I am curious about some of the responses I get to my July 17th post that there is no hard evidence that life is serious. “In fact, not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the argument that life is serious…”
*“Well, isn’t illness serious?” (The response of a nurse.)
*“Finding out that a loved one cheated on you is serious.” (I am betting this person experienced the pain of infidelity.)
*“Losing a job is real serious.” (Perhaps a politician’s response, but it could be a hard-working person, living hand-to-mouth.)
*“I’d say death is serious,” say the masses. (There’s pun possibilities there.)
Why do we find these things serious? Perhaps because we treat all relationships as serious. Or because we made vows to a lover. Or we made promises to pay our bills. Or because sickness compromises our ability to make good… But except for actual death, all of these issues that seem serious (illness, infidelity, unemployment) are not life-serious; they are “game-changers” or “life-changers” or “difficult challenges,” but they usually don’t bring us to the end of life. End of life is serious on many levels.
What makes me curious is the way that we quickly reach for reasons, supported by the most dire examples, of why life is serious, as if to say that if there is no hard evidence that life is serious, then life, our job, our relationship, or our health has no meaning.
What? Life must be serious to be meaningful? I challenge that idea because what happens in real life is we take tremendously small challenges and make them out as if they are serious life-changing episodes in order for our lives (jobs, relationships, health) to have “meaning.”
Meaning doesn’t really come from seriousness. Meaning comes from knowing who we are and where we are going. In order to know who we are, we must be curious, open, loving and aware. I call those living COLA. Curiosity allows us to get more information before we deem something serious. Openness allows us to accept what we do not otherwise consider. (Such as this blog post.) Love brings a situation close to our breast. Awareness allows us to see and hear more than we sensed before.
Living COLA will get rid of the syndrome of excessive seriousness. Living COLA feels good, too. And because one ingredient is curiosity, it is slow to label passing circumstances as serious; first, it’s curious.
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