Are you like so many people today who report feeling stuck in a treadmill life? Are you bored with your life? Are you sleepwalking through the daily routines that define your life? Does your life lack meaning?
When I start feeling this way it’s usually because I’ve lost awareness of two important things in my life.
First is the awareness that I have allowed life to get too busy. And usually the busyness is just a lot of little, miscellaneous, almost meaningless activities that I’ve allowed to fill up the hours of my day. Activities and things I call “shinny objects”.
I like the fact my mind tends to be interested in whatever comes into my vision, but it can also become a problem for me because I tend to pick up shiny objects like a sweater picks up lint.
When this happens, I lose my focus. Instead of attending to what is really important, I find my life purpose and passion, those things that bring deeper meaning into my life, have somehow slipped out of my awareness.
That’s when I get out the broom and begin mental house cleaning. For me, that means getting out a pad and prioritizing.
I find writing down a list of what is truly important to me, is a good way of getting back on track and re-prioritizing my day-to-day life. Because my mind is easily attracted to shiny objects, I have learned over the years that I have to do this mental house cleaning every couple of months.
The second, and more important realization is the recognition that when I’ve given in to shiny object distractions, my mind has not only stopped growing, it’s as if my conscious mind has fallen asleep.
My thinking is no longer sharp and crispy. I’m not reading as much as I would like. I’m watching too much evening television. Email and Facebook are taking over my early morning writing routine. My mind is getting lazy and sluggish.
For me, these two realizations seem to be connected. Stated simply, shiny objects not only make my life too frantic and busy, they distract me from what is truly important to me. They lull me into a state of mental sleepwalking.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the modern world is designed to create shinny objects that hypnotize and dull our minds; at least that is true for my mind.
As I’ve gotten older and have become intentionally more self-aware, I am finding that the pace of life in the modern world is far too busy for me. There are too many distracting shiny objects. The need to slow down and simplify my life; the need to focus on what is truly important and the need to simply “be”, is becoming far more important to me than achieving, owning stuff, and doing.
When I was younger I actually liked the achieving and doing part of life. Multi-tasking was fun. Today I like the silence more. I like being present to “what is”.
When I lose focus on those things that bring deeper meaning into my life, life quickly begins to feel like a boring treadmill. Instead of living in the moment with presence and attention on the “now”, my mind begins drifting into the past, or it becomes concerned with what “might” happen in the future. I begin to worry about things I really don’t have any control over. It’s as if my ego consciousness worries itself to sleep.
Those feelings of boredom and lethargy are now my wake-up call. They are the warning signs that I am unconsciously sleepwalking again. When I was younger, I tended to ignore those feelings and would just push through them. Today, those feelings tell me it time to pay attention. It’s time to wake up and take conscious control of my life.
When I re-awaken from my mental sleepwalking, life immediately begins to get crispier. I can feel my energy come back. Life gets interesting. The passion that drives my life purpose is once again re-vitalized. The Divine Impulse to “Be” and “Become” that is embedded in all creation begins to move me forward again. The desire to create that, which has not yet been created, re-energizes my life. I am able to live in the present moment and more consciously engage life at a deeper level.
Each time I re-awaken, I am once again reminded and aware of how easy it is to fall asleep in the modern world. How easy it is to lose awareness of the present moment, the people around me, the beauty and wonder of simply being alive.
And each time I re-awaken, the time I am able to remain awake increases. It is a good feeling knowing that I am increasing my ability to spend more of my life awake and present to the only reality there is; the present moment. I feel more alive when I’m awake to presence.
We are all responsible for the life we are creating for ourselves, but we can only exercise that responsibility when we are able to stay awake and make more conscious choices in every moment.
If you could relate to the questions above, all you have to do is wake yourself up. Like me, you too will probably fall asleep again, but if you keep waking yourself up, you’ll find your life to be much brighter, more colorful, and far more exciting and interesting.
Beware of the shiny objects. Waking up is easy. The challenge is learning to stay awake.