Whilst reading Yalom’s, The Schopenhauer Cure, I thought, if humans surrendered to moments, would there be less dread/denial of endings and more openness to living fully?
At a celebratory event, I got thinking about this more and more as the day progressed. Here we all were, friends, family, acquaintances, who hadn’t met in almost a year. People were catching up and mingling. I was observing how different interactions played out…. because social awkwardness, since forever. The seemingly random conversations, some full of heated, hidden rage, to calm and quiet, to endless laughter. How do some people step out of their lives and enter a space of connection, whilst others bring with them everything that is hard in their lives and go on repeatedly telling the story of that (like a loop, the same story from last year). Interesting right? To quote Yalom, who quotes Schopenhauer;
‘’Work, worry, toil and trouble are certainly the lot of almost all throughout their lives. But if all desires were fulfilled as soon as they arose, how then would people occupy their lives and spend their time? Suppose the human race were removed to Utopia where everything grew automatically and pigeons flew about ready-roasted; where everyone at once found his sweetheart and had no difficulty in keeping her; then people would die of boredom or hang themselves; or else they would fight, throttle, and murder one another and so cause themselves more suffering than is now laid upon them by nature’’.
Powerful right? When we don’t do things, immerse ourselves in tasks, worry, pursuits, goals, people etc, then our truth is revealed. The truth, I am nothing, life is meaningless (enter existential dread/angst). Therefore, we create meaning and purpose in the stories we choose to tell and persons we choose to be or take on the responsibility of becoming. Big difference, one is the unconscious becoming of all the conformed and adapted selves cultivated throughout life from birth, where one needed approval and validation to survive their parents, to the conscious choosing of becoming who one is through careful examination of how life is being lived, self-awareness, responsibility to authenticity, creating life.
Consider this: One day this will all end, and I will die. The more I live, the more I die. The more I live, the less I think about dying. The less I live, the more I think about dying.
So, isn’t all interaction and narrations, story telling a pursuit of turning away from the harsh reality of life? I think so. Our ancestors, worried about surviving, hunting, building tribes and communities. We don’t because everything is already here, and humans are thriving. We concern ourselves with the worry of how to exist and heal from one another.
To surrender to moments, one must let go of fear, rejection, comfort of isolation, insecurities and immerse in the now. I don’t think this state of being is continual. I think it’s more going into moments, surrendering, then coming out knowing it’s over and you’re OK. By the act of surrendering there is less regret of not have fully lived. Surrendering is permitting oneself to open up to desires/aspirations one wishes to have rather than a passive onslaught of another’s dishing out and a tirade of what one ought to be. Certainly, as self-awareness goes up, that looming ending feeling becomes less hidden. The power of this level of awareness can motivate one to fully enter every moment and live it to the fullest, gain perspective that this moment will never exist again.
look, life is bad. everyones sad. we’re all gona die. but I alredy bought this inflatable boumcy castle so are u gona take ur shoes off or wat
~ Jonny Sun
(those are not typos, check out his illustrations)