How does one break away from it all? Can one really break away from it all? Or is there no option but to stay on the hamster wheel and keep moving till eternity?
Am not going to do another whine here on how mundane life has become. The mundane has its own attractions. A sense of routine brings its own (false) security. There’s nothing wrong as such with it, that people need to go screaming, live like it’s the last day of your life! Or Do something different today! Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara! Go backpacking in Europe!
It’s been a while since I stopped caring about such guff. Have come to realise that all it means is that you have too many friends of FB, so your average feed is full of vacations, and you have bucketloads of money to take off wherever you want to and you don’t really know what to do with it.
So yes, how does one break away from it all? Is it possible? In a way am thinking of an escape, a temporary refuge/world/dimension that you can escape to and come back. And no, I don’t necessarily mean physical ones. You could physically escape to some ‘resort’, but that’d hardly help if you are taking everything with you mentally.
Is it possible to carve a niche and settle a world in your everyday life and escape to it? That’s where physical activity/meditation come in. All those escape hatches like running, cycling, meditation, these are what help you stay sane. But, do they?
I remember writing about this once, about the need for escape hatches and being able to come back to tackle what life is throwing at you. And I was left a comment saying that I should probably look at the opposite approach which is embracing whatever is being thrown at you. At that time, I disagreed. I believed in escapes. How do you manage to stay sane, and come out in one piece when you are going through a lot? Will what goes in, come out exactly as is? Won’t the experience change you, for good or bad? What if it does? Why shouldn’t it?
I really don’t know what I believe in, anymore. While escapes are nice, do they always leave you refreshed to get back? Or do you get stuck in a mode where you are only looking forward to the next escape? Where your mind is on the escape, and not on what you’re dealing with.
How does the other approach of embracing the whole thing and dealing with it fare? Hard to say. Would it depend on the duration and the intensity? Something to deal with for a few weeks, might be better to deal with and then get out. Something that you have to deal with for years, like an illness in the family, might be worth having both approaches? Either way, embracing is necessary. But how does one stay sane? What if the problem is emotionally draining and taking a lot out of you?
This is where defences like stoicism or detachment come into the picture. To be able to immerse yourself in the activity, but not let it get to you. To be able to observe your emotions and not go with them. To be able to elevate yourself one level above your emotions.
And how easy is it? It isn’t. After months of meditation, some my own attempts, and some guided, am now scratching the surface. At some moments, am able to notice my rage, the sudden spikes in stress, during activities like driving. But the excess rage I used to work myself up to aren’t there as much. At home, it isn’t that easy. I still get thoughts when the mind is empty, and they do play a lot on me. It’s going to be a long path ahead, and it won’t be easy. But the start is there, and some results are being seen.
But the key thing is that it also works as an escape hatch. After a stressful day being able to just go in to this other world, and then come out is refreshing. It feels peaceful, the opposite of the rearing to go at everything feeling. And that’s what you want after a point, to be able to sit back and not feel like the world is crashing around you, that you can’t go on like this forever.
The future might not be promising, the past might not have worked out as you wanted, but the present is OK, there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you are able to breathe in and breathe out. It feels good to just feel yourself alive. What more can you ask for?