Monday, September 15, 2008

Something old, something new.

Time seems to have just flown by. It's both a blessing and a curse. I'm desperately trying to get back to the things that make me happy, truly happy, and that's proving to be more difficult than I originally thought. I want to get back to my art. There are times when I really miss my life of quiet contemplation and deep introspective reflection. I don't feel like myself at the moment. My entire life is currently consumed by lists, schedules, agendas, plans, commitments, responsibilities, etc. Modern life in the civilized world can be so mundane.

But on that note, it's a catch-22. While I hate the fast-paced, high-stress commonality of society, I absolutely adore the music, the impossibly cute techy-gadgets, and the conquering of the unknown. The dichotomy often leaves me feeling confused and more than a bit lost. As humans we are never satisfied. We keep reaching for what should technically be out of reach. While this can be quite upsetting, there is little I can do to fight it.

For once in the duration of my college career I feel like I'm finally taking a class that I can actually learn something from. Something that has meaning. Something of value. My religions class constantly gives me something to chew on. There is so much insight and perspective to be absorbed and appreciated. For instance, the cloistered lives of devout worshippers such as monks and nuns. Lives in which material possessions hold no value, and in which their relationship with God takes TOP priority. Even though many of these people had lives before they made their vows, they ultimately find happiness in seclusion. It's hard for me to explain, but something about that moves me in indescribable ways. I have great admiration for people that find themselves and live peaceful and joyful lives. I can only hope that I may someday arrive at that place.


Northern Paladin said...

This is, as always, In My Personal, Often Rambling Opinion, Which You Should Feel Free to Ignore (And Possibly Should) --
This is the #1 worst thing about being single: I feel that much more pressured by the whims of society.

I've thought pretty much the same thing you did about monks/nuns: at least from the outside looking in, they make me think, "How nice it must be to be so dedicated to one thing and not feel like you're being pulled in so many different directions by so many different forces. They found ONE force and they went with it" and its given them a long term stability I can only wish for. That must be nice. Well, you know, it looks a lot more boring than I'd like but bully for them for finding something they can focus on and find happiness in, even if it's not the typical thing society tells people to do.

Trying to rationalize how I want to live life versus how society wants me to live life is a constant battle. I find myself trying to take careful mental inventory. "Do I really want to take a trip to Europe to see the sights, or am I just feeling pressured to do it because these days you can't be cool if you haven't been to Europe?" I feel like I can better find happiness if I can at least recognize and sort out the external influences. (Otherwise I end up sitting at a rainy bus stop in Europe thinking, "Whose idea was this, anyway? I could be at home on my couch right this very moment, but nooooo...")

After my previous relationship went bust, I slowly began to recognize how much it meant to simply be able to count on the acceptance of one other human being. It's a lot easier to tell the world to "sod off" when you have someone you can kind of lean over to and whisper out of the corner of your mouth, "Er, right?" and then they whisper back, out of the corner of their mouth, "Right!" That's a real stabilizing force.

Lacking that, I have concluded that the best bet is to be myself and try to ignore the pressures of society, at least the ones that don't directly impact my ability to enjoy life (e.g., I can ignore the pressure to head down to D.C. to get drunk but I will let society pressure me about, say, going to work on time, whether I like it or not, since it's in my long-term best interest.)

My advice (if you can call it that) is to examine which things on your schedule lead to things you want and which things are simply there because of outside pressure. I don't think life is meant to be fast-paced and high-stress. Some things (school/work) we put up with because we have to or because it will lead to greater long term happiness but maybe some things can be shed, to free up time and relieve the stress.

Just a thought.

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

I think in the growing complexity of the world that our solace is found in the little things. It isn't realistic for most to be a monk, but being monk-like for minutes here and there may be feasible.