The Heaviest of Burdens…

Milan_Kundera-by Elisa Cabot

Milan Kundera by Elisa Cabot

“The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground…

…The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?” ― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Life is a burden, it is also a gift. Sometimes we experience the weight of it, and sometimes we are uplifted by the gift it offers us. To have the experience of being. Just being here, now, like this. Human.

It is a blessing in disguise, in many disguises and guises.

Being human is multi-layered and multi-faceted. At times it seems to be simple, but most of the time it is complex. We are caught between many thoughts, desires, feelings, and beliefs. We are doing one thing while believing it is what we should do, yet we are thinking that we should be doing something else, while desiring something which seems beyond our reach wondering if we should chase it or stay put, and feeling alternately good about ourselves and bad about ourselves.

We look for ways to justify an action, or confirm a belief, have a thought proved right, a desire fulfilled or a feeling acknowledged.

Please tell me I’m right, tell me I’m good… but I won’t believe you. I can’t. My thoughts tell me otherwise. Yet… please try and convince me I’m wrong that I’m bad.

We are so complicated.

For every satisfaction we get, another dissatisfaction arises prompting us to satisfy it.

Sometimes being human is exhausting. When do we ever get to rest? Not when we sleep. Our dreams haunt us with all the stuff buried in our subconscious. Or we can’t sleep because we have too much to do, or because our minds just won’t shut up. When we do get some dreamless sleep, our alarm goes off seconds later and tells us it is time to be conscious again. Ugh! So tired.

And so another day begins. More actions, thoughts, desires, feelings and beliefs to deal with. Not just our own, but those of everyone else in this world.

Some people seem above it all. But are they? Or are they just pretending? Hard to tell sometimes, because there are moments when life itself just appears to be one giant and long game of make believe. With reality dependent on the person who makes us believe their version of reality most convincingly. But still, even if we accept someone else’s version of reality, somewhere inside we doubt it because we have our own version which lives within us and which we live, even if we adopt another’s way of life.

The heaviest of burdens is often the one which inspires us the most. In many ways. In urges us to find a way to escape it, get rid of it, unload the weight. In our search to free ourselves we find things, maybe not a way to remove what weighs heavily upon us, but other things which change the way we experience being human and being alive. Maybe indirectly it lightens our load.

The heaviest of burdens makes us suffer, and as much as suffering is awful it is also what connects us to others. It attaches, but is attachment something to be severed or strengthened?

We all suffer. Without suffering we can’t understand the suffering of others. We remain aloof, detached, disconnected.

It would be nice to be pain-free, but not as nice as we believe it would be. Those who attempt to live without pain tend to float off into insignificance for the rest of us because we can’t relate to them. They are above us and the clouds envelop them and off they go… out of sight, out of mind…

Maybe we would like to have what they have, or not have what they don’t have, but… then what?

Many have found ways to alleviate their pain, yet they still retain the knowledge of that pain. They share their ways hoping that it may help others. They seek no gratitude, they are just sharing. It’s what humans do because it is an intrinsic part of being human. We share our pain, we share our cures for pain. We share being human and our experiences of it. Sharing is a wonderful act of connection, as well as being not so wonderful at times. Everything has a flip side.

Those who seek gratitude for their help, for their disconnected sharing, they are above and you are below, are not being helpful at all. They are offering us a cure for one pain by giving us another pain for us to bear. They are distracting us from ourselves by making themselves our primary concern. Look at me, stop looking at yourself. I am helping you, therefore I am better than you, therefore you owe me… and I need you to support my version of reality where I am above and you are below. They need us more than we need them, we anchor them, without us, they float away into insignificance.

But you… what happens to your version of reality, of being human, when you give it up for someone else, for their version?

Nothing. It’s still there within you. And the same applies to your identity.

Want to know who you are? You are who you are. Every detail of your life, of you, is you.

Don’t like yourself? Perhaps you need to look at yourself from a different angle because you are worth seeing, and seeing is believing, but seeing has many views. Who made you believe you are not beautiful, not worthy, not wonderful? Why? Break that mirror, those seven years of bad luck for breaking a mirror may be the luckiest years of your life, better than living under the illusion that you are ugly, unworthy, and less than you are! Don’t want to break the mirror, then just take it off the wall and look behind it… most mirrors, especially ones with human faces have something, a motive, hiding behind them. The person who tells you that you are ugly may not see you at all, their motive lies within how they see themselves, perhaps they are using you to make themselves appear more beautiful… but how can someone who makes others ugly be beautiful?

Your burden is your gift. You are a beautiful soul living a very human life. Embrace it and make it yours. You are worth it!

Take care of yourself.