Thursday, December 24, 2015
As some of you may or may not have observed, many people live a lost, confusing, unconscious, and unhappy life. One of the manifestations of this phenomenon is that they live from one event or happening to another. Halloween is coming! I better get those decorations and candy ready! Aaaand it’s gone—but Christmas is next! Family time, gifts, Jesus, and songs! Aaaand it’s gone—but New Year is next! Aaaand it’s gone—but my birthday is next! Your friend John’s birthday; a new Star Wars movie, a new Fallout video game; NBA playoffs; Black Friday, a new episode of Game of Thrones, a weekend, etc. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful to feel excited, and some of those things can provide you with great value, if you know how to attain it. However, there are a few potential problems here. I will address two of them below.
One, people get too excited about these often insignificant or arbitrary things and overconsume it. More often than not they are unaware of their true feelings and motives behind their emotional states and behaviors. More often than not these things are used as distractions and as psychoemotional band aids. That way you don’t have to stop and actually live: to feel, to think, to be aware, to reflect, to be in reality, to conceptualize the actual world (both in you and around you), to plan for the future, to follow your plans. Which brings us to the potential problem number two….
Two, by waiting for a “significant” date—like Christmas, New Year, Birthday, and so on—people usually live passively, “go with the flow,” “follow their destiny,” and so on. In other words, they passively bounce from one happening to another, doing what they are “supposed to do,” preparing for “that big day.” But these holidays are just arbitrary dates. Why do you have to wait for a certain date to show your loved ones that you care about them? You can do that today. Why do have to wait for a certain date to start taking a better care of yourself? You can start today (or at least start exploring why you don’t do it, which would also be a form of better self-care). Why wait for an arbitrary date to do what you want and to take more initiative in life?
That’s why things like New Year resolutions don’t work. It’s because you try to do something without fully grasping what you are doing and why. Therefore, there is no authentic motivation or understanding behind it—so, of course, you stop after a while or find some other “shiny thing.” If you understand what you want to do it and why, and you are resolved enough to know where to start, then you don’t wait for an arbitrary date to do it. You just start walking towards it, from wherever the start line is for you (for many it’s usually not where they initially expect it to be). It doesn’t mean it’s always easy, it doesn’t mean it’s always simple—but it means that it’s more beneficial to you if are more aware and proactive in your life compared to being unconscious and compliant to your programming. When you are actually alive every day, you don't need or wait for certain happenings—you make your life happen. Stopping the wait for somebody to save you and taking self-responsibility can be scary and disorienting—but also really freeing.
It makes things harder for a many people that these two problematic sets of behavior are highly encouraged and rewarded in our culture, which makes change unnecessarily even more difficult. Meanwhile, is “this culture”—are “these people”—actually happy? How do I feel when I’m by myself, where there is no over-stimulation of my senses and where there are no distractions? Do arbitrary dates really matter? What am I actually waiting for? Is there something I am possibly avoiding? If so, what and why? What are my feelings, thoughts, and motives behind what I am doing daily and where am I going? Do I even know the motives behind my daily behavior? How long do I want to stay this course? These are the questions you can answer for yourself, and, if you are brave and honest enough, maybe you’ll get some useful information.
So this holiday season I wish you not to wait for another arbitrary “holiday” but to pursue living every day as you want it. It may sound cheesy, but it’s harder than you think, as you probably have figured out by now. Which explains why only so few pursue it—but it also means that the rewards are greater.
That’s my holiday hope for you: stop hoping for your life to magically improve and start improving it—otherwise there is no hope.
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