religion & philosophy

Turns out life IS fair

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Supposedly, nobody ever said life was fair. Well, I’m saying it right now. Maybe I’m a nobody so the adage still works but I’ve come to believe that life is absolutely fair. Yes, there are selfish jerks who seem to be rewarded while truly good, hardworking, selfless people seem to be punished. There are people who’ve lived like there’s no tomorrow that live long, healthy lives while people who ate healthy, exercised and did everything right have died young. There are innocent children who suffer with terminal illness while evil dictators enjoy the good life. So how is it that I can possibly believe that life is fair? Because most people only see life on a superficial level, but it’s time that we dig a little deeper.

There are a number of ways in which life could be completely fair that don’t require a multi-page blog explanation. Life could be a reward or punishment based on how we behaved in a former life. It can be a karmic thing based on how much joy we’ve brought others, even if that joy is a result of a dictator killing his nation’s supposed enemies or a crooked politician passing a bill that will help thousands of oil drillers. Life could also be fair because our built-in biases prevent us from seeing the truth. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

There are also biases that are a result of us not being able to see the big picture. Perhaps had Hitler not killed millions of Jews, those Jews would’ve assimilated, Israel would never have been founded, and we’d all be living under a violent Islamic regime right now. And yes, I recognize that this very statement is a result of my own biases and perhaps such a way of life would be an improvement on our unfair capitalistic system.

The point is, an interpretation of what is fair is often a result of perspective or can be a result of things we’re not aware of like previous lives or the amount of people directly or indirectly helped from seemingly evil actions. But I’m not going to delve into any of these explanations to explain why I believe life is fair since they’re only rationalizations and do little to help us make our lives more pleasant now.

The main reason I believe life is fair is because it’s a direct result of what you focus on. If you think about it, materialistic people tend to have more stuff. That’s because having stuff is more important to them. Those that don’t need a lot of stuff usually don’t have a lot of stuff. Some people need to have positions of power so they can feel good about themselves. Usually they get it. Angry people tend to have more to be angry about. Happy people tend to have more to be happy about. Drama queens attract other drama queens. Those who often complain usually have a lot to complain about. When people have dreams about becoming something, it usually remains a dream. The only way to achieve that dream is either to put all of your energy into it with a leap of faith, or, to have a hole in your life that requires this dream becoming real in order to feel fulfilled. This is why famous people either tend to be really grounded go-getters or hot messes who always require attention.

If you aren’t sure what’s important to you in your life, look around you. Everything you’re surrounded by is what’s important to you. And by important I mean what you give energy to. For me, I value love, friendship, fun, creativity, spirituality and time. Unfortunately, the latter doesn’t jive well with full time jobs, so I don’t get a lot of those. Riches aren’t necessary to have any of those values so I don’t get to see a lot of that either. But I also tend to avoid a lot of drama, mean people, jealousy, hatred, violence, and all that negative stuff…because I don’t focus on it. I rarely watch the news or dramatic reality shows, I don’t have a need to show off material possessions or brag about my accomplishments, and I tend to feel that the less you need to be happy, the more likely you are to be happy. I also have a lot of clutter in my life, because my brain is kind of cluttered. I’m working on that. But looking at my life, yes, it’s pretty much filled with what I give energy too.

That’s not to say that I wouldn’t like to have millions of dollars or be a famous writer. It’s just that I haven’t put enough energy into those things. And if you don’t have the things you think you want, neither have you. This can either be because you don’t put a lot of energy into thoughts about it, or, when you do think about it, you think about how you don’t have it, creating that very reality. Whatever you’re giving energy to includes the things you don’t want, but frequently dwell on.

The cruel trick to life is that it gives us exactly what we think about, but most of us think about what we don’t want instead of what we do. This is the wisdom behind the genie or leprechaun myth. You have to focus on exactly what you want or else you’ll get a version of whatever takes the least energy to manifest. So if you think, I’d like a fun job, but don’t put a lot of passion behind it, you’ll get a job as a baby sitter. But if you say, I want to be a rock star, you’ll get the version that equates to the energy you put behind it. That could be being a bona fide rock star, having a hit on YouTube, or winning at a game of Rock Star.

“Okay,” you’re thinking. But some people are born more fortunate than others. Some are born to rich families and get a free pass through life while others are born in third-world countries and have to continually suffer. They have to think small because that’s all they know. This is true, and I agree, but there are two assumptions here that I disagree with.

For starters, some of the richest people are also some of the most miserable people, and there are plenty of people who live in third-world countries who live joyous, carefree lives. In fact, many are quite a bit happier than the citizens of our stress-filled, dog-eat-dog first world. Yes, they don’t know what they’re missing, but who cares? Ignorance is bliss. Of course, there are plenty of very happy rich folks and very miserable poor folks. But the point is that how much you’re worth isn’t necessarily indicative of how fulfilled you are.

