What Really Matters: A Plea for Health
A week or two ago I saw a meme on Facebook.
Ok I see lots of memes on Facebook, and to be honest, most are pretty meaningless.
But this one was a quote from the Dalai Lama. He’s a pretty wise man, so I tend to listen to what he has to say.
Take a look:
This meme succinctly describes the hypocrisy of how many modern humans conduct their lives. I’m not here to point any fingers or blame anyone for this imbalance. I merely want to shine a light on it, and suggest that we’ve got it all wrong.
I want to make the plea for health.
We tend to sacrifice a lot of ourselves in the pursuit of attaining more – more money, more status, more clothing, more possessions, etc.
We tend to, as a culture, be over-worked and over-stressed in these pursuits.
We, as the quote suggests, sacrifice our health in the pursuit of wealth, only to, as we get older, use that wealth to try to buy back some health.
As I said, we’ve got this all wrong, and I can prove it.
The future does not exist.
Bear with me for a second here, I am going to get just a bit existential.
The future does not exist. It’s not real. That may or may not sound controversial to you. But it’s hard to argue with.
We can reasonably predict that some future will take place in some way.
Things have continued for however many years we’ve already lived, and with a little luck, we can reasonably assume that we will continue to exist in a relatively similar fashion.
But we have little actual impact on that future. The amount that we control in that future is very very small.
This isn’t to say that we should not work hard or save money. For many life goals, money is essential.
But while the future is and always will be a fantasy, an idea, there is something real that you are experiencing right now.
Can you guess?
It’s… RIGHT NOW.
The present moment is real, it is tangible. You are experiencing it right now, and believe it or not, it’s all you actually have. Even when the future comes you will experience it in the present moment.
So if you are still with me, it stands to reason that we should place more value on what is now than what will be. (Again, I am not saying throw away all planning or forethought toward the future, just stay with me.)
And while a lot of people think that investing in your health is solely for the purposes of attaining more future (increasing the amount of years you have on the planet), the real benefit of health is experienced in the NOW.
This is the only time when you can experience anything!
That, and because health is a present state of being. I am not a healthy 80-year old. I am a healthy 29-year old, and as such I am fit, in shape, and eat a diet that gives me abundant energy in the moment. It makes me feel good today, not 50 years from now!
If I am fortunate the choices I make today can lead to a better reality for myself in 50 years. But that is simply a fantasy, an illusion. Not entirely unimportant to consider, but not where the real benefit of a healthy lifestyle is conferred.
Look, money, hard work, promotions – these are good things for which to strive. But do not sacrifice your health in their pursuit, because this is a truly foolish trade. You trade your wellbeing now (the only time you can experience wellbeing) for potential future wellbeing. Once this future is achieved, you need to trade back the money you got for the health you gave up in the form of expensive drugs and surgeries.
It’s a raw deal.
Invest in your health TODAY, in THIS MOMENT. It is far more valuable than any sum of money you could possibly dream of.
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