But I felt there was more; I asked myself whether I have faith in the universe, or what that even means. I know what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that I have faith in my fellow man to do the right thing. I doesn’t mean that I have faith that something “good” will happen for me.
What it comes to, I think, is that I have faith in the order of the universe; of the laws, physical or otherwise, that govern the interaction of all matter. In thinking about the universe, I was aware what an infinitesimal spec I am in the larger context of things, not just at the moment but even more so over the course of cosmic time.
This is not to say that my life is not important. To the extent that I offer others joy, to the extent that I make a positive difference in people’s lives, then my life is important. I have used my time here well.
But in the larger scheme of things, it is not important. Whether I live or die, am rich or poor, am healthy or sick, it really makes no difference. That is the real source of humility. To the extent that I focus on these things, it is purely a function of my ego. Even after the practice of getting over myself (see my post, “Get Over Yourself”), which frees me my ego-mind, there is still clearly some attachment to my self, my being.
To free myself from this attachment, as with all others, I need to be aware of the suffering that it causes and say, “Not me!”
The other part of freeing me from this attachment is reaffirming my faith in the basic truth that all things that rise must fall. And that certainly includes me. I reconnected with what I call my “death practice,” which is reciting that I have no fear of death because I know it is just a natural part of life. And that I know that when it happens I will be prepared because I have lived my life well, I have offered others joy, I have made a difference in other people’s lives.
And I reaffirmed that I am on this Earth for one reason and one reason only … as is the case of every human being … to offer others joy. Nothing that I do has any import or any value if it does not offer others joy. Everything else I do is ego.
The Buddha said that the hardest battle is to be rid of the conceit, “I am.” I know now that that doesn’t just mean the ego-mind, but also means attachment to my true self and the body it inhabits.