The second assumption I disagree with is that the lives we are born into happen by pure chance—the luck of the draw. No, I believe we are given the exact lives we need to grow. When I talk about growth, I’m talking about an ideal where one needs nothing to be happy and can withstand the most grueling of challenges. If you can get there, you are richer than any billionaire and much, much less vulnerable. Because there is nothing that can make you unhappy, whereas the billionaire has billions of things he can lose that will make him unhappy, so he has to put a lot of energy into holding onto them.

But life isn’t just about money. And that’s another reason why I think it’s completely fair. I believe that the life we are given is like a pie chart, with every single person being born with 100% of a pie that’s divided into twelve slices of varying sizes. If you know about astrology, these categories align perfectly with the twelve houses of the zodiac. If you know nothing about astrology, here they are:

1houses_pie

  1. Self: This works out to be physical appearance. If you are good looking or have a good body, you got a big slice. If you have both, you got a really big slice. But that only means you got less of some of the other slices.
  2. Wealth: Were you born into money, or with the means to make a lot of money? You got a nice slice here.
  3. Communications: Were you born with a good brain, intelligent, able to get a good education? Are you inherently happy? Does information come to you easily? Are you good with your imagination and creativity? The combination of these characteristics relates to this slice.
  4. Family: What kind of family do you have? Loving? Giving? Kind? Mean? Selfish? Dramatic? Were you abused physically or emotionally? Were you empowered and given confidence? Your upbringing is incredibly important to your life outlook and so is this slice of the pie.
  5. Pleasure: Are you easy to please? Do you get to enjoy a lot of leisure or recreational activities? Are you good at them? Do you have talents and skills in these areas? Are you athletic, artistic, musically inclined? Are you lovable? A good kisser? Good in bed? Have children? Amazing how one thing often leads to another. Without this slice, you could have all the money in the world, but lead a very boring existence. Ever see Citizen Kane? He didn’t have a good slice here—his money slice probably sucked it up.
  6. Health: What’s the good of any of this without good health? In addition to overall health and well-being, this also includes how good of a caretaker you are with people, plants, and animals. It also relates to how you handle tasks—if you have stamina, willpower, discipline. Are you more likely to have healthy employments or dead-end jobs? Probably not a coincidence that better jobs lead to better health insurance.
  7. Relationships: Do you tend to have long-term relationships in love and business? Do people trust you? Are you a leader or a follower or march to your own beat? How do you relate to other people? Success isn’t quite as sweet when you don’t have others to share them with.
  8. Transformation: Are you able to bounce back from failure? Able to handle crises? How easily can you reinvent yourself? Are you flexible? Empathetic? Psychic? Are you evolved with a higher vibration? This slice also relates to whether you give off a sense of sexuality and/or power. Is it easy for you to pull the strings—heartstrings or otherwise? If so, you got a good chunk of this slice.
  9. Spirituality: How are you at understanding abstract concepts? Are you deeply involved in religion or philosophical pursuits? How far do you travel, physically and spiritually, to uncover truths? How ethical are you? How knowledgeable? How wise?
  10. Ambition: Were you born with strong career or status ambitions? Those who are usually have the energetic focus to get them. Whereas slice #6 relates to how long you can hold onto a job, this slice relates to how socially prestigious it is. If you hope to one day be successful or famous, you’d want a lot of this part of the pie.
  11. Friendship: Do you make friends easily or is it a constant struggle? How big is your social circle? Do you have a lot of support? And does helping them come easy to you? Do you give of yourself to others and do they return the favor?
  12. Soul:  This relates to your higher self. How you can handle being with just you. It has a karmic element to it. The baggage you carry around with you during your lifetime, but also, the opportunity to shine. It’s your reflection upon others. Are you willing to sacrifice what you believe you are for the sake of others? Are you able to give up what others say is important for a higher calling?

We all start off with an even playing field indicated by our natal pie chart. Some people might start off with a lot of wealth, great looks, and tons of ambition, but they’ll probably be stupid, have rotten friends and a lousy family. Or they could be born really smart, with a loving family, and easy to please, but they’ll probably be nerdy, unable to handle stress, and have continual health issues. Of course, we aren’t born with three big pieces and three tiny pieces. Everyone has different slices of the pie. Some may have a bit of everything. Others are really strong in a few areas, medium in other areas, and weak in the rest. It varies. But I bet that if you drew a circle and gave a corresponding percentage to each of these twelve aspects, you’d end up with a full, 100% delicious pie. Try it and see. Nobody has all twelve or none of the twelve. At least, not at the start.

