Happily Average. . .

Modern societies continually stress that it is within our powers to achieve a mighty destiny. Whatever the initial hurdles, we can, so the suggestion goes, overcome them all through hard work and the exercise of the will – and thereby forge an exemplary and extraordinary path. We can, through our effort and brilliance, escape the herd.

This emphasis on heroism is meant to be encouraging. We are asked to feel that we too could – whatever obstacles we face – astound the world. This belief has a deeply generous origin, but its effect is profoundly punitive, because we are inevitably destined to be very ordinary in most aspects of our lives. By necessity almost all of us will aggregate around the average, an unheroic truth.

Most of us will have average incomes, average relationships, more or less average looks and average talents. In any aspect of life or endeavor, only a fraction of the population will ever be above the bell curve and that’s ok – that’s real.

Even though we are destined to be ordinary (and many of us happily so), we live in a culture that neglects or disparages this basic truth. It emphasizes the likelihood of perfect marriages, though 95% of unions are tolerable compromises; it speaks of amazing jobs, though 95% of employment will be just “work”; it values fame though there are statically few famous people (let alone contented famous people). Our sights are set on deeply improbable objectives. It feels like “losing” to just rule them out, but it may in reality one of the best things to accept and grow from.

As a result of a generously intended idea, we end up despising the actual conditions of our lives, hate ourselves for not having done more, bitterly envy those who have triumphed and neglect to appreciate the qualities of what and who is actually on hand.

Instead we can practice acceptance of who we are, where we are in life and just what that can and should be – realistically. By accepting the ordinary we open the doors to our reality and learn to live in it, though it and from it. So paint the ordinary to be your spot, your place for growth, understanding and yes wisdom.

Peace and Love, Jim

#happilyaverage #thedailybuddha

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