It might seem that your lifetime is spent wishing for any moment rather than the one you are experiencing. There comes that point as a child when you want to break out and do so much to only be told that you are not old enough and must wait until that suitable time when you are deemed ready. This transpires in wanting to be “adult” and out in the world when an innocent discovery of life should still be going on. We complain now about the sexualisation of children, the pressures to grow up quickly and that the sparkle of innocence which exists in childhood is diminishing far too soon. Similarly, we reach a point where to be old or getting older is just not good and people are obliged to lament about aging, the golden era when they were younger and in many cases churn over everything that “held them back” over the years and stopped them from reaching some promised land where everything would have been rosy. This mental dissection normally happens every day whilst convincing the world at large that we are perfectly content and that the dreams we hankered after in our youth were just that, dreams, never there to be achieved and how silly we were to believe they could be realised.
In a similar vein, I am subject to a barrage every single day in every single sphere of how my future could be brilliant. President Obama always talks about tomorrow, the coalition government says that the sacrifices being made now will be worthwhile at some vague point in the future and there is a constant blizzard of advertising all around me saying that if I own this or that then my life will be transformed and I can feel whole. My colleagues and friends also talk every day about the events they want to happen in their lives to make them feel like they have achieved or arrived somewhere. Then and only then will life seem successful.
This for me is the huge issue and in my opinion a significant factor in why this society is so unhappy, angry and scared to pursue what is most important deep down. That old adage of living in the moment has been completely forgotten. I’m not referring to the “living in the moment” which was stupidly used to describe self-destructive, nihilistic behaviour of the false idols we were told to worship and admire. Real living in the moment is a contentment with our situation, a non-attachment to material benefit from our actions and a willingness to be in a situation at any given time because like everything else in life, this too will pass.
I know this might sound “new age” or impractical in a world where one eye is on the future so that we have security in the years ahead for ourselves and loved ones. It’s just that as I get older (an ancient 31 !!), the younger I feel in comparison to my early 20s when the self-induced pressure and sensed expectation from the world around me acted as a heavy weight on the shoulders. Things had to be achieved, successful career, owning a large property, getting married etc were what you did and the visible signs to the world that I had achieved materially. This time and moment was a through ticket to the desired world and every second should be dedicated to achieving this. The heartfelt passions of mine – the travel, the sport and others were a smokescreen and the momentary joy they provided at all times were a distraction in the great game of life where we feel that there are winners and losers. It’s that Eureka moment and understanding thereafter that all we ever have is the present moment and nothing else. That is not meant to be frightening, it’s liberating. Now I can be me and not the person I feel obliged to be by the world. My hobbies now feel so much more alive and I know I am a better person to be around. Life seems fun again, even work to a point, I have a desire to learn more about everything and I want to share this feeling in any moment of the day.
This obsession with the ego – who we should be, what we perceive ourselves to be or how the world ought to view us – is constantly being massaged by the mental chatter which constantly grinds away at us. To stay in this moment requires doing away with this need to identify ourselves as people. I must say that since I did away with caring what I should be or become, I’m wanting to serve others more because my heart tells me so. I want to make a positive difference not because I want to be liked, but again because the instinct dictates so. It’s a going back to who we are, a stripping down to who we really are as people. We are all beautiful, it’s just that many have forgotten this.
What did Bill Hicks say? “Life is a dream and we are the imagination of ourselves” Perhaps we have been asleep too long and forgotten that living is there to be done.