Is Life Unfair?

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“That’s not fair!”  We hear that from our kids all the time, and of course we try to explain it to them the best we can.  Usually this involves helping them see the bigger picture, look at things from someone else’s point of view, and gain perspective.  But we’re no better ourselves, are we?  Something happens to us one day and we snap to the same judgement – life is so unfair!

With a little introspection, we can begin to unpack this notion.  The first question is, who thinks this is unfair?  “Well, I do of course!”  Yes, but what is behind that judgement?  The answer is that our self-narrative is behind it.  Over the course of this life, we have weaved an intricate story about our identity, and then conditioned ourselves to believe that is who we are.  With some mental silence, which can be nurtured by things like meditation, we can find a bit of space between our internal awareness and that self-narrative.  Slowly we begin to see that these are just stories, and we are not our stories.  To prove the point, consider an old identity you held years ago – back then you absolutely believed that was you.  Where did that “you” go?  The story became less and less relevant, and the identity melted away, only to be replaced by new stories and new identities.  As these identifications turn over, so do our proclamations of what’s fair and what’s not, as does our whole judgement system.  When things are so fluid, where is the real you?

These narratives are not who we are, and throughout our lives, there’s been an underlying witness.  Something has always been aware, simply aware without entanglements.  Where there’s no judgement, the question of what’s fair or not doesn’t even arise, it’s just not relevant.  It’s all just life happening.  When there’s need for action, we act out of our responsibility.  Beyond that, life’s circumstances have enumerable origins.

It is said, “unfathomable are the ways of karma” and maybe that’s enough said about that.  On top of karmic influences, let’s remember that we are on earth school.  We are here to experience, and to learn.  So, things happen to us as teaching opportunities.  The question is, are we mature enough to accept these, and use them to uncover and work out our triggers.  Are we going to be slaves to our conditioning, or are we going to live consciously?

When this comes up, that life is unfair, that is a clue to dig deeper.  See who is asking the question, and what underlying judgement system is in play?  Is it morality, social and cultural conditioning, personal history, or simply our own edicts on what’s good or bad?  We might think our sense of justice is rock solid, but even that is socially conditioned.  Afterall, justice means something different to cultures around the world, even now in the 21st century.  When this comes up, instead of projecting out, can we be silent and introspective, and look at things with a compassionate heart full of love and gratitude?  You may be surprised at how the question of what’s fair simply evaporates.

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