The Attitude Lounge
“Water goes into palm wine, not palm wine into water.” – Akan proverb
“How should we like it were stars to burn / With a passion for us we could not return? / If equal affection cannot be, / Let the more loving one be me.” This stanza from “The More Loving One” poem by Wystan Hugh Auden (1960) sums up our duty as individuals in a world of abundance and a life of diversity. It echoes Mahatma Gandhi’s “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a person changes his or her own nature, so does the attitude of the world change toward him or her”. We were created in love and birthed to love. It is our innate duty, and one we have to undertake even when others are not fulfilling their part.
One of the most magnificent attributes life endows us with is freewill. It is an essence that endows us with the grace and power to challenge and change how life unfolds if the existing state is not meaningful and fulfilling enough. It is a quality that shapes our individuality and the sense of our presence. It is an innate awareness of one’s consciousness, of the world, of life itself and the part we play in nurturing our nature amid the pressure and challenges around us. That is power within us. It is a source of power that many take for granted and thus never learn to harness it. And it is because many of us are so fixated with the beauty around us that we forget to attend to the truth, beauty and goodness within us.
The human is fearfully and wonderfully created, and it is not just some of us; all of us are. It is the reason the golden rule entreats us to relate to each other as graciously as we would have it done for ourselves. We are all in this life together. And there is no one who is better than the other. We may not look the same, because we are not factory products. We may not live the same lives, but we are equally endowed with different abilities and talents, which pooled together create a bouquet so invigorating and delightful. We may live in different parts of the world, but we come from the same source. We may share different philosophies and faiths, but we all share this earth. We may have different aspirations, but we all want to be happy. We want to love and be loved. We want peace, and we want to flourish. Why then has life bequeathed so many challenges to us?
We often say “life happens” because it is an experience that creeps up on us, silently or noisily, and demands our attention. We say it has not time-frame, even though you tell the time about its happenings. And when life happens, it is so big you have no choice but to relax yourself in its overwhelming embrace until it is done with you. This is a humility we have embrace.
Life rocks us, tosses us about on its waves; but deep within its swirl you are a part of its source of power. But all of us together give life its power. That is what our humanity is all about. Like the proverbial “little drops of water make a mighty ocean”, all of our attitudes give life its synergy. Thus, life is not a pattern. It is the sum of our unconscious and conscious behaviour rubbing off each other within a system, in a manner that changes the system itself to unfold before us as an elusive power that just happens.
Often times, for many of us, life feels overwhelming. And it is because we spend most of our energy and time trying to out-do each other, when in actuality we should be collaborating. While we argue about what makes an individual’s life successful and what is a meaningful life in general, we are churning out negative attitudes that weaken our collective ability to have dominion over life. Our humanity is being lost in endless cycles of competition against each other. And we are so focused on winning, we do not realise how we employ cruelty to undermine the wonderfulness of our fellow humans.
The art of competing invokes a going-fast mentality. And that means going alone. But how can you go fast when life has no destination? Do you want to get to a place where you are all alone? Is your aspiration loneliness? If you want happiness, then you need company. The same is true for prosperity. We need company so we can generate synergy in order to go far.
We may not be biological siblings, but we are a family. We need to help each other, not tear each other down. Our desire to out-do each other, to come out on top, is not only detrimental to our humanity; it is also causing untold struggles for all of us in ways many of us cannot even comprehend. We need to help each other to unearth and develop the light and magnificence within each individual, so that collectively we can illuminate life to work well for all of us.
Kodwo Brumpon is an author, a life coach and a philanthropist who inspires individuals, groups and organisations to think and feel that which is true, by helping them positively respond to that which is beautiful while nudging them to let goodness govern their actions.
Comments, suggestions and requests should be sent to him at [email protected]