That’s one of the ultimate questions in life, right? How do we live life happily? Most of us have happy moments, but how many of us are truly happy, living the dream?
I suspect not many because many people are asleep in life – unconscious -– living in autopilot mode, living in the past and the future, but rarely, if ever, in the here and now. And, to compound the issue, many feed their unconscious state with distractions – TV, social media, and the internet to name but a few. And, at the same time, the voice in our head (the ego) provides a constant running commentary of judgements, observations, and dramas based on the past and future projections. Which, as a consequence, this leads many to live in a distracted, drama-filled life rather than a present, empowering, happy life.
It’s a pretty bold statement that I am making about society as a whole, I know.
But think about it, how many of us leap out of bed and race around unconsciously getting ready for work? And then while commuting to work, plug into technology – the Blackberry, iPhone, Smartphone or headphones acting as our commuting companion? And then on arrival at work, fill our days with meetings on top of meetings, conference calls on top of conference calls, and add to the never-ending To-Do List caused by the “do more with less” work culture? And then, finally, upon finishing work, on the commute home, plug back into technology during our journey? And then once again, on arrival home, distract ourselves by surfing the internet, mindlessly scrolling social media or watching made-up drama on TV or the News?
There are a great many people in society living a version of the above scenario. But hey, if you’re not convinced by what I am saying then, Google how many hours the average person works and consumes media. If you do, it will become evident that we are quite literally working, scrolling, swiping and watching our precious lives away.
And we tell ourselves that this is living. That this is what life is.
It is what unconscious living looks like. And, it is the reason why many are not truly happy, living the dream.
Since there are so many people in society that have accepted this way of life as what life is, means that we, as a society, have adopted a herd mentality. Rather than question the norm, we have become a part of it, meaning we are living a collective unconsciousness – a collective disempowerment. A collective unhappiness. A collective dissatisfaction.
Living in a distracted, unconscious state does not create happiness or a healthy society. Instead, it produces disempowerment and helplessness – a feeling that life happens to us rather than for us. Think about it – how many times have we said or heard someone say, “One day I will,” or “I want to” or “When I get”? These are all disempowering statements that suggest we do not have agency over our life - that in the future we will be/do/have, but until then there is dissatisfaction and lacking in life. And all the while we are waiting for the future to happen, we end up sleepwalking through life, living in a state of inertia, with the incorrect assumption that we have an infinite amount of time to live.
So, what is the solution? The solution to breaking free and living life happily, living the dream, regardless of what life throws at us?
It’s a simple one.
The solution is to wake up, get rid of the distractions as much as possible and live in the NOW. To become aware of every single moment of our lives. To get into the habit of continually asking ourselves “Is what I am doing or thinking right now, helping me to live a happy, meaningful life?”. And, if the answer is, no, then we need to proactively work to stop doing it or thinking about it and take different actions that will lead to a happy life. That is what having agency is about –recognising that we have the power to control our thoughts, behaviours, and actions. We don’t have to live in autopilot mode. We can forgo the herd mentality and choose differently.
So, my question to you is this – are you truly awake? Are you in control of your mind and what you put in it, or have you filled it with distractions, autopilot mode and incessant ego chatter?
Not sure? Okay, here’s a simple test to determine the state of your mind:
Go sit down somewhere for 5 minutes and think of nothing.
* * * *
You couldn’t do it, could you? Your mind chatted to you the whole time, right?
No judgement if it did – my mind was the same way until I got rid of the distractions and proactively trained myself to think and act differently. That said, in the interest of full disclosure, I still haven’t mastered this. It’s a work in progress; however, I now have the conscious awareness of when I am falling back into unconscious living.
Perhaps this exercise has woken you up to how distracted your thoughts are and how unconscious you are living. If that’s the case, then my questions to you now are these:
Contact me if you need help with this.
I wish you a great, purposeful, happy life.
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