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My Philosophy of Life, Essay Example

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Essay

In all honesty, the subject here causes me some problems, at least at first.  In simple terms,  I am not at all sure that I want any type of philosophy of life.  In my mind this would somehow translate to a kind of limitation, or an “outlook” that might prevent me from taking in new experience and actually learning more about what life truly means.  I have known people who strongly believe in a positive viewpoint, for instance.  Their life philosophies are based on seeking the good in the world around them, and I am certainly not about to argue with such beliefs.  At the same time, I feel that such a way of thinking creates borders.  It is a philosophy as a focus, and I do not believe that life may be so confined, or neatly fit into any such approach.  In all fairness, I have the same opinion regarding those who practice philosophies of extreme caution, or who believe that life is an arena in which they are entitled to take as much as possible.  Put another way, whenever I have actually heard or read of a life philosophy, my first thought is invariably that life may not nicely accommodate it.  Life, as I see it, has ideas all its own and is not concerned with how anyone chooses to view it.

I am aware that, even in saying this, I am in a sense offering a philosophy anyway.  I imagine that is my own dilemma, and one I should at least try to explore.  I think back on my life thus far, then, and am struck by one consistent factor: it has never failed to surprise me, in ways both good and bad.  Even when experience has been painful, I have sometimes been aware that I do not respond to it in a pained way.  Similarly, I have gone through whole periods of my life when everything was going well, yet I have felt a sense of dissatisfaction.  I know that my reactions in all ways are powerfully influenced by the world around me.  I have been disappointed in not feeling happy, I know, because the circumstances were supposed to make me feel that way, and everyone around me encouraged this as natural.  Still, those feelings of happiness have sometimes eluded me, just as I have been strangely empowered or happy when things have gone wrong.  How can I even consider a “philosophy,” then, when I cannot even follow the course of thinking and feeling in place for the rest of the world?  No matter how I move through my life, it always seems that I am not in a place where a common perception about living matches how I truly think and feel, so I tend to veer from any ideology.  It is not that I disagree with them; it is that, for me, they do not fit.

This then brings me to another question: what is it that I think life is?  If I can better understand that, I may be on my way to realizing that there is a philosophy for me.  After all, there can be no real and consistent view of a thing without an idea of the thing itself.  Unfortunately, I “hit a wall” here as well.  Great minds have struggled to define life since humanity began, and each seems to have ideas as valid as those different from them.  For some, it is meaningless, a kind of dream in which we act our parts to no real purpose.  For others, life is a boundless opportunity to grow spiritually and expand the mind and heart to unlimited potentials.  For most people, I think, life occupies more of a middle ground; it can be fantastic and enabling, just as it can be empty when no purpose is in sight.  In other words, it seems that there is no incorrect view or philosophy of life because it may be, simply, anything and everything at all.  Given this thinking, I am not encouraged.  I am, in fact, more inclined to see any effort at capturing a philosophy an exercise in futility.

When I then allow myself to take this thinking further, however, it seems that I may be nearing the thing I see as pointless or impossible.  That is, since I view life as far too unpredictable to be subject to a single approach or philosophy, I then begin to understand my own role in the entire process.  I think of what I earlier said, in regard to mt feelings not following usual patterns and my tendency to react to “life” in unexpected ways.  It occurs to me that I am then missing a crucial element in this scenario: myself.  I think: everyone, great mind or otherwise, who has wondered about life has done so in the same way, in that the views and feelings must be created by their own life itself.  We can seek to see beyond our own experience, but I must wonder at how realistic that ambition is.  We are all tied to who and what we are, whether that being is expansive or not; in all cases, the individual can only define life through what the individual has experienced and is capable of perceiving from the experience.  Life is the self, in a very real sense.  We are not channels out outside elements in some vast, inexplicable equation; we are the equation because life is literally what we make it.  This happens through actual “living” and action, and it happens equally through our perceptions.

I then begin to feel that I am nearing a truth.  I am life, and life is not some external essence I must consider.  At the same time, everyone and everything around me is life as well, just as validly as I am.  Here, then, is where I can shape a philosophy.  It is not a structure, or even a foundation.  Rather, it is more an impression accepted.  It is that life is a thing completely bound to myself, and in “partnership” with me.  It is, most important of all, never fixed.  It cannot be, because every moment changes who I am in some way, and because of this intense and purely exponential relationship with the life around me.  Life will always be the moment or direction currently affecting or guiding me, and in every sense of living.  When my spirit is at its strongest, life is a generous and fine thing because that is what I am giving to it, and life affirms this reality by taking what I can give.  When I am small and involved with minor issues or feelings, life shrinks to a cell because I am unable then to see beyond a cell.  I referred to what I know is a cliché, in that life is what we make it.  This is, however, profoundly true in a literal sense.  As I think this is my philosophy, I restate it as: life is what I create, which in turn reflects and creates me.

While I am content with this definition, I am as well unwilling to leave it as so lacking in structure.  More exactly, while I firmly believe in the self/life reciprocity I have described, and while I believe this must be a fluid state of being, I nonetheless comprehend that even this shifting relationship places responsibilities on me.  On one level, and no matter how “life and I” go on, I believe in good and evil.  I believe these are actual forces or energies in the world, and I believe that my mind and my heart must always be directed to knowing and promoting good when I can.  This is not necessarily virtuous on my part; I see it more as an acceptance of a reality as basic as the air we breathe.  The complex process of life is endlessly open to possibilities generated by my involvement with it, but there remains in the universe, at least in my perception, these polar elements.  True meaning is as powerful a thing as good, and meaning may only come when good is pursued, and I believe this because I believe that evil is emptiness.  Whatever life becomes for me, then, there is a primal direction to know.

Lastly, there is as well an obligation linked to good, which is that of being expansive.  I cannot expect much of life if I do not open myself to the possibilities in place when my openness meets the limitless offerings of what is outside of myself.  This is that partnership in place, and when I am doing my part in giving my utmost to it.  Strangely, this is not a giving related to effort; rather, it is more a willingness to accept.  When I consider all of this, in fact, I find that my philosophy is more complex than I had thought.  It insists on my exponential relationship with living as creating life, yet it also demands real awareness.  It is open to the new, but it is observant of basic principles.  It is what is known through my eyes, but it relies on my expanding my sight to make the most of it.  More than anything, my philosophy of life is one that brings life right to me side, always.  It holds to the conviction that, no matter how we make it happen, life is what the world around me and I shape every moment.

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