Here’s one of the most important things I’ve ever learned in life:
Don’t lose yourself in the mundane humdrum of everyday existence.
Let’s face it, it’s so easy to do.
On any given day, you probably find yourself with never-ending tasks, duties, responsibilities — and, worse yet, trivialities and distractions — each demanding your time, attention, focus and energy.
To an extent this is unavoidable.
You have to exist in this world. You have to eat, sleep and get up in the morning, work or study and take care of various responsibilities. You might have kids to look after, elderly parents to care for, or a dog to walk!
That’s just the way it is. It’s best to take care of these things with the right mindset. Adopting a mindset of ease and grace helps your life flow more smoothly.
I recommend the approach of karma yoga. With karma yoga, every action is undertaken with an attitude of devotion and detachment. You offer everything you do back to life, in gratitude for all you’ve been given and in recognition of the debt you owe life for your very existence.
You no longer live life for yourself alone but as an expression of love and gratitude to Life.
With karma yoga you no longer fret and stress about the results of your actions. Instead, you recognize that Life takes care of the results. There’s a greater force of cause and effect at work in all situations and at all times. You might not get the result you wanted, but you learn to accept all results with equanimity.
The great thing about karma yoga is that it’s the ultimate stress-buster. It cultivates a peaceful, balanced and mature mind. Even the busiest of people can train themselves to adopt the karma yoga mindset. A great deal of their stress would simply evaporate. Worth a try, no?
Where things get often sticky is the area of leisure time.
Let’s say we’ve done what we needed to do during the day. Whatever time we have left over has to be filled somehow, right?
So, what do we do?
We plonk ourselves in front of the television. We spend hours watching soaps and reality shows or whatever else tickles our fancy.
If there’s nothing on TV, we can always spend some time glued to our phones on social media. Or we might read magazines or books we secretly know aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. We could trawl the internet watching silly videos on YouTube and engaging in flame wars with people who dare to have opinions that differ to our own.
We’ll do whatever we can to keep ourselves engaged.
Only we’re generally not very engaged while doing those things.
Instead, we’re kind of unengaged. Unengaged from life, from the world around us, from other people and from ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of the above activities in themselves.
But we have to ask ourselves whether they are a wise use of our finite time here on planet Earth.
On average we have only 25,915 days here.
Every day that’s another day less. Every hour that’s an hour closer to our inevitable departure. Are we spending our lives doing things that matter to us — things that engage, thrill, inspire and enliven us? Or are we simply finding mindless ways to pass the time?
How much of what you do is really what you want to do?
And how much of it is a compulsive means of distraction or escape?
The concept of escapism has always seemed a strange notion to me. What is it we’re trying to escape? In general, the answer is, ourselves.
Many people spend an inordinate amount of time trying to distract themselves from themselves.
We have a massive entertainment industry set up to facilitate this. It offers an infinite number of distractions, each seeking our attention and promising to numb our minds. It’s a never-ending merry-go-round and one that’s self-perpetuating. Once you’ve lost your attention in one distraction, you’re soon onto the next.
That’s the way we like it. This is what I call being lost in the mundane. It’s pandemic in our culture. It’s ‘normal’.
The problem is, we can easily spend our entire lives lost in the mundane, never taking the time to consider what’s truly important: never stopping to ask who we are, what we’re here to do and how we can make a difference in the world.
I remember being at a funeral several years ago. In the eulogy, aside from the obvious factual biography, about all the minister had to say was “she loved watching her soaps”. I mean, when you get older, you’re wholly entitled to enjoy your soaps and that’s wonderful. But I was struck by a sobering thought. What if, when it comes to my funeral, about all that can be said of me was that I liked watching TV?
That thought filled me with horror.
The idea of being so side-tracked by the mundane that TV entertainment becomes more important than my truest hopes and dreams jolted me awake.
The clock is ticking.
Take a moment to calculate how many days you’ve been alive based on your age. Then subtract that from 25,915, which is the average human lifespan. That will tell you how many days you have left.
I have 12,045 days left. Yikes.
How do you want to spend that precious time?
It should be clear that we weren’t put on this planet just to spend our lives watching TV, posting selfies, reading trashy books or picking fights with strangers on the internet.
I can’t tell you why you are here. Only you can figure that one out. But I implore you to take time to do that and to make it a priority.
Otherwise, you’ll slip into the same mental default as everyone else. You’ll be content to lose yourself in the sea of distractions that seek to entrap your mind, numbing you into a narcotic stupor.
When that happens, you get lost in the matrix, with no idea who you are or what you’re here to do…just totally consumed by the phenomenal dream.
Don’t settle for the mundane.
Don’t settle for false satisfaction.
Make your life one of absolute satisfaction, aliveness, joy and fulfilment.
It’s time to wake up.
It’s time to come back to life.