There is another type of human being, one who revolts against this mundane life, and revels in the unpredictable and the unexpected, who habitually takes risks, flirts with danger, and believes in continually living on the edge.
I remember the true-life story of a well-known mountaineer who would come back home after the most dangerous of climbs, spend a few weeks with his family, and set off again for his next adventure. This was so nerve-racking for his wife that she asked for a divorce on the grounds that the recurring tension was too much for her to take. But that is exactly how some people are made.
In every profession—be it business, sports, politics or movies— there are people whose adventurous streak never lets them rest in peace, who are forever on the move, going out of their way to do the most extraordinary things because they believe in living on the edge.
To many people, such a life seems exciting and colourful, and they would give anything to lead a similar life. Only if they had the guts!
But how healthy or desirable is such a life? Boredom may be bad for one’s health, but so is the constant pumping of adrenaline into one’s blood-stream. Doesn’t the real art of living lie in the ability to find meaning and wholeness in the ordinary things of life?
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 of doing it?’
The Zen master answered, ‘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 some food for thought there!