The Inner Peace of Toast

note: this post was written on my iphone and originally began as a facebook status but somehow, as writing does, it grew into something else, which I’ve decided to blog. This free writing approach is somewhat new to me, but I’m apt to repeat it given how therapeutic it felt.

French Onion soup for dinner (Trader Joe’s frozen section), buttered toast with blueberry jam for dessert, now watching the 1934 version of Count of Monte Cristo (streaming from Amazon Prime). I loved the Jim Caviezel version, and this only emboldens my adoration for one of my absolute favourite tales.

Watching these actors reminds me that all of this is just temporary. We’re just here for a little bit and that kind of makes everything really small but at the same time really big.

My real hope is to live spiritually, and to me that just means loving myself and sharing love with others. It’s easy to be apathetic when you think about the finite nature of life, but to a point the meaning and purpose of life should be to be happy and to be at peace. We forget that don’t we?

We suffer so much and anguish over our lives and our goals but we don’t think about the alternatives. We are fairly lucky if we can eat toast and watch a classic movie under a roof. We are all going to die. Ask yourself what is really important. I can’t find another answer than love. Maybe art. I guess it all comes down to using your humanity for the highest good, and good being judged as the quality of how much you can positively affect others.

Remember that comparison is the thief of joy. Not just comparison to others, but to the past or an imagined scenario. Today is all you have. Make love and make art. Even if it’s just with yourself. And don’t take anything too seriously.

I mean having cool clothes and cars and abs might feel like success but the only real success is your ability to experience inner peace.

So the big question of life is what brings you inner peace. For me it’s soup and toast and a good movie. I can’t control everything and I make mistakes and there are things I wish were different, but I can live my life with a consciousness of the following passage from Viktor Frankel’s, Man’s Search for Meaning:

… We stumbled on in the darkness, over big stones and through large puddles, along the one road leading from the camp. The accompanying guards kept shouting at us and driving us with the butts of their rifles. Anyone with very sore feet supported himself on his neighbor’s arm. Hardly a word was spoken; the icy wind did not encourage talk. Hiding his mouth behind his upturned collar, the man marching next to me whispered suddenly: “If our wives could see us now! I do hope they are better off in their camps and don’t know what is happening to us.”

That brought thoughts of my own wife to mind. And as we stumbled on for miles, slipping on icy spots, supporting each other time and again, dragging one another up and onward, nothing was said, but we both knew: each of us was thinking of his wife. Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife’s image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise.

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way – an honorable way – in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory…”

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