The professor of Philosophy entered the university’s lecture hall. He looked at his students and asked a question:
“If, for some reason, you were life sentenced and you knew that you would live the rest of your life in prison, what would you do?”
Silence filled the room after this odd question. After thinking for a while, some students replied:
” I would kill myself. I wouldn’t want to live this life”. The rest agreed with them.
“Very good”, said the professor and asked one of the students: “Can you explain to me why you would commit suicide?”
“Of course”, replied the student and added: “I couldn’t stand without my family, my friends, my dog, and my hobbies. My life would have no meaning”.
“Do you agree?”, the professor asked the rest of the students. And the majority of them seemed to agree with this view.
“Very good”, said the professor.
“Now let’s do a simple exercise. You will do exactly as I’ll tell you. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and wait until I tell you to exhale it”.
The students closed their eyes, took a deep breath and waited.
However, the professor was telling them what to do, so the students started feeling uncomfortable for holding their breath for so long. All of them started opening their eyes and exhaling deeply while looking at their professor, surprised.
Then, the professor asked the student who had spoken before: “While you were waiting for me to tell you to exhale, did you think about your family, friends, dog, or your hobbies?” “No”, replied the student. “I was only thinking about my next breath”. All the students agreed with him.
The professor, then, said: ” You see, it’s easy for us to believe that life is our friends, family, hobbies, and partners. However, the life is more than all those. Lide doesn’t depend on what is outside.
Life is an internal process and this is an end in itself. When you find things difficult on the outside, you will begin to think that your life has no meaning. What you should do then is take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. This way you will remind yourselves of what life is truly worth. You will remember that it’s worth the fighting and you’ll know how to do your best in every situation”.
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