This is a nice idea but unless there’s a good alternative it’s hard to escape the world of comparison. We are constantly compared when applying for jobs, loans, and friends. The best example for me is knowing that most Americans have more gadgets that someone from the 1980s could imagine but it’s still not enough. Live is not about having a cell phone. It’s about having a better cell phone than your peer. This arms race is also true in the animal kingdom as the cheetah and the gazelle continuously evolve for speed just to keep up. As long as our perspective is attached to this life and living the best like I can, it will always be about some comparison or the other.
Let’s move to the ultimate example. The life expectancy of human has increased by many years around the world. We are constantly searching for new medication to extend life even longer, but people still want more. Most don’t turn 50 and say, “Hey, every going forward is just icing on the cake.” Instead we get mad at doctors for not being able to cure our ills. But why is it so important to stay alive? Why are all living being so attached to survival? What’s so bad about being dead? This is an interesting question because I don’t believe most people evaluate the amount of suffering they’re bringing to themselves and the world by holding so tightly onto life.
Once you stop caring about just surviving you can truly start living in the present. But how do you do that? What is the alternative path? Vipassana has shown me something interesting. It has shown me how to make the most of every moment I have on this planet. When walking on the path of dharma, somehow I know that I’m contributing to the world in the best possible way. Suddenly I realize that worrying about when I’m going to die or the choices I’ve made in the past is a waste of time and is actually contributing to the suffering on the planet. Vipassana has helped me learn how to stop comparing my life to the people around me. Without Vipassana, I’m not sure if it’s possible. This might not make sense to you if you’ve never tried meditation but maybe it’s intriguing enough to encourage you to give it a try. I’m a long way from living in this ideal way, but I’m slowly, day by day, learning how. Time to meditate.