What Constitutes a “Good Life”?
This is a question that creeps into my mind periodically. In that moment, I allow my mind to wander and to contemplate. Is a good life about the accumulation of much wealth and prosperity? Is it about the gross indulgence in life’s many pleasures? Or is it about nurturing our innate need for association and affiliation? A need for friendship.
Through the experiences I have harvested in my life, I feel that four elements govern my life. These elements may not have all have been in balance all along but every moment is a new opportunity for me to participate in life. To be human, to think, to explore, and to discover; within and without.
1) Production and Creation. Life in itself is a miracle of creation. In whichever spiritual entity you believe in or lack thereof, you cannot deny creation. All humans, animals, plants, and cosmic powers and forces contain systems of energy in constant motion. They grow, they flourish, they become better, and they produce and create. In mimicking nature, I created 1914 Realty. I created an opportunity to challenge myself and to learn from my new experiences. I want to participate in this game of life and rest only long enough to muster up enough strength so propel forward again. Even water, in all of its glory and gifts to nature, when stagnant, begins to spoil.
2) Purpose. The ever-enduring question; why am I here? This is a vague concept with endless implications. My start point is: who am I? Everyday I work on defining myself and perfecting the art of self-mastery. We must first struggle with external factors that try to limit our thoughts and actions. We must then have an internal struggle and question our ideals and spiritual beliefs. This process will allow us to find answers. Not just convenient answers that are consistent with our current beliefs. But answers that challenge our reality and help us seek the truth.
3) Cultivating experiences. My most profound experiences have been deep and meaningful. I steer away from superficial and transient pleasures that don’t have a lingering effect for years to come. Connecting with my wife for an evening and sharing new food, culture, art, and music gives me a much more visceral and sustainable pleasure than perhaps a two-week vacation where I wasn’t entirely present in mind, body, and spirit. I strive to take every opportunity I can get to have new experiences that teach me and challenge my paradigm.
4) Great friendships. We have evolved into our modern society, which is built upon the foundation of relationships. Social relationships, work relationships, hierarchal relationships are a few examples. Friendships, perhaps, are the most important. A great friendship is a reciprocal attachment and a reflection of one self. What makes a great friend? Imagine an unfortunate sequence of events that ejects you into a foreign jail for some undue reason. Who would you call first? What would they do to get their best friend back? Would they fight for your life like it’s their own?
What constitutes a great life for you?