Saturday, February 11, 2012

Perspective

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking up at the stars."
- Oscar Wilde.


Another saying which expresses a similar idea, put in a slightly different way: "Two men looked out from prison bars, one saw mud, the other saw stars."

The idea being that we are all doomed to die and will all experience misfortune at some point in our lives, but as long as we are still alive things could always be worse. We always have a choice how we respond to misfortune, we can either be optimistic or pessimistic. We can either have hope that things will change for the better, and actually try to do something about it, or we can give up in despair thinking that nothing can be done and things will only get worse.

Just because you are in an unpleasant set of circumstances now, doesn't mean you can't find something positive to think about or to be thankful for. That no matter how terrible things seem to be, as long as you have the capacity to think and to feel and to love and to hope, and have the ability to see, hear, taste, touch, or smell, there is always something out there to enjoy and to be appreciative of, even if it's something as simple as a flower, a breath of fresh air, or a cleansing shower, the stars in the sky, or a simple meal that satisfies.

The most difficult of all misfortunes though is when you are in a great deal of pain, when you are actually physically ill and dying, it is almost impossible to look on the bright side of things. I suppose in such a situation, you need to try to find your peace, to rise above the pain, if it is at all possible, and prepare for death. I don't know how to help you there. But if the condition is treatable, all energy should be focused on that, doing everything in your power to get well, to get the food or medicine needed to recover.

Health is the foundation of life, without it nothing else really matters; all else is lost without it. Anywhere there is suffering, if the issue is disease, or lack of food, clean water, shelter, sanitation and medical treatment, those issues MUST be fixed before any other improvements to one's psychological quality of life can occur. You can try to think on the bright side, but if you're starving to death the only thing that will help you is food. What you can do is try not to panic or freak out, but concentrate all energy toward the goal of getting what you need to solve your problem.

That's the main point of this post, that whatever problems you have, even if you live in a horrible place around horrible people, as long as you have your health, your other problems could be much worse, and although it may take some time, they are not impossible to solve. But if you have poor health, are sickly, injured, or in pain, you really need to address that first, before you can effectively solve any of your other problems.

Health comes first. Health is your number one priority. If you have your health, but not your freedom, or your happiness, be thankful for your health; because no matter what terrible circumstances you are in, as long as you have your health, freedom and happiness will always be possible.

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