It was a long, drawn-out day at work. Your drive home takes an hour. By the time you get home you are physically and mentally beat. Your home is a mess. You are too tired to care at this point. All you wanna do, is slump on that lazy old couch in front of the TV, put some Netflix on, brew some coffee and later warm-up that Mediterranean food leftover from the weekend. “Finally I am going to have some quality ‘me’ time”, “I am going to relax”, “this is going to be good!”
You sit down with your coffee, set your feet up on the table. Put the TV on, have the remote in your hand and put on the next episode of the TV show you’ve been watching. “Hey, Life’s not all that bad” you muse to yourself. You sink in deeper and start enjoying the show. 5 minutes in your special time, there’s a slight nuisance. Ahh your coffee’s gone cold. Better warm it up. I’ll do it later, you brush the thought aside. Try to slip back into the comfort you worked so hard to create, but no, the thought keeps irritating you every time you take a sip. You give in and get up, put your cup in the microwave. After the 5 minutes of annoyance, you come back in your comfy spot and resume unwinding from the long day at work. But now, there’s something else. You forgot your phone on the counter top. “Do I really need my phone right now?”, you ask yourself. The argument in your brain amplifies. “It would be good to see what all everyone has been up to on Facebook. But I need a break from all this.” You eventually give in again and get your phone. The moment you sit back and enjoy another few minutes of calm, something else starts bugging you. You fix that, and then there’s something else. And on and on and on, you just cannot find the right environment for yourself to relax and enjoy. Eventually, you give up, depressed, you kick your feet up on the couch, waste time stalking people on your phone, and finally doze off exhausted with the TV still running in the background.
“There’s always something..” exclaimed Greg in exasperation. Greg was a colleague and a very good friend of mine, when we used to work on the cell towers, night and day. We would almost never have the ordinary day where everything would go as plan. We would be dealing with something new on a daily basis. The generator would be out of gas, there would be car problems, the weather would be impossible to work in. No matter how much we tried to be prepared and conjure a controlled environment, sooner or later something would go wrong.
Let’s go back to what Greg said in his moment of despair, and analyze the deeper truth underlying it.
“There is always something..”
There is always going to be something you would want to fix, something that keeps pinching you in the back of your mind, a little negative idea gnawing somewhere in your brain.
Our ego’s put us in a state of frenzy trying to find the perfect controlled setting. There is no peace until our ego has all the variables under its control. The few occasions, that it does manage to drive us crazy and succeed in controlling everything, the happiness is ephemeral. “If life was a certain way, I would be happy. If I could make this happen, I would finally be at peace.” And on and on we drone on living unsatisfied lives without cherishing the gift of our precious moments. And it is the same macro concept, which is true on the micro level. Our perpetual thoughts steal the beauty of the present moment from us, and instead keep us agitated and thankless. We need to let go of this mindset. We need to realize that the present moment is all there is, and only welcoming it as it is, will make us realize how blessed we are.
I have been prey to this all my life. Like a crazy person, I have chased dreams and circumstances beyond my control, which even when fulfilled never brought me any contentment. There would always be something missing, not because, something is ACTUALLY missing, it’s just that our mind’s have been conditioned to see what’s lacking, we rarely see what is there!
The key to being happy and content, is to fully register this; You cannot have an environment controlled by you. The world is bigger than you. You are not the center of the world (as the ego likes to think). Perfection, as imagined by our ego’s is an illusion. We do not need to seek perfection all the time. Instead, we need to realize, that perfection comes when we change the way we perceive our environment. There is a lot of perfection in our lives as is, we just chose to be blind to it.
So the next time, when your mind keeps you from enjoying yourself, just tell yourself, that this is how it was supposed to be, and this moment, unadulterated and unchanged IS already perfect. That being said, I do allow a few limited external tweaks as long as you are not driven to madness;)
Please, leave a comment! I would be thrilled to hear your thoughts on the topic!
Snake River, Idaho!