The phrase “Don’t Take Life Too Seriously. Nobody Get’s Out Alive Anyway’ is a funny little adage that really speaks to an important practical and spiritual lesson. I think the best Spiritual lessons are also practical, which is part of the reason why I love a lot of the Buddhist practices. Reincarnation – don’t care much about the philosophy. It’s just a belief and unprovable, and you know what they say about beliefs, opinions and other parts of the human anatomy – we’ve all got one. So what. On the other hand, mindfulness practices, tonglen, and maitri are all beautifully helpful Buddhist practices which can actually improve your restfulness and enjoyment of life.
Pema Chodron, an well-known Buddhist teacher, often talks about “not making such a big deal” of this issue or that issue, which is really what the ‘don’t take life too seriously’ quote really is saying. Which seems like a contradiction for those of us who are focused on living a spiritual life, because to be on a spiritual path means that we are in a continual state of self-reflection. And it is through this process of becoming more self-aware that we become intimately familiar with our faults and foibles. And yet, that self-awareness is also a kind of narcissism. So the paradox of spiritual practice is that we become self-aware so that we can eventually arrive at the experience of ‘no-self,’ which for me means, my sense of self expands so greatly that I enter into an awareness of my connection to the all of it and the “me” becomes a grain in the vastness of the desert sand, a drop in the oceans, a little tiny bit of something so vast that it becomes impossible to hold onto the experience that the world revolves around me and my feelings, thoughts, beliefs, angst, etc.
So, ‘don’t take life too seriously’ is the other side of the self-awareness coin. It’s the, ‘lighten up, dude’ that can sound dismissive, but really has a great amount of wisdom in it. I’ve thought before that if there was an alien race watching us, kind of like we watch cheesy reality shows, they must be incredibly entertained at “those silly little humans,” because we’re really kind of nutty creatures. We hold great wisdom and art and beauty, and we also do things that just don’t make any sense at all. So, part of not taking life too seriously, is accepting that we just are the way we are. We make friends with our faults and foibles, we begin to accept others quirks and nuttiness as just part of our collective nuttiness because we’re not really going to change human nature. And holding onto rigidness and being serious 24/7 just isn’t much fun, and there’s no spirituality rulebook that says having depth means you lose your capacity to be lighthearted and playful.
So, if you catch yourself getting all angsty and narcissistic in your own processing, lighten up. Get into the ‘silly little humans’ mindset. Remember, life is incredibly short and your time here will be gone before you know it. Know when to let it all go, forget about it for a second, and go play. Get a hula hoop, go reggae dancing, watch a comedy and surrender to happiness. Enjoy the ride, my friends.
Sabrina Santa Clara / Authentic Alchemy x3