There are those who live life to its fullest and there are those whom mostly just exist. You can see it in their eyes, in their actions, or in their lack of action. Living versus existing. What category would you place yourself in? You just might be surprised to discover yourself amongst those who just exist. Just existing is to miss out on the wondrous and infinite possibilities of what is living.
Children are good at living. They have inborn instincts to enjoy, have fun, to really live. Also they are blessed with a sense of wonder about the world around them. However, with time they are conditioned by society to be insatiable consumers. They are educated to not think for themselves, to live life in the mainstream. And that's the problem. The mainstream are sheep walking off a cliff. By adulthood they have become their own Grand Child's worst nightmare.
For instance, many people act just like sheep. They live in a waking dream. With little conscious choice or control over their own lives. They follow everyone else, do what everyone else does and buy what everyone else is buying. They let society do the thinking for them. It's easier that way.
To begin their day, they are awakened by an alarm clock at the same time every morning. And so starts another day of doing the same things. Routine makes life efficient, practical, safe, and predictable. But routine is not living. Real living comes from the opposite. Creation and Change are the Mother and Father of real living. They don't realize that, so they suffer from a growing sense of anxiety welling up from within for unknown reasons. Then it's Breakfast time, "Honey where did you put the white bread".
Then they climb into their big gas guzzling, pollution spewing, sport utility vehicle. It's just like what a lot of other people have. They're big and sit high, giving a temporary sense of power and control. Once they step out onto the ground however the power is gone. Routine has the power not them. Next they join the other sheep on the road. One vehicle, one passenger; that is the mantra. They don't care about or believe in global warming, the looming crisis of our planet. They have a thoughtless indifference to what kind of world future generations will inherit. Existing is all there is.
Next they arrive at the office and march like the good soldiers they are to their cubicles. They have substitutes of the things that are of real importance sitting on their desks. Pictures of their children, little sand boxes complete with a miniature rake. A potted plant sits in a lonely corner, tricked into growing by the nearby fluorescent light. Those people are slaves to materialism, prisoners in cells called cubicles. They look forward to break time, even office politics is better than looking at a computer screen for hours.
Arriving home they feel drained, the cause, another meaningless day at work. They are too tired to care about the kids who are in the photos on their office desk. They watch TV and find it interesting what Paris Hilton is up to. She is a distraction from society's own grim existence. Prozac, sleeping pills, tossing and turning, the alarm clock, and another routine day begins. They are caught in a seemingly endless loop of despair.
The pay from their work is mostly to pay for their shiny vehicles and over-sized houses. Most jobs are either directly or indirectly related to selling people things. Business spends billions on seducing people into buying stuff they don't need. Business hires slaves to make more slaves. Materialism is like a fire burning out of control. It grows, but eventually it feeds on itself and dies out. That is what will happen one day to our economy. The economic model of consumerism will consume itself by using up all our resources, too late for the planet though, oops.
So how then should we live? Most of us fall somewhere between the two extremes illustrated here as existence or living. Between being a mindless zombie or a life lived in perpetual bliss. We should strive toward the direction of bliss and leave the zombie that we were behind. Yes, there is hope, for each of us and for the planet. There is a better way. We can be an active and conscious participant in turning this bus around.
Make it your intention right now to start living a life. Seek out and appreciate fluidity and the limitless possibilities that come with change. Get rid of the big house, the big vehicle and the big screen TV. Leave behind the material things that are not truly important to you. Get a job that is enjoyable and meaningful. Make a positive contribution to society, be a part of the solution not the problem. Tread lightly on the earth by doing things that have the least possible impact on the environment. Wake up and become a conscious being. Act with intention and attention.
Become a student of life and living. Learn all you can and learn it well. Just skimming through an endless stream of self-help books isn't going to do it. Pick a good one, learn it well and put it's concepts into practice. Master the subject before moving on to another. The farther along you come as a student the closer you will be to mastering the art of living. You will increasingly make good life choices based on expanded knowledge, insight and wisdom. You will have grown to trust your instincts and intuition. So go ahead, get started make today a good day. Tomorrow will even be better.