With a creative change in our outlook, we can appreciate the fact that life is indeed a friend. With that shift in our mental disposition, our life circumstances would change to the better and improve our confidence and love of life.

Life on this planet is hard. It is made harder by our own mental disposition. Most people seem to approach life with a defensive shield. Can we be friends with life and, in turn, let it carry us affectionately in its bosom? Sounds great, but how does this happen? Enthusiastic exploration in that direction can be interesting and transforming.

It would be good to understand the hidden currents of life and let that understanding guide us so that we can see the need and possibility of harmony with life, rather than be at cross currents with it. It is also necessary to be clear about what makes us be governed by fear rather than by an adventurer’s attitude. When we apply ourselves to these things, we begin to see the causal factors that alienate us from life. Such explorations bring in a strange confidence and make us understand that life is a friend.

Factors of Alienation: It is helpful to understand the factors of alienation because our awareness in that direction can free us from parting company with life. Those factors are primarily psychological and are a result of inherited and acquired neurological habit of mankind. Because that habit has the momentum of centuries, it is not easy to be immune to it. However, with deep interest in that direction it is possible to understand how that habit enslaves us. In that very understanding, we avoid falling a prey to it. The following paragraphs explain some of the major factors of alienation.

Self-importance: The conventional neurology makes us form an image about ourselves based on the bodily form and our strength, weakness, success and failure. The image is also based on identification with a nation, religion, race, language etc. Our waking-time psychology is largely governed by the protective attitude sponsored by that image. In other words, the image creates the separation between our true Being and life. The process of how this image is formed and sustained by the thought-running habit of our minds is the key factor to be aware of. The image, which is the ego, is due to unawareness; so only awareness can dissolve it. Can one live without the image? For handling the practical matters of life, an identity is necessary. The thing that does the harm is not that identity but the emotionally formulated image of oneself driven by self-importance. Attention is necessary to perceive the content of that image and how it alienates us from life. J. Krishnamurti’s talks throw clear light on this matter of the image.

The emotionally formulated image is constantly afraid of being offended. So it is full of defensive attitudes and that is how it develops a shield against life. It cannot say, “I will wholeheartedly accept life the way it comes.” In its anxiety, it clings to some system, religious or otherwise, so it can feel safe. Thus, one aspect of the shield is the emotional attachment to a system. Our relationship to people is also based on that image; hence, it is afraid of losing them through their demise or otherwise. That kind of fear plays a significant role in the alienation from life. So the exploratory question here is: Can one live without this emotionally formulated image of oneself? Examination along that line begins to dissolve the image. It can be fun!

Lack of Application: There is generally a tendency to be hooked on to the result of our efforts. The result, no doubt, has a rightful place, but to be emotionally attached to it takes away the joy of application. When we enjoy the process, the result would be generally good. Even if the result is adverse, it will not land us in depression; we will have the boldness to face the result with equanimity. So the key factor here is the wholehearted application to the process. Then the fear of having to face a negative result does not come in and alienate us from life. Further, a joyous attention to the process gives importance to the ‘Now’, whereas being attached to the result causes anxiety about the future. Such anxieties make us part company with life.

Lack of Adventurous Attitudes: There is a general tendency to play safe. No doubt, it is wise to do so because otherwise one may indulge in foolhardy endeavors. However, to be bold wisely can be a matter of being intelligently adventurous. This attitude is needed to be a friend of life.

Narrow-minded Perspectives: Most people have their minds revolving within a narrow sphere of perspectives. This allows the ego to have its ways – one of the prime factors in making us part company with life. It is possible to wonder about the vast scheme of things of which our own life is a small part. To pay attention to those aspects of life widens our perspectives. By the way, it can also help us stay out of the merely utilitarian approach to religion. Then religion can take us into deeper insights, especially when it combines with the philosophic reflections on life. Further, such topics as astronomy and paleontology remind us of the immensity of space and time and widen our perspectives about life. Messages from paranormal phenomena, such as the near death experience (NDE) and the out-of-body experience (OBE), can also help us expand the vista of our awareness.

Being Driven by the “I”, “Me” and the “Mine”: The conventional neurology usually arrests our attention heavily on the self-centered approach to life. Self-care is necessary and is different from getting lost in self-interest. To pay attention to others, to be empathic, can make one’s life spiritually rich. In that process, one understands what it means to chime in with life.

There are many other issues of life which can make us appreciate the fact that life is a friend and hence help us live vibrantly. Related matters are covered in the website http://spirituality.yolasite.com

Author's Bio: 

Gopalakrishnan T. Chandrasekaran was born in Madras (now Chennai), India. He received his doctoral degree in Coastal Engineering from the North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA in 1978; served on the research and teaching faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, the North Carolina State University and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait.
Aside from his professional involvements, he was interested in the philosophic issues of life for the last forty years or so. This led him to the messages of Ramana Maharishi, Lao Tzu, J Krishnamurthy, UG Krishnamurthy, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Eckhart Tolle, Marcus Aurelius and similar Masters. His book entitled “In Quest of the Deeper Self” is the outcome of his reflections on those and his wish to share the outcome with others.
Gopalakrishnan is a member of the International Association for Near Death Studies, Durham, NC, USA. He lives in Kodaikanal, a hill town in the southern part of India, with his wife Banumathy who also received her doctoral degree from the North Carolina State University, in Organic Chemistry. Now they are both retired and currently involved in developing a fruit farm at a village 20 km from their residence. They have a daughter and son who are both married and settled.
Blog: http://nde-thedeeperself.blogspot.com