Now, you might say that even if this pie chart is correct, it still doesn’t make life fair. Just about anyone would rather be born good looking, rich, and intelligent, than say, being easy to please, able to handle stress, and able to sacrifice. But that’s just our own biases again. The funny thing is, while the former traits are more desirable in our society, chances are that the person with the latter traits is an overall happier person. After all, it doesn’t take much to please him, he doesn’t get stressed out, and he’s able to let go of any attachments. The other dude might be really smart, good looking, and rich, but at the first hint of trouble he falls apart. And life will give him trouble.

As my mom used to say, “nobody gets to walk between the raindrops.” There’s no pie slice for that. And even if there were, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. A life without challenge and difficulties is a boring life indeed. One in which we cannot learn or grow. It’s a movie where the protagonist is exactly the same at the end of the film as he was at the beginning. There are no films like that because every writer knows it would make for a horrible story. Even in Groundhog Day when Bill Murray only experiences one day over and over, he’s a completely different person by the end of the film.

3GroundhogDay

What’s interesting about this pie chart is that it makes out life to be something of a mathematical formula. The more we learn about this world, the more it seems like everything does break down to numbers, formulas, and equations, so why not our individual lives? If the elements that make up matter, the DNA that make up our bodies, and the equations that make up our scientific laws can all be represented with numbers, why not the more abstract aspects of life?

According to astrology, the position that the planets are in at the time of your birth correlate to your personality and life challenges and destiny. It’s almost like a giant collection of gears with filters for certain energies, and those in alignment at the time we’re born give us more energy while those that aren’t give us less. In this way, everyone is born with different combinations of personalities and challenges but they all get represented according to certain mathematical formulations.

Have you ever noticed that certain symbolic representations of things seem to correlate in an equation-like fashion to the energy of that thing? For example, Sagittarius is represented by an arrow. This is a fire sign—direct and powerful, just like an arrow. The sign for Mars also has an arrow—pointing up off of a circle—and this is the planet of energy and aggression. This same symbol is for the male gender, known for being more direct and aggressive than women, who are represented by a circle atop a cross. The cross is symbolic for balance, and women are known for being better multitaskers, able to balance many details.

Gender Symbols

Where else do we see a cross? In the Christian religion. Christianity is represented by a cross, Judaism by a star, and Islam by a crescent moon. Astrologically, the moon represents emotion. In mythology, a star often represents guidance and light, and again, the cross is balance. Is it any wonder then that Judaism is the religion that provided the guidance and rules that became the basis for our society? That Islam has the most passionate, if not aggressive, followers? And that Christianity, bridges the two, balancing the raw, id-like emotion of Islam with the superego conscience of Judaism and its obsession with rituals and laws? Christianity then becomes the ego, the self, that balances it all together. And what, according to Christianity, happened on that cross? Jesus was crucified. So the cross, representing the self was the method of sacrifice.

5StarCrossCrescent

Put it together and you get the equation for life. We must balance our reactions, aggressions, and emotions with our minds, intellect, rules, and obsessions, and to do that takes sacrifice. But when you do, your soul lives forever and you become like God. There you go—1,000s of pages of Torah, Koran, and the Bible all boil down to one equation.

The great irony is that if you were born a Jew, you should learn to become more passionate and emotional like a Muslim to be enlightened. If you’re Islamic, you should learn to be more restrained, disciplined, and intellectually focused like a Jew for your enlightenment. And for Christians, you must sacrifice your ego, as Jesus did, by removing your focus on yourself and diverting it to others. So it would seem that no matter what religion you were born into, there is an equal chance of being enlightened. All you have to do is what does not come naturally to you. Once again, life is completely fair, and can be expressed symbolically as an equation that balances on all ends.

I believe the proof of the fairness of life can be revealed symbolically in everything from your zodiac, personal pie chart, and religion, as discussed, to the symbolic representation of your name, DNA, and destiny. Nobody gets out of life alive, but some people manage to use its lessons to grow themselves more than others. We’re all given an even playing field, just different strengths, skills, and equipment. But the rules are the same for everyone: do the most terrifying thing in your life that excites you while letting go of everything you feel you need for happiness. In other words, follow your bliss. And if ignorance = bliss, then follow your ignorance. Follow what you don’t know. Explore the unknown. Listen to your instincts instead of your rational mind.

In addition to “follow your bliss,” Joseph Campbell also said, “we must be willing to let go of the life we had planned so as to have the life that’s waiting for us.” Deep down, we all know what we are supposed to do—that thing that would give us the most fulfillment—and we are given the exact tools we need to achieve it. What could be fairer than that?

May your inner spark grow to light your way,
The Layman

Marc Oromaner is a spiritual author and speaker who teaches how we can discover our destiny using clues found in the media and in our lives. His book, The Myth of Lost deciphers the hidden wisdom of the hit TV show and explains how we can use this wisdom to overcome our own challenges. His blog, "The Layman's Answers To Everything" points out the patterns that run through all great stories including our own. These patterns are clues that are meant to guide us towards a life full of love, light, and fulfillment.
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