Everything Happens For a Reason — The Good Men Project

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Facing challenges and hardship in our lives, we quite often ask ourselves “why me’?” “Why is it happening to me right now, life is so unfair.” We are searching for answers outside of ourselves, and we blame the circumstances, other people being a cause for our misery. But as says Viktor Frankl, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose”. Therefore the difficult things we face in life, are not just the burden we carry, but quite often a wake-up call to find the purpose of our life or to come back to the right track. Sometimes the outer conditions, if we see them correctly, are the present to our soul to find its purpose and a search for the meaning of life. It’s a sort of privilege to look at all those obstacles as the stepping-stones for a better future.

We can not avoid the challenges of the current situation of a worldwide pandemic of coronavirus, which has found us unprepared to face the invisible threat. It has taken away our everyday routines, shattered economies to their foundations, has shown the deficiencies of our health systems, but most of all revealed human nature.

Governments are struggling to find prompt and adequate responses to face the imminent threat. When the virus broke out in China, countries around the world were observing from afar what was happening in the Far East not being sufficiently aware that the tsunami of coronavirus will plague them instantly. The disease, which burst in Italy, has spread through Europe like fire on a windy day. Since then, life has never been the same. Governments have been adopting preventative measures to curb the spread of the virus, including imposing lockdowns which caused a mandatory temporary closedown of companies, causing layoffs, the stillness of all public life, physical distancing and restriction of personal movement.

Those decisions have come as a shock to our quite liberal way of living up to this point. The lifestyle we knew was gone almost overnight. The things we took for granted; the freedom of personal movement, going to concerts, after-work drinks and late-night dancing, going to movies, commuting to work in public transport, shopping for groceries, clothes, etc. everything has changed. Even people have changed; emptying the shelves in stores, hoarding toilet paper and food, uncertainty and the invisible threat made them behave even more irrationally.

The fear of ever-present death and staying at home make them reevaluate the meaning of life. The thoughts of the great Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius come to mind, “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love”. Truths he wrote almost 1900 years ago have become even more meaningful in these times of the lockdown we experience now. Things we took for granted have become one of the greatest treasures. While economies and people are suffering, nature has started breathing and renewing itself again.

Our overpopulated Mother Earth, an overdriven quest for more money, more profit, more luxuries, more more more, has hit the wall and forces us to become sober, we have been over-indulging for a long time. Our economies have been on a path of constant growth since 2008. Discoveries in the science and technology fields, the rapid growth of digital connections and interconnectedness through social media platforms, have made the world smaller, more connected but the alienation among people has deepened.

The individualism and egoism have overtaken the societal interactions and peaked at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis; empty shelves in stores are the silent witness of human greed and egotism. Since the onset of the crisis, people have become more self-aware, more mindful. They realize that life is fragile, and there is no promise to anybody that we will be here tomorrow, that we will have financial means to buy food or pay bills, to have our parents still living, safe and sound, etc. All things, which are happening now, have some merit.

Mother nature (or whoever) pushed the “halt” button, has done us a favor, to think about the bearing we were heading to; about all the “overs”: over-achievements, over-production, over-consumption, over-indulgence, etc. During the time of lockdown, we have the perfect opportunity to think about our lives and to make a plan for how to live onward, when the restrictive measures will be banned.

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Photo courtesy Shutterstock.

Originally published at https://goodmenproject.com on April 6, 2020.

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