh (1853-1890) in the Potato Eaters.1

Where do we go from here, is a more important question? “Where am I standing?” “You are standing right in front of me.” Of course, Sadhguru2 would say that is not the answer. In reality, I am standing inside of you. You have taken my image, through your optic nerves, into your own consciousness. There, your history and life experiences evaluate me. Whether you see me as fat or thin, tall or short, intelligent or stupid, is of your own creation -- your own construction. The problem is that you see yourself in the same way. You have not been given the tools to evaluate you as an entity, so to speak, functioning in the world. You are left to feel, upon graduation from university, like a leaf in a raging river: beautiful and resplendent, but with absolutely no sense of direction whatsoever. Many young people, I believe, are left to feel that this experience is unique to this generation. It is not: young people have been in a state of trepidation since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution3 if not before.

The secret, however, is to learn a set of skills to minimize the frustration. We need to assist everyone in the realization that you can only find your “true calling” through effort and intensity. Firstly, in high school, one must have a list of “My Gifts” -- what I am good at and what I am bad at. For example: I am very good at talking, but I am extremely shy. I realized when I was fifteen that if I ever wanted to speak publicly, it would be necessary to control this phenomenon. Then, upon graduation from university, you will be presented with three or four choices. You must then choose one, even if it subsequently proves to be the wrong choice, and act: Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule.4 It is only through concerted and long-term effort will you find your “true calling.” You must simply be honest with who you are.

I find that the greatest frustration each of us experiences is the knowledge that “I” exist. I am not 100% sure if you do, but I know that I do. We are then left to reconcile this realization with the day-to-day occurrences of life. Many people, I suspect, do not know that they are truly alive. They go through the motions of life -- its burps and blusters – but they have no real feeling for its God-given gift: a cadeau that is given, but once, in this reality. If anything, proportionately, more young people today know that they have consciousness than they did in previous generations. This is due to social media and good nutrition. In the end, if we keep pushing and encouraging, this generation will take its place as influential and earth-changing in world history.5

5. 如何欣賞生命的花朵