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By Prof. Protus Nathan Uzorma

When the Duke of African music Bright Chimezie sang a song with the title “LIFE NA TEACHER,” the music did not make too much sense to me until this time around. Oh truly this life na teacher! Life is a stage centre where inner written script are acted; some people act it in reality while few watch and act same in a way that it reflects actual reality to the on-lookers.

This life is a great teacher! The great German Philosopher Emmanuel Kant says, “One can know nothing except from his personal experience…” This axiomatic cum irresistible assertion points to the very fact that the human life is a concatenation of various actions lined up as events.

Yes, it is a known fact that the search for facts and reality of life must follow some orderly and systematic process. This has to be so in order not to be defeated and neglected in one attempting to attain certain experiences of life. I must again state here without any contradiction that experiences are facts inbuilt in someone’s life cycle.

Facts are series of events and events are series of actions while an action is a happening that metamorphoses to an experience. Action that forms the basis of experience may be a conduct by expression, consent, implication, acquiescence or condonation by an individual. It may also be an act of God. In this context, a person’s conduct in a given situation includes his action and or non-action. In the order of reality, action and non-action constitute a person’s reaction to a given circumstance thus same forms his life experience. In the words of Buddha, “Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.” In my little addition to the assertion of the great sage, I wish to infer here that as the candle cannot burn without fire, so also no man can live without experience.

There is no remedy for experience than to experience more. Life experience makes us unique and advances ones course in the higher path. Yes, in between goals is a thing called life and in between life is a lesion called experience. In this life experience, wise men put their trust in ideas and not in circumstances. Circumstances can only help to add to our experiences but in adversity you know who to call your friend and brother.   

According to Mark Twain, “A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.”Disputing this may amount to what many commonly call “Blind Argument” hence we are what we repeatedly do. For me, as a social critic, I am very much convinced that criticism may one day bring something either good or bad to me. This reminds me of my experience in the hands of one fraudster in Ogoni in Rivers State; the man Bayotech who defrauded me of huge amount of money in 2004, consequently informed me when I threatened to arrest him with police thus: “What is capable of bringing food on my table is capable of giving me trouble.”I however, pondered and reflected on the statement of the fraudster and I consequently concluded that Life Na Teacher!

I do not think that life is only centred on any activity that brings food on ones table; it’s beyond that and only fools will attach much importance to the activities of the stomach, the wise thinks beyond that and build upon justice and equity.  It’s in justice that the sage survives and any act of injustice to any, is the manifestation of criticism. When injustice prevails in the society, the critic usually raises his voice while the miserable will languish in hope. This was captured by William Shakespeare thus, “The miserable have no other medicine but only hope.” Here it seems that hope in life experience, is not a virtue; however, I wish to infer that a man’s wisdom is measured by the degree of hope he has exhibited.

According to one ancient texts-“Book of Natural Liberation Through Understanding in the Between,” composed by the great adept Padma Sambhava, and dictated by him to his Tibetan consort, the yogini YesheTsogyal. This was probably written in the late eighth century C.E. Padma Sambhava is a semi-legendary figure, whose mystical biography contains some episodes similar to the life of Buddha Shakyamuni and others similar to those of the eighty four great adepts. Padma Sambhava’s name is one of the root mantras of the fierce form of Avalokiteshvara, the horse-head –crowned Hayagriva. Padma Sambhava is said to have issued from the tongue of Amitabha Buddha in the western Pure Land of Bliss in the form of a rainbow-trailing meteor.

This was Amitabha’s answer to an appeal from Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara to do something more for beings on earth in the kingdom of Udyana, who were about to suffer a catastrophe due to the frustration of their king, who would not beget an heir. The meteor raced to earth and plunged into a lotus lake in a pleasant valley in the northwest India subcontinent, in what is now Pakistan. Where it landed a great lotus grew within which, in due time, a beautiful boy was seen sitting in the midst of rainbow auras. When asked his origin, he said, “My mother is wisdom, my father compassion, my country the Dharma of reality.”

The above is the true reflection of life teaching one a great but divine lesson! The divine allegory of the story portrays the fact that no one can cheat nature, particularly when the divine of any culture wants to salvage a nation. A being must appear through the hard way via cosmic experience to lead humanity out of moral decadence and debauchery. The being in this context must drink from a similar cup of bitter experiences of life just to justify the aphorism that “Life Na Teacher.”   

I have discovered that the wise becomes a fool when he attempts to argue with the fool. The wise cannot defeat the fool in an argument simply because the fool will drag the wise to his level and defeat him with experience. Oh…! This Life Na Teacher! How could one explain his life experience when in reality he is a core identity of the inner multidimensional manifestation of the dreaming but invisible ego? Man has continued to wonder in bewilderment of the nature of his incomprehensible disorientation orchestrated by his inability to forestall the inevitable. As a result he becomes anxiety-ridden when he is faced with life experiences that are bamboozling and perplexing.

Life keeps oozing out various layers of problems both natural and otherwise and man has continued to ask, “Why did this and that happen to me?” When life oozes out a lesson we call experience to change the course of our lives, finding the solution to the reason why it happened has continued to mystify and stump the earthman.

Why did this happen to me and why is this life teaching me so much a bad lesion? When the answers are not forthcoming sometimes we become more miserable and may begin to see life from what Heidegger calls, “der Abgrund der Sinnlosigkeit” (the abyss of meaninglessness). This may make someone lose interest in life and regret ever being born. This seemingly meaninglessness, has greatly generated confusion and has made many to commit suicide. Some too, have taken solace and consolation by applying the principles of “Se Laisser Vivre”meaning “to take life as it comes.”

There’s no doubt that everyone at one time or the other faces a life threatening experience (like the one I faced few months ago) that propels one to question his maker on various issues.

Misfortunes befall us, ambitions are out of reach, hopes and aspirations are either dashed or realised when almost not needed, and purposes are defeated at the eleventh hours; oh what a life! Life na teacher!

In Shakespeare’s…Othello, Raderigo was relieved of his sweetheart. In desperation, he beaconed on a trusted friend and there was this dialogue: Roderigo: Iago- Iago: “What sayst thou, noble heart?” Raderigo: “What will I do thinkst thou”? Iago: “Why go to bed and sleep” Raderigo: I will incontinently drown myself. “Iago: If thou doest, I shall never love thee after. Why, thou silly gentleman.” Roderigo: It is silliness to live when to live is torment, and then have we a prescription to die when death is our physician.”

Have you been faced with a situation where the philosophy of Roderigo becomes your only consolation? A situation where nothing in life appeals to you except to die? I wonder the meaning of life; nothing gets out of life with life. Death is not even the end but the beginning of higher experience of higher life. Oh man is the paradox of problem. Having hitherto compounded same with the uneasiness of conscience which results from lack of moral rectitude and from a failed attempt to evade destined responsibility he has caused himself so much torment and agony which the great Danish theologian and philosopher Soren Kierkegaard referred to as “The Anguish of Abraham.”

Things happen in life that we begin to ask so many questions; why is it me? Why must this or that happen to me? What does one need to do? Too many questions begging for answers.