“We can keep ourselves so busy, fill our lives with so many diversions, stuff our heads with so much knowledge, involve ourselves with so many people and cover so much ground that we never have time to probe the fearful and wonderful world within… By middle life most of us are accomplished fugitives from ourselves.
The individual who has become a stranger to himself has lost the capacity for genuine self-renewal.”
John Gardner, Self-Renewal: The Individual and Innovative society. (braingpicking.org)
There’s always a lot on the internet about how to lose weight in that many steps. Or how to land the perfect job. Plenty of random reading material that doesn’t weigh on the senses. That’s what most of us want, right? Something easy on the mind and the heart. Who has the time for anything more?
Who has time for the soul? Who feels the need to dust of residues of complacency, or at worst apathy? The single-most important key to life it may be, but it has no room in a world that obsesses more on materialistic excellence. Gardner further said in his book, “….. A society that has reached heights of excellence may already be caught in the rigidities that will bring it down.” There is nothing wrong with fighting for a better way of living. But it doesn’t make sense when it’s at the expense of self-degradation and lack of self-awareness. The menace of being ‘busy’ keeps us aloof and delusional. We forget the importance of probing into our souls, like a doctor does when we feel sick. Only in this case we are our doctors. And only we can tell the severity of the sickness. But are we willing to identify the symptoms?
We should do what we have to do to feel alive. It could be praying, meditating, painting, reading, writing, thinking, not-thinking, listening, helping. But sometimes even these measures don’t guarantee a complete reboot of the soul. Times that call for something more difficult, more life-changing. Purging ourselves of moral and ethical inadequacies maybe? Sins, bad habits, or both? Maybe that’s the real truth behind feeling alive. When we promise ourselves a better self. A worthy life working to discard the grime that has accumulated over the years. The most important battle we could be a part of, if we are lucky enough.
Maybe the soul wants to relive its previous days. Of the womb. And of the heavens.
It deserves that much from us.