Over the extent of my entire young life, and especially during my lowest moments, I have tried and retried to answer a single question that has always baffled me—How should I live?

I see this question wherever I look and go. I see it in every book I pick up to read, every movie I watch, every artwork I stare at. It has even followed me to places I never imagined it will go—rice fields, lakes, mountains, the voluminous sky, bird songs, the warmth of dog and cat fur.

And as I get older, I’m starting to realize that the question eludes an answer. I’m starting to see that its very nature is that of a guide that tells you how to walk but never when to arrive.

Pursuing this question has inspired me to write hundreds of essays and journal entries and to draw landscapes and take photographs to document and remember what I have seen.

The question has taught me that to try to discern what it means to live as a human being involves not only thinking about life but, perhaps more importantly, experiencing it and finding answers in the real world—outdoors.

Define your purpose.

Define projects that get you towards your purpose.

Define actions that fulfill your projects.

Manage your actions to assure that you are prioritizing what is most important at any given time.

Allocate your capital wisely (time, energy, and material resources) towards the fulfillment of your actions and projects.

Engage in actions that produce Ginhawa directly and nurture environments where Ginhawa flourishes.

What method to answer this?

This is art more than science. So it is more important to uncover the answer through living itself than reading.

Answering how to live is both experiential and intellectual. You read how others lived and try to infuse that into your life. But since you were already living even before you learned how to read, you have no choice but to learn living by living. And that is in fact what the bulk of this learning process is. We learn through trial and error. We have no choice. It is the nature of the geography of life itself.

The reading part only supplements the living.

We can live a life without ever reading a single word as our ancestors did many years ago. Reading is but a technology that at least presumably should make living easier. But if we are not careful, it could by itself hamper living. You have to live to live.

And then report to us what you learned if u want. So that we may be helped by ur perspective.

I think the question I want to answer is better answered by:

  • History (searching answers from past sources)
  • Philosophy (walking and thinking and waiting for insight)

This means, I search within me for the answer that I can best use for my own life. But at the same time, I could look for answers that other people have uncovered.

What I then put out into the world is this mashup of my knowledge and other people’s knowledge, which creates a pool of common knowledge.

I can also do another project: An Intimate History of the Filipino People

If the natural purpose of life is to continue living as much as possible, then the natural answer to the question “How to live?” is “Live healthily.”

How to live? Should really be broken down to another question/s:

How could the mind and body be mastered?

That is really my work right there.

It isn’t to argue on thoughts. Even if that may be important.

But it is only secondary to the goal which is to master the mind and the body.