Why am I here?
Sometimes Danshari asks himself this.
What did I come to Earth to do?
What is the point anyway of a lion whose teeth are not sharp and whose roar doesn't work, a lion who is not very strong?
What is my life for?
What is the point of me?
Sometimes he explores these questions in the privacy of his own mind, but the other day he shared them with his friend Yūgen.
Yūgen says, "There is no point to you, Danshari. You are not for anything. You are alive."
This doesn't sound very promising to Dan de lion.
"A crayon has a purpose," says Yūgen, "or a t-shirt or a fork or this bowl. But you are a living being."
She can see he hasn't really got this.
"If you want something to keep you occupied while you're here," she says, "you could try breathing and smiling. I think that's all you have to do. According to the great Masters."
"Oh — " Yūgen shakes her head emphatically. "Your mission isn't over. I can tell."
"Can you?" This sounds more promising. "How?"
"Because you are alive," says Yūgen. "As long as you are alive, your mission is not over."
"What is it then?"
She smiles at him.
"Over to you," says Yūgen.
That's not very helpful, is it? Maybe even a bit annoying.
Today, Danshari thinks about this conversation he had with Yūgen, as he sits up in the attic.
He's been spending the morning sorting things out. After all, somebody has to do it. You get maggots and carpet beetles and mould if you just let things pile up. And you get bewildered. You have to set your house in order or everything goes wrong and there is nowhere left to play.
Danshari knows there are three parts to this. In the first place it helps to learn the vital skill of saying "No."
It's only a short word, and — handily — it is a complete sentence, but sometimes you do have to say it several times, Danshari has discovered. You have to persist. This can throw up problems for a lion who basically likes to make people happy and is just a little bit lazy and inclined to let things slide. Because sometimes supposedly inanimate objects take on a life of their own and move in. To set his house in order a lion has to start by saying No, and meaning it, and sticking to it. Don't bring stuff home. You don't have to make a companion out of everything you like. Sometimes it's better to let things go their own way, and not let them follow you home.
The next thing you have to do is sort things out. Separate them into categories. Toys, clothes, food, rubbish, books, cooking things — you have to be able to tell the difference between them and give them homes where they can settle in and make nests where they will quieten down and stop shouting at you.
Sorting things out is what Danshari is doing today.