Do you find yourself getting emotionally bothered by the workings of everyday life?
Me too. All the time!
Every morning I wake up fresh and ready to take on the day with optimism and high spirits. One hour into my morning and I already find myself being annoyed by the natural little occurrences of every day life.
For instance, I walk to the car and I am greeted with a fresh coat of bird poop all over the hood and my insides begin to rage. I find out that the purse I purchased last week just went on sale and now I regret not waiting 7 more days to buy it. I see an advertisement for a university and begin to wish I had pursued my PhD. I begin to work and become sidetracked by a co-worker who is twiddling her thumbs and is getting away with it and my insides get coated with anger.
I am barely 2 hours into my day and I have already begun to obsessively think about my mistakes, over analyze my past and future and I’ve gotten myself upset over something that a bird did.
The human experience is intense. Our senses are constantly tickled and we spend a lot of our time and emotional energy into things. We engage in unnecessary quarrels, pursue perfection, relentlessly chase our goals and aspire to get rich. We are willing to make great sacrifices to get to the top at the expense of countless headaches. But how much of that matters in the grand scheme of things?
All things move in accord with their appointed times; they are destined to be born, to grow, and be destroyed. The stars which you see moving above us, and this seemingly immovable Earth to which we cling and on to which we set, will be consumed and cease to exist – Seneca
Step back from your self. Imagine viewing yourself sitting on your chair from a telescope.
Now begin to zoom out.
You are one person in your house of 5. Zoom back a bit and you are one person in your city of 6.1 million. Zoom back a tiny bit more and you are one person in your province of 13.6 million. Zoom out just a little further and you are one person in your country of 37.7 million. Zoom a bit more out and you are person out of 7.8 billion!
Do you feel small?
Zoom a tad bit back…
Now you are merely a tiny speck on the Earth among in the Milky Way Galaxy that contains between 150-200 billion stars!
You and I are truly insignificant compared to the giant land masses, oceans, mountains, planets, suns, stars and galaxies that surround us. Countless lives have lived before you and will live after you.
The Stoics would say that in the grand scheme of things the things you spend your time and energy into that produce anger and anxiety in you and disrupt your serenity are not worth it.
When the Earth is swallowed up by the Sun it will not matter how much money you had or how big your house was or who cut you off on your drive home from work. All the efforts that you put in at the expense of your inner peace will not matter when you die.
So why fuss?
This does not mean that you should fall into hopelessness and despair. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set goals for yourself and work towards them. It does not mean that you should quit dreaming and stop standing for justice and doing what is right.
When you keep into perspective how small and unimportant you are in the grand scheme of thing you free and humble your mind and body.
When you realize how insignificant and short human life is what you think matters actually matters less. The things that you agonize over, the regrets that you have, the sadness that you feel will not be worth your precious time and energy that could otherwise be put towards eliminating your own suffering as well as of those around you.
Our short lives are nestled between an infinite past and an infinite future.
There will be many more mornings where bird poop will be waiting for me on my car. I can therefore cry about it or wipe it off and carry on.