How have you been feeling lately? That’s my first question of the day (you all know how much I love my questions).
How are you, really? Are you content? Sad? Frustrated? Bored? Elated? Heartbroken? These emotions are all valid things to feel, as are all the other emotions that can be felt by us humans.
Why, then, do we continually beat up ourselves and others over the emotions that we feel? Why, for example, do you feel guilty about taking some time for yourself (away from family members, friends, significant others, children, coworkers…) from time to time, even though you know in your heart and your mind that you desperately need it? And why do we allow ourselves to get to a point of desperation of need for something like this anyway? Why deny ourselves something as innocent and healthy as some time for self-development and self-reflection? Or any other thing that feels equally right for us at the time? Because we are told that we should and should not do certain things. We are told that some choices we make are good, and some choices we make are bad. People question our choices. People judge our choices based on what they feel is good for them or bad for them. And this type of social-pleasing thinking is what makes so many of us go through life unhappy.
As of late, I have been making a conscious and concerted effort to let myself just simply “be”. To feel the things that flow through my heart, to think the things that flow through my mind, and to do the things that feel right (even if it may be difficult to do so). Do you have any idea what kind of stress relief it can be to simply let go and to “be”? An ENORMOUS stress relief! Even with the little things (ESPECIALLY with the little things), it has given me such a sense of quiet in my soul to just let things happen the way that they seem to be flowing. There is no “should” or “shouldn’t”, no “good” or “bad”. Because no decision is ever inherently “good” or “bad”, and there is never anything that you really “should” or “shouldn’t” do (within reason). There are just decisions, and things that you do or do not do. But the choice is always yours whether you do those things or not, and the judgement always yours of whether a particular choice feels good, feels bad, or is neutral. Of course, you also have to be willing to take responsibility for whatever action(s) you choose to take, and learn from whatever outcome you get, but if it feels right to do something, I say do it.
You see, I get these thoughts from a philosophy that I have more and more been coming to explore these days. If it has a formal name or title, please let me know so I can research it more. But the basic tenet of this philosophy is that you and I are both nothing and everything at the same time. In different ways. But you’ll see what I mean.
You, and I, and every other living thing, and every non-living thing, and all of the atoms and molecules that make us up, exist. Right? Right. Every atom and molecule in the universe is there for a reason, in a sense. The forces of physics act on these tiny pieces of matter to bring them together, break them apart, rearrange them, and convert them into energy at times, only to go back to matter again. All of those parts are not separate, but rather simply density gradients in a four-dimensional space. As in, everything flows into one another, changes, and moves about, to keep the universe existing in a state of relative equilibrium because there are no separate or mutually exclusive parts. Everything is everything else. So why, then, do we always try to separate ourselves from that? We are just bags of skin with all the same elements inside that one would find in distant life forms, planets, galaxies… We are all made of that stuff floating around in space, exchanging atoms with our surroundings all the time. We are all of it! We are everything.
And yet, at the same time, we are nothing. We are infinitesimally small players in a grand play, playing out over billions of years (a much longer time than any one person will live or care about). Why then do we take ourselves so seriously? Get so depressed at meaningless things like losing our job? Lament so terribly at something as superficial as having to pay taxes for sewers and roads? What do sewers and roads even matter on the grand scheme of things anyway? (I know they matter on a short, human-life time scale, but please just follow along). In about a hundred years, nobody who is reading this will even still be alive, let alone care about the day’s events, or why they can’t stand going to work, or how insufferable it is to have a two-year-old at home. It matters, sure, because in each moment, what you are experiencing is everything. You are everything. As I said. But at the same time, try to realize that it is all nothing. And you are nothing. All of the things that you hate will be over in a relative instant. And so will all the things you love. It sounds terrifying, doesn’t it? But it isn’t. It is actually very liberating when you approach it with serenity! It’s like you’re a kid in school, and you have the choice to skip math class and go play road hockey with your friends, but by skipping class you still don’t get detention when you show up the next day. Imagine! Skipping class without detention! Would you do it? Would you make the choice to go play road hockey? I think most everybody would, except the people that really like math. And that’s okay, because that’s your choice and there is no “good” or “bad” choice. You should do what you love. So why treat life any differently? Why take it so seriously? Does anyone get out of life alive? Is anyone standing at the finish line of your life, waiting to punish you for doing what you truly love to do? It really doesn’t matter what choice you make! It all really means nothing anyway. Laugh it off. Do what feels right, and you’ll make it a lot farther in life. Be honest with yourself, and you will never say “should” or “shouldn’t” again. Be true to your passions and values, and you will never regret anything.
You owe it to yourself to take it easy and not take yourself, or your life, so seriously. None of us has the blueprint or the treasure map. It’s different for everyone, what makes each of us happy, and we’re all just bumbling and fumbling through to try and find our way in the dark. And although you are but a speck of almost nothing in this vast universe – a tiny pinprick of light in the vast darkness – there are billions of other pinpricks of light in this universe that, if you were to realize were all connected through time and space, you would see that you form one part of this infinite constellation of Everything.