10 Nov Maybe We’re On This Earth to Laugh
EVERY NIGHT, as I travel through my neighborhood in Osaka on my way home, I look up at the moon. I (usually) take out my headphones so I can just think.
We need more space to think.
I look up at the sky and seek that bright white stone — La Luna — and I marvel. How beautiful she is.
A total lunar eclipse occurred on Wednesday night, causing Earth, the moon and the sun to line up so that the moon fell within earth’s shadow.
At around 7pm, I walked into the English class I was about to teach. A few students stood gazing out of the window. I joined, found the light of the moon in the sky, and watched as it was slowly consumed by the shadow.
Are you sure there aren’t just clouds passing by? I asked skeptically.
No, the night was clear. I’d observed, by chance, the precise moment when the moon faded away. The night drifted into further darkness.
Yet the human beings surrounding me filled it with light.
Life can feel so heavy; the decisions, the obligations, the expectations, the pain.
But life is absurd. We watch the fading of the moon because it tells us: We are a part of something beyond our comprehension. Meaning, despite what we’re told, is ours to create.
“There is no legacy,” says Naval Ravikant in his Almanack.
“There’s nothing to leave. In the grand scheme of things, the Universe has been around for ten billion years. It’ll be around for another ten billion years. Your life is a firefly blink in a night. If you fully acknowledge the futility of what you’re doing, then I think it can bring great happiness and peace because you realize this is a game. But it’s a fun game. All that matters is you experience your reality as you go through life. Why not interpret it in the most positive possible way?”
This quote isn’t saying: None of this matters, so why do anything?
It’s saying: None of this matters, so cherish your life. Give everything you have to this moment, and watch how your life unfolds.
We’re all going to be gone one day. Gone — fleeting like the moon, no matter how brightly we shine.
Our short amount of time is all we have.
We can’t take with us the accomplishments, the money, the things. It’s an illusion — what everybody’s chasing, even me. It’s just noise, the negativity.
I choose to laugh.
I choose freedom.
I choose simplicity, joy, love. These things are free. They’re attainable right where we are. They’re also free to share.
There are decisions, actions, steps we feel we have to take to get to where we want to go. Perhaps we’re meant to create something out of our time on earth, because creation, in and of itself, helps us understand why we’re here.
That, to me, is a meaningful pursuit. I think it’s what our soul craves.
The asking — not just with words, but with our actions, our creations, our light — the ultimate question: Why are we here.
Perhaps, just to help another soul smile.
We do what we do, in some sense, to fill the hole we feel inside. We just want peace, and that longing becomes buried in all we feel we have to do to keep up.
Lighten the load.
Looking up at the sky or in the depths of a flower helps us truly see.
We are nothing. Not important. Not special. Not better than anybody else.
But we’re here; that means we are also everything.
Because in this moment, the peaks and valleys of joy and pain that you and I feel are real. And if you can see that, in others and yourself, you are the universe, the question and the answer: Why are we here? Because we are.
And isn’t that incredible, that you can be the universe to somebody else just by seeing them?
During the class, we discussed our favorite foods, what we like to do, simple concepts. We were laughing the entire time. The week before, the same class with different students felt like pulling teeth; nothing against the students, but our energy was low all around.
This time, my man Takashi was fully engaged in the simple conversation. He filled the room with energy and the light of a kid, sitting on his knees and clapping after every answer.
It was contagious. Takashi was probably in his 50s. There was another young man and three high school girls.
It was a motley bunch, yet the class felt like it went too quickly. We never stopped laughing about food! About nothing, really. I told them about eating clam chowder out of a bread bowl on the wharf in San Francisco.
This childhood memory made me happy to share.
“You’re going to die one day, and none of this is going to matter,” says Ravikant.
“So enjoy yourself. Do something positive. Project some love. Make someone happy. Laugh a little bit. Appreciate the moment. And do your work.”
Laughter unifies us.
Laughter is energy that flows like the nourishing waves of the sea. Laughter saves us — we can’t fight when we’re laughing.
Laughter is love.
Not just between us in the room. But the great religions, politics, all the us versus them b.s. Laughter is our common language. We can’t fight if we’re laughing.
What are we fighting about, anyway?
Maybe we’re not here to fight, even with ourselves. Maybe, we’re on this earth to laugh.