Oscar Wilde once said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” This thought-provoking quote beckons us to examine our lives and question whether we’re merely existing or truly living. In this article, we’ll explore the depth of Wilde’s words and delve into the essence of what it means to truly
More Than Mere Existence
It’s easy to fall into the trap of existence. We wake up, go to work, pay the bills, and repeat. This routine can be comfortable, even reassuring, in its predictability. But is it fulfilling? Does it make us feel alive?
Existence is survival. But to live… that is an art. It’s about embracing every moment, seeking new experiences, pursuing our passions, and connecting deeply with others. It’s about finding joy in the mundane and wonder in the ordinary.
As Henry David Thoreau once said, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
Embracing the Wonder of Life
To truly live is to embrace the wonder and beauty of life. It’s about cultivating a sense of curiosity and awe, finding joy and inspiration in the world around us.
- Look at the stars in the night sky and marvel at the vastness of the universe.
- Savor the aroma of coffee in the morning, the sound of birdsong at dawn, the feeling of a warm breeze on your skin.
- Find joy in the simple moments – a child’s laughter, a favorite song, a beautiful sunset.
As Rachel Carson said, “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
Cultivating Mindful Presence
Truly living also means being fully present and engaged in the here and now. It’s about acknowledging and appreciating the present moment for what it is, without longing for the past or worrying about the future.
- `Practice mindfulness. Notice your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment.
- Take time to breathe. Pause throughout your day to take a few deep breaths and ground yourself in the present moment.
- Engage fully in whatever you’re doing, whether it’s having a conversation, enjoying a meal, or simply watching the world go by.
As Lao Tzu wisely said, “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
Pursuing Passion and Purpose
To truly live is to pursue our passions and purpose. It’s about finding what makes us feel alive and dedicating ourselves to it. This doesn’t necessarily mean quitting your job to travel the world or become an artist (unless that’s what makes you feel alive). It’s about finding what gives your life meaning and pursuing it, whether it’s through your career, a hobby, or volunteer work.
- Discover what you love. What activities make you lose track of time? What topics could you talk about for hours? These are clues to your passions.
- `Find your purpose. Ask yourself: How do I want to contribute to the world? What legacy do I want to leave?
- Take action. Start with small steps towards your passion and purpose. Over time, these small steps can lead to big changes.
As Howard Thurman beautifully expressed, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Connecting Deeply with Others
Finally, to truly live is to connect deeply with others. It’s about cultivating genuine relationships based on mutual respect, understanding, and love.
- `Listen deeply. When someone is speaking, give them your full attention. Show genuine interest in what they’re saying.
- Express gratitude. Let the important people in your life know how much they mean to you.
- Be there for others. Offer support in times of need. Celebrate in times of joy.
As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doingfor others?'”
The Journey to Living
To truly live is a journey, not a destination. It’s about continual growth, self-discovery, and embracing the full spectrum of human experience – the joys, the sorrows, the triumphs, and the challenges.
- Celebrate your achievements, but also learn from your failures.
- Savor moments of joy, but also find strength in times of sorrow.
- `Pursue success, but also embrace the lessons of struggle.
- Seek happiness, but also understand the transformative power of pain.
As Helen Keller famously said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
Each one of us has the potential to truly live, beyond mere existence. To truly live is to embrace life with curiosity, passion, presence, and love. It is to dance in the rain, to laugh until your belly hurts, to love as though you’ve never been hurt, and to chase the dreams that ignite your soul.
Remember, as Emily Dickinson beautifully penned, “That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” So, let’s not just exist. Let’s truly live.