I still wonder why I’m here, and that’s fine.

I will be 71 in three months and I’m still looking for answers to two questions: why am I here? and how should I live?

One thing I’ve learned so far is that you don’t need to know the answer to why? in order to address how? My answers to why? have changed so frequently and so radically that I’ve had to get on with how? regardless of why?

Besides why? may not be a good question. In my case I suspected that it was drilled into my head by priests and nuns to set up the god? question. I thought that on our own, we’re more likely to ask: Why is this happening to me? Why me? And then: who am I? Who do I want to be? Or, what do I want?

So, now I see that I didn’t need 16 years of Catholic schooling to get hung up on why? The question “why am I here?” really arises out of the question of “who am I?” And “who am I?” starts with the question “what do I want?”

The god? question and the who? question are two sides of the same question. No wonder the Buddha comes out on the same side of both questions, not needing a supreme, creator being and not needing an immortal soul. And not needing definitive answers to the why? question either. Just a way to live, to answer how? in practice.

 

 

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