I’ve been fighting with myself recently in thinking that to figure out who I am would somehow help me figure out what I should be doing. What my next step should be. And although the answers to these questions did help me figure out who I am, it didn’t provide me with any insight, whatsoever, to what I should be doing.
Then today I read this quote by Alan Watts:
“The meaning of life is just to be alive.
It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”
I had an “ah ha” moment.
A couple of months ago, I was in a great panic to uphold expectations. Expectations of others. So I thought about the above quote, the great panic, and everything beyond our selves. And then I went on a rant:
Are we that egotistical to think that it’s just us and we’re not connected to each other and the Earth? Are we that egotistical to think that the car we drive, the house we own, the amount of money we make and the people we associate with define who we are? Are we that egotistical to turn a blind eye to homelessness and addiction because we think their lives are their own responsibility and not ours? Are we that egotistical? Well, yes, we are actually. Until we wake up and see that we are all connected.
So after the “ah ha” moment happened, I instinctively asked myself, “Who do I want to be right now?” In this exact moment, who do I choose to be?
Who do I want to be right now?
Why are we focused on who we are when each day it changes. Who we are is constantly in flux. Why not ask, who do you ultimately want to be right now? We have a choice to break out of old patterns. We have a choice to get help in recognizing what these patters are. We have a choice to not let our past define us. We have a choice to be a better person than we were yesterday, or five minutes ago if we’re having a really rough day. We have a choice of what stories to share and how those stories are told. This is what living in the moment has allowed me to focus on. I can choose to get pissed off at the other drivers on the road, or I can just enjoy the ride. We have a choice on how we respond to situations.
Ultimately, we have the ability to create in that moment, not react to the moment.
The Alan Watt’s quote then allowed me to look deeper into “What should I be doing?” I have spent my life conforming to society never really feeling like I’m in the right space. So rather than look at what I “should” be doing, I’ve started to think about what I don’t want to do.
What don’t I want to do?
Recently, this has all been intuition or gut instinct for me. I think about going back to school and there’s a deep “Nooooooo” in my gut. There’s dread and a steady sickness that rises up in me. I think of certain jobs that I could potentially be doing and the same feeling takes over my body. This is intuition saying “No”. Finally, I’m listening to it. After thinking about the things I didn’t want to do, and talking it out with friends, I do have a plan and I’m bloody excited about it. My gut says “Yes” and then jumps around like a 8 year old after ingesting a bag full of five cent candies.
So while I think about my next step, I’m determined to think about this universe and know that right now, I am contributing somehow. We are not separate from each other, we are each other and we came from this Earth. We did not just arrive; we were already here. We have a purpose and it’s not to stress out about living, but to just live and be alive. It really isn’t necessary to achieve something outside of ourselves. We put that pressure on ourselves, with help from society, friends, and family. But ultimately, it is our decision who we listen to. It is our decision what we tell ourselves.
Carl Jung said in his eulogy of Richard Wilhelm who translated the I Ching, he said “it takes somebody who is willing to give up the Western predisposing perceptual framework sufficiently to experience another orientation toward the universe to be able to know what needs to be known outside of one’s own system.” – Ram Dass
Maybe these questions are relevant to you and your life now? Then we can just live and be alive and be ok with that.