Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Most Important

The most important step in emancipating oneself from social controls is the ability to find rewards in the events of each moment. If a person learns to enjoy and find meaning in the ongoing stream of experience, in the process of living itself, the burden of social controls automatically falls from one's shoulders. Power returns to the person when rewards are no longer relegated to outside forces. It is no longer necessary to struggle for goals that always seem to recede into the future, to end each boring day with the hope that tomorrow, perhaps, something good will happen. Instead of forever straining for the tantalizing prize dangled just out of reach, one begins to harvest the genuine rewards of living.

- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow

* * *

The questions have been around for as long as we've been around: How am I to live? How is happiness, meaning found in between the cradle and the grave? The answers have been around for just as long: Resist being a mere plaything of chance. Take control over that which you can control - your thoughts, your words, your deeds. External rewards turn you into a hungry ghost. Turn within and never go hungry again.

The answers are easy, self-evident.
It is the doing that is hard.

* * *

We fucked, we unhappy fucked are unhappy, in part, because we know the cure but refuse its balm. Just like the external reward system of money, power and sexual conquest keeps us ever hungry for more and more, thereby never finding an once of satisfaction or happiness, so too, the carrot of an unfucked and flourishing life remains just out of our reach. We believe by knowing the answers, or some variation on their themes, our worlds will right themselves in fealty to our knowledge. But fucked fuckers that we are we are blind to the agency through which happiness and meaning and unfuckedness flow: discipline.

We are lazy in body and mind and wonder why things aren't better than they are. The effort to harness our energies along the lines of our goals is too great. Our weakness betrays us and we remain as we were: fucked and stuck and going nowhere. The exact opposite of Csikszentmihalyi's flow.

To unfuck your life you have to be willing to submit to the discipline required of any endeavor if you want to do it well. And what better goal than to live your life well, fully awake and aware of the experience as you live it?

In order to become adept at something, an expert, a journeyman, a professional you have to commit to learning and practicing and developing whatever skill or ability that lights you up over time. No art is made on the first day. No life is lived in an hour. Progress does not arrive because want it. It arrives because we will it into existence day in and day out, moment by moment. This is the discipline required. It isn't the word discipline as punishment, but rather as the path to freedom.

Are you up to it?
As the song goes, "This ain't no place for the weary kind."

* * *

Look, it's hard to stop fucking up. If you've wasted more days than you can remember on sorrow and longing, I'm with you. If you've wasted more days than you can remember being tied up in hate, I'm with you. If you've wasted more days than you can remember feeling like everyone else had the key and you were stuck with the lock, I'm with you there as well. But here's the news - life is always emerging, is always creasing the horizon and coming at you. It is always flowing. To free yourself from the fear and self-loathing that comes from living in the past you have to take hold of the only thing left to you, the only thing you ever had: your spirit. Give it some room. Discipline yourself to tend it, to give it room to grow and take up what space it will. This is something you can do without buying gym equipment or a bunch of fucking self-help books.

Help yourself by deciding, by committing, by disciplining yourself to tend your spirit, your soul. The rest will fucking take care of itself. Your life needs your best effort, not the sack of woe you been dragging around.

Start now and remember every moment is now.

* * *



No comments:

Post a Comment