Our mind is a web of entangled thoughts, that never ceases to churn out the most random feelings during our lifetime. With the increased dependency on technology, our attention has also greatly reduced, where our minds are bombarded with information from all over the globe, leading to more and more thoughts. These thoughts manifest themselves as emotions that often disrupt our daily lives.
How often do you wish to have a day without thoughts? A day where you do not hear the constant buzzing of your mind reflecting on thoughts about your past causing pain, or thoughts about the future causing anxiety, thoughts that distract you from your work, relationships, goals and ambitions. That constant buzz is what separates you from THIS MOMENT, from NOW.
We have several definitions and labels for various types of people around us. A person who enjoys his or her work and spends endless hours at the workplace is a workaholic, the one who finds pleasure in shopping at every opportunity regardless of a justified need is a shopaholic. Similarly we label people addicted to the consumption of alcohol as alcoholics or those relying on marijuana each day as potaholics.
However, some of these labels are relatively more negative than others. An alcoholic can’t seem to find any pride in being able to admit to this habit in a group conversation. However for shopaholics, stating their weakness is matter of fact, where no judgement is sentenced upon them. Both the issues are simply signs of weaknesses, but perceived differently.
I started wondering about this weakness and questioned as to why we indulge in activities that only contribute to momentary satisfaction. Alcohol certainly does not taste better than my favorite fruit, nor does a wardrobe full of clothes feel better than sitting atop a mountain surrounded by the vastness of the universe. These moments of temporary nature are often expressed with words such as stress busters, mellow, light headed and most often high. While this phenomenon has been scientifically studied and shown how different hormones cause these feelings of happiness, I do not intend to explore the scientific side of it.
Each time a person vigorously indulges in any such activity that gives them pleasure, even momentarily, can be deemed as an effort to achieve a state of thoughtlessness. Our mind is constantly occupied with varied emotions of anxiety, fear or sometimes cherishing past memories. But the state of thoughtlessness brings about the feeling of being present. Each one of us is trying to figure out an escape route from our thoughts to attain this state. Consuming ourselves with an activity to avoid being entangled in the web of thoughts is something we all share in common, only in various different ways. Shopaholics often find themselves eagerly waiting for an item ordered online until it is delivered, only to repeat the same process all over again, just to relive that moment again. This is a sign of weakness equivalent to consuming alcohol on a daily basis, or working endless hours until the mind and body give up with sleep as the last resolve left on hand.
Am I saying everyone working hard is just another alcoholic? No! However, everyone is trying to find their ‘high’ state. For a fitness fanatic or a fitness ‘freak’ this could be working out and seeing the results they aspire to achieve. Why are they called freaks even though the only thing they wish to attain is a healthy and balanced life? They are freaks to you and me because we cannot see our ‘high’ state in their actions. This is simply the reason why we are not able to stick to the gym and our enthusiasm soon dies away. In a 24 hour day we spend our time doing several things, but only a handful of minutes or hours make us feel alive. It is when we really love what we do, that enables thoughtlessness. We cherish and savor every moment of it and long for it to come back soon.
Unless extreme, certain habitual behavior is simply an escape route and need not be complicated or labeled as abnormalities. Being ‘high’ is being in the present, in the now. The quest is to find that state not just for a handful of moments, but for the rest of our life!