Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Leading the 'Good' Life

Many of us occasionally ponder life’s deeper questions but quickly go back on cruise control and continue our quotidian existence. An unexpected death or sudden misfortune can prompt us to question the purpose of life and our role in it but rarely does it have a profound enough impact to completely change the way we live.  It’s usually after retirement, well into our 60s, that we have the time and inclination to focus on how to lead a good (read spiritual) life!

How does one stay focused inwards and maintain equanimity in face of all that life throws at us? How does one learn the art of dying, and in turn, the art of living fully? How does one consciously detach oneself from people and possessions alike?  How do we really live, not on autopilot, but deliberately? Every moment.

In my view, as a childfree person half the battle is already won.     
Choosing to be childfree requires conviction and courage. The choice might be clear but to stick by the decision isn’t easy.  And there is usually something deeper at play. Perhaps a desire to go against the grain and challenge societal norms.  Or an inner urge to confront the apparent meaninglessness of life head on instead of distracting oneself with the needs of one’s progeny for the next twenty years or more.    

Childfree couples deal with the big questions earlier on, often in their thirties and forties.

You think about death and in essence the purpose of your life. After all, what are you living for, whom are you earning for? Who will carry on your ‘legacy’? Who will you entrust all your valuable possessions to after your time on earth? 

You think about the question ‘No children? Then what next?’  What next?’ is a powerful question that begets more questions while proffering no answers.  

You think about feeling complete and confident within.  Without having to look outside of you. Without having to create anew.  You think beyond ‘My Family, my Kids’. Beyond ritualistic living. Beyond hypocrisies. Beyond conforming for the sake of it.

From a spiritual point of view, there’s certainly an element of self-selection in the desire to be child-free. Even otherwise, the absence of children – often the strongest attachments one can have – pushes people on the spiritual path at a younger age than usual. 

Whether from the perspective of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the Yogic way for salvation, or the Buddhist path to Nirvana – one seems a step closer to liberation. 

The path is already smooth and ready to be taken, but of course to walk on it is the real deal.