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Fighting for Life – Fighting for My Life

February 12, 2012

When I training, I take a few knocks. A punch, a kick, a mistimed block all result in bruises and pain. But still I love it, not because I love pain, but because the pain is a way to something more. Only through taking a few hits can I learn. The same seems to be true of life. Pain and sadness seem to be part of the whole. I can’t seem to get one without the other.

I heard recently that I create my own unhappiness. That if I am unhappy, then it is my fault because it is my mind, and only my mind that is creating that unhappiness. I am supposed just to turn it off, or otherwise unhappiness is what I really want, and I therefore I shouldn’t expect any sympathy from anyone else.

There is some truth in this. I can indeed only be hurt by someone else’s words, or be unhappy by situations, if I allow those things into my mind. In short I can only be hurt if I give the thing hurting me the power to do so. But this ignores so much.

First, we are social creatures. Indeed, a large part of our success as a species is not down to opposing thumbs, a big brain, or bipedal motion. No, our success has come because we work together. A group of hunters can bring down game far too big for one person alone. In a group you can take risks, if one person is injured it isn’t certain death. They can be fed and protected by the rest of the group until they recover, and so on. To sum up, we are hard wired to work as a group and therefore are hard wired to know that social acceptance and the opinions of others does matter.

Second, the original argument about happiness is based firmly on the assumption that happiness is the ultimate good. That unhappiness is wrong; ‘evil’ even. The same would seem to be true of pain or suffering. But is this true? Is happiness what we should strive for. Is pain always to be avoided?

Without unhappiness how can we ever recognise or even appreciate happiness?  Happiness needs unhappiness to give it definition. Furthermore, pain and suffering have made me who I am, have made me more than I could ever have been otherwise.

With my martial arts, bruises and pain are not necessarily bad. These things are often a necessary part of learning my art, and are often good things. For example, two guys from my club recently graded. Both passed their grading and were proud of the many bruises gained. These bruises and the pain made them feel good, they felt a sense of worth, they knew they had earned their grading pass.

Happiness and sadness, pain and pleasure, all make up life. To only want happiness, to only want pleasure, is to give up on life: Is to refuse to experience the fullness of life, simply because life isn’t always safe or nice. Well get real! Life isn’t always nice. I don’t want just one part of life; I want life, and life in all its fullness.  I fight tooth and nail, no holds barred, for life; for my life and for others to have a chance at life too.  I am fighting for life,  fighting for my life.

This will mean that I am unhappy at times, I will be in pain, but I will also be ALIVE.

Life means taking a few hits. So, I don’t want happiness or pleasure, at least not as my goal in life. I want to act rightly, do justly and walk humbly with my god. I want a contentment with whatever life brings; to revel in the privilege of life while I can. And after that I hope for an even greater serving of life. But even if I’m wrong, if there is nothing after this life, then I have all the more reason to live my life to the full, to seek to be fully alive, right up to the moment that I’m not!

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