Life is only as complicated as we choose to make it.
The human race has this incredible obsession with complicating our lives. We create these impossible goals and lofty ambitions, and reject the relatively simple things we all want.
Everybody wants to love and be loved. Everybody wants to find joy and peace. Everybody wants to feel good. Yes, I recognize these are pretty massive generalizations, but that doesn’t make them any less true. I know some people appear to wallow in their misery, but I am still one-hundred percent certain they want these things.
So how do we complicate these things? Instead of reveling in the simple feelings underlying love, joy, and generally feeling good, we attach unnecessary labels and create complicated steps in order to “succeed”.
You’re probably feeling rather incredulous about this notion, so let me better illuminate my point. As children, and I mean children before schooling or right as it begins, we sought simple things to make us happy. A hug, playing outside, petting dogs and cats, running after butterflies, coloring incessantly, watching cartoons, mom and/or dad tucking us in at night all made us feel loved, all brought us a sense of joy and peace, and made us feel good.
We were children. We didn’t know any better. And that right there is my point. I would actually argue that we did know better, but as we became “educated”, we added layers of complexity to the things that made us feel good.
Again, I need to make an important clarification. Last week I wrote about knowledge versus faith, and emphasized how important each is. Knowledge is power, and faith is the ability to choose paths for yourself to walk. I am in no way deriding education, because it is so very very important. What I am writing about here is learning to complicate feelings with labels and the like.
As we grow up we are shown that love is not just the clouds in the sky, your cat purring on your lap, hugs and kisses. Love becomes this complicated, variable notion that takes on tons of layers and meanings and can be perceived as equally painful when lost as it is pleasurable when found.
We develop relationships. We start to need to define love based on societal norms and media and unrealistic ideals created by movies and religions and nations and customs and so on. Instead of just giving and receiving love for being an incredible, powerful creator, we add these layers of complexity and explanation and redefine it into something very different.
I love you, but I’m not in love with you. I love you with all my heart. I love you as a friend. I love you because we are family, but I don’t really like you. I want to love you, but our love is forbidden. Where do these messages come from? They come from our maddening need as we get older to complicate the single most powerful tool we have for living the best lives we can.
Then we find even more unique ways to complicate joy and peace. We decided long ago that you had to work to earn certain things in this life. Higher education cost money, so many people put themselves deep into debt to get educated. Now, out of school, to pay back that debt, and also to afford food and shelter and cars and clothes and health insurance and such, you have to work. Not only do you have to work, but you have to earn enough money to get all these things. Then, you should work harder and longer so you can get better things.
Now our time for joy and peace is limited. Evenings and weekends, because for most people work is a necessary chore in order to gain the material, some of which is necessary, some of which we buy in order to further our joy and peace. Thus we create this frustrating loop of more work to try to find more peace and joy and on and on. But rather than gain peace and joy, we often gain exhaustion and sorrow for our troubles. Complicating a simple idea.
Then we really throw wrenches into the works when it comes to feeling good. First, we turn to all sorts of outside forces to make ourselves feel good. Alcohol, tobacco, drugs and the like are the most common examples of the things we turn to in order to make ourselves feel good. Some of the things that most make us feel good have been complicated or stigmatized so that we might only partake of them in the most private manner. Or worse, the things that make us feel good get weaponized and are used to make some people not feel good. Perfect examples of all of these are sex, religion and money.
Sex makes us feel good. But there is taboo, and stigma attached to sex. It is amazing how we make ourselves feel bad about the desire and the act if it’s not in-line with societal expectation. Religion is meant to make us feel good, and even make us feel at peace. And it’s great, until religion begins dictating policy. When we fight over having one true religion, and forcing each other’s religiously fueled morality upon one another, it becomes a horrible concept and a tool of oppression, war and sorrow. And then there is money. The complexities of money and what it can do for us and how we view it and earning it and spending it and saving it and everything in between is so unbelievable. Money is a tool and a form of energy that we do not fully understand because we see it as limited instead of abundant. I could write epic novels on the complexities of money and its power over us versus its power to empower us.
This is how we make our lives more complicated than they need to be. The question becomes, what can we do about this? Next week I’ll explore this further, and explore ideas for more easily finding love, peace, joy and feeling good.
In what ways do you complicate your own life?
GOAL LOG – Week 36:
Diet: Improving, I think. I continue to mostly avoid sugar, since I’ve come to realize it makes me feel fluggish.
Exercise: Fencing happened twice last week, and I got to the gym twice. Definitely Getting better.
Writing: No writing happened six days last week!
Meditation: I meditated every day last week, for a minimum of at least 5 minutes.
Gratitude: I wrote five or six things I was grateful for every day last week.
This is the two-hundred forty-sixth entry in my series. These weekly posts are ideas and my personal experiences in walking along the path of life. I share this journey as part of my desire to make a difference in this world along the way.
Thank you for joining me. Feel free to re-blog and share.
The first year of Pathwalking, including some expanded ideas, is available here.
If you enjoy Pathwalking, you may also want to read my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better.