In order to live a rewarding life we must overcome absurd resentments, because resentments poison the spirit and open cracks between people and countries.
Where there are resentments life becomes difficult and troublesome and the world turns into a heavy burden. It is hard to experience resentment, because not only is it a negative emotion that effects you individually, it also effects your relationships with others. People do not wish to be close to someone who is full of resentments because his or her discomfort seeps out beyond their own skin and turns everything a shade of grey. Those who manage to liberate themselves from resentment feel mentally and emotionally more agile, allow the current of thoughts and emotions to flow freely like a river and the mind ceases to focus obsessively on one moment in the past. They are freer and live life more flexibly. Freeing yourself from your resentments is like shedding a weight from your shoulders, it is almost like being reborn.
However, resentment is not fatal, nor does it subjugate human beings. We are able, thanks to will and reason to take a stand, impose our wishes and free ourselves from it, analyze its inconsistencies and consequences, and motivated by our strong will, expel resentment from our consciousness. But we need vital energy. Weak will or apathy are the serious obstacles that we must face if we wish to overcome it. Strength is essential. It is not a simple task, but it is worth making the effort, because what is at stake is nothing less than our peace of mind (tranquilitas animae), a noble and ancient stoic ideal. It is rewarding to live with reconciled people who have healed their own wounds and released themselves from this spiritual toxin.
What makes life rewarding? The basic condition needed for us to live life like a precious entity is to free ourselves from resentment, but we also need other things: to be aware of the fact that you exist, feel deeply loved and actively practise receptivity. But lets go one step at a time.
The word “rewarding” is endowed with much meaning. It is associated with something pleasant, agreeable, something that inspires wellbeing, enjoyment. For example, good food followed by a relaxed conversation around the table is rewarding, it is rewarding to feel loved, recognised, as too is living in a beautiful, harmonious, unified world. It is rewarding to see your work bare fruits and know that your efforts have come to something, and that your sweat and dedication have not been in vain.
It is rewarding to collect the fruits of the seeds you have sown, as it is to taste the gifts that you have generously been given. But in order to taste them you must be receptive, if we are aware of all the things we are offered they can manifest in our lives without expectation or feeling you deserve anything.
The subjective perception of a gift is what makes existence rewarding. In line with French philosopher Jean Luc Marion, a gift is something that is generously offered to us, that we have received from nature, other people, institutions, creators and teachers. The gratuity of being is what makes existence rewarding. We haven’t done anything to make the world exist, or to make it the way it is. Quite simply it exists and it offers itself and all it has to us, for free. It is rewarding to receive gifts, enjoy the talent of others, live in a world that gives itself without stinginess. But we must know how to perceive and realise this. This is self-consciousness.
It is rewarding to let the sun caress you in the winter, as it is to let yourself get soaking wet under the autumn rain. All this has been given to us, we haven’t done anything in order to have it, but only those who are able to recognise this can live a rewarding life. There are those who always see what is missing, what hasn’t been done, what has been taken away from him or her, what they have not been given recognition for, what others have without deserving it; but they are incapable of seeing all the things that have been given to them since they were born.
Our very existence is a gift, because no one has done anything in order to exist. They have found themselves in existence, and at least for a certain length of time this opens up infinite possibilities. Our body, mind, will, memory and intelligence are also gifts. Everything has been given to us.
Existential envy is as poisonous on a spiritual level as resentment, it drives us to yearn to be other people and waste and ignore our own gifts, the talents we have received, the wealth we possess in our own beings. Only those who are receptive to their own gifts can understand that the world is rewarding. Only those who feel loved for who they are and not what they have or represent experience life as rewarding. But this consciousness must be awoken and teachers have a big role in doing this.
Life is rewarding when we perceive it as a gift, as a freely given offering: both our own lives and the lives of others; birds, the sea, the snow. It is our responsibility to listen to an inner voice specifically born from seeing the world as a gift, as a reality that doesn’t belong to humankind, and must be preserved for future generations.
We want a peaceful world, but also a world that it is rewarding to be born into, grow and die in. This is not solely a product of our context, it is also determined by the kind of interactions that take place in life. It is rewarding to live in an untouched natural environment, a beautiful landscape, it is pleasing to the eyes, the ears and our other senses, but what makes it really rewarding to be in the world, or more specifically in a home, an institution or a work-place, are the relationships between people therein.
Human beings, in their capacity to love and generate good, quality relationships with the people around them are also capable of making the world very rewarding. It is down to us to help others perceive life as rewarding.
If we are able to cultivate our receptivity and understand what has been given to us freely, starting with our own existence, we will understand that the world is rewarding, even though sometimes all we can see is what we lack.