A few days ago, I was lying in bed just thinking about life. Thinking about what I chose to do with it, what I do differently from the majority of people out there, what I'm trying to work on both internally and externally. This one thought eeked its way into my head.
"Why do you even bother?"
I stopped and listened to that question. It felt like up until then, everything had been floating in bliss, searching their way through the ether of the universe and boosting me along. Then, the question popped into my head and it all dropped to the ground. Why do I bother being a vegetarian when almost everyone I know could care less, "likes meat too much," or thinks I'm a picky eater? Why do I bother with this spiritual journey, learning to be more mindful, and being more at peace with myself and others when they're all hollering at me and using me as target practice for their own misery? Why bother loving? It can fucking hurt sometimes. Why bother being there for people when you find yourself completely alone when you need company the most?
Why bother? What is my reason? This wasn't supposed to be easy. If it were, then everyone would be enlightened Buddhas stepping lightly around with a half-smile plastered across their faces. All of our gazes would be eternally soft as we live our lives in semi-meditation mode. Instead, we're stalking around with a scowl, bleating at people, and hurting our environment.
There are philosophies meant to keep everything in focus such as Great Law of the Iroquois which implores you to think seven generations ahead for every action and decision you make. It's kind of scary to think that what you do right now can hold a lasting impact for the next 140 years. It certainly makes me feel better about the eco-friendliness of my vegetarian lifestyle. However, how does my spiritual growth right now affect any of these next seven generation?
Granted, it can help make my life more bearable for my short time on Earth, but how important is it really? We're just tiny ants with heavy burdens on our backs and eventually we're going to get stepped on and disappear. I know it sounds depressing, but that's exactly where my thoughts wandered. And I know some of you are probably saying that mindfulness is all about not letting your mind wander down paths such as these. But my problem was, I needed to know. I needed to know why. Am I so important that I must be enlightened? Why do I deserve that? Why does it matter?
The only answer I could come up with was that it was just right to do. It's the right thing. Loving people even though I get hurt? They needed that love and I was the one to give it to them despite whatever happens. Being there for people? I can't not be there for them. I can feel their pain almost as purely as they do and all I want is to give them what I would want if I were in their situation. There aren't any other options.
So why do I bother? Because there are no other options. Selfishness isn't an option. Hiding isn't an option. Pain and suffering is a part of life and in a way, it reminds me that I'm doing the right thing. The least I can do is leave a trail of good where I go.