Living on the Edge

On average, of all the things you do, how many are done willingly? There are a lot of things you’d love to do , but cannot, while there are others which you are forced to do.

It lies in the twinge you get when you see a kite surfer effortlessly riding the waves, a rock climber scaling a cliff, a skier tearing up the slopes. The twinge of longing: I wish I could do that……You can! The question is – should you?

While tackling a new sport is fun, it can be a “sensory overload,” says Marty Molitoris, director and owner of Alpine Endeavors climbing school in New Paltz, N.Y. “You need to learn to move, stand and breathe in new ways” he says.

Day in, day out, you have to keep doing the same set of things in the same way to achieve the “ideal life” you think is perfect; but is it really what you want?

Life becomes repetitive, do you think there’s a way out?

You may wear a smile on your face, but in reality, it’s just a mask. It is almost as if you owe it to your ego. After all, who wants to show the world that they are a failure?

Oh yes, one may have a plum job, a happy family and close friends; yet one may feel abysmally empty inside.

On the other hand, one who revolts against this mundane life, makes revelations in this unpredictable and unexpected story called life, habitually takes risks, flirts with danger, and believes in continuously ‘living on the edge’.

In every profession, be it software, mechanical, sports or politics there are people whose adventurous streak never lets them rest in peace, who are forever on the move, going out of the way to do the most extraordinary things because they believe in feeling the adrenaline rush through their veins every moment.

To most of us such a life seems exciting and colorful, and a few would give anything to chase that dream.

But how healthy or desirable is such a life? Boredom may be bad for one’s health, but so is the constant gush of adrenaline in one’s blood-stream. (Scientifically, too much adrenaline can cause a heart attack)

A Zen anecdote comes to mind. A person called Yuan came to a Zen master and asked,

‘When disciplining oneself in the Tao, is there any special way to do it?’

The Zen master replied, ‘Yes, there is. When hungry one eats, when tired one sleeps.’

‘That is what other people do,’ Yuan commented. ‘Is their way the same as yours?’

‘When they eat,’ the Zen master explained ,’they do not eat, they conjure up all kinds of imagination; when they sleep, they do not just sleep, they are given up to a variety of idle thoughts. That is why their way is not my way.’

There is definitely food for thought here!

Living on the edge isn’t the “You Only Live Once” attitude. So, let me remind you again…why are you risking it all? Is it the thrill or the adrenaline rush? Are you trying to impress your friends? Isn’t the real art of living life the ability to find meaning and wholeness in ordinary things of life?

The key, then, is to take calculated risks, and only place bets on things that you’re okay to lose. As the saying goes, “Take risks: If you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.” Make sense? You bet.

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