04 September 2011

Sunday Meditation #4: On Giving Up What Is Wanted To Get What Is Wanted

How I wonder how it is we can do all that we think we can!  This consumer culture, this unrelenting atmosphere in which we are raised to compete, to always win, win, win and thereby be validated in the eyes of all the others who wish to win.  The pressure is intense, and it leads us to believe there is nothing we cannot do, nothing we should not do, and that we will always be able to do all, have all.

This troubles me to no end.  Personally, I could do without the constant pressure of competition.  This is not to say I think we should never compete at anything or for anything; rather, it is that ultimately competition for the sake of winning alone interests me very little.  In reality, it bores me and turns me away.  It tends to bring out the bad in people, when the cornerstone of their validation is to "win", whatever that means.

It leads me to believe that in the end, if we buy into the do all/have all/win all myth too heavily we will always end up frustrated, sad and wracked with stress.  Because to believe you can have it all is a false promise.  No one person can do all things, have all things and expect to do them all well and have all the best.  There are limits to human endurance, attention and propriety.

I read somewhere recently that to have a tranquil life, one must limit ones interests.  That phrase struck a gong deep in my head, and I was entranced by the reverberations.  It crystallized a core idea I have been struggling with the past few months, this idea of limiting my involvements so that I may gain peace of mind.  This will matter in the near future, as I consider my life's path and the manner and direction in which it seems to be unfolding now.  I will have choices to make, and interests to consider.  Not all interests will be equally served, as this is an impossibility.  I will have to look deep within my heart and soul, and decide just how much peace and tranquility mean to me, and to my life.

Would that we all do this.


  1. we often fall prey to the "eat and drink for tomorrow we may die" psychology that is so popular in this day and age. people are burning at both ends because they have no real hope for the future. They sell a simple peace for a chance to instant-gratification-win now. Its classic human immaturity. so short sighted. all the older and wiser nations of people have learned over time that sometimes its best to simple turn off ur mind and live. To stop trying to get ahead and just savor existence. The simple things argument i guess is what im getting at. Its all been said before of course, and it will again as the generations rise again and again. hmm. long comment. my bad

  2. Learning to say "no" to people, events and opportunities is an important life lesson. So is making sure that you say no to the correct ones....

  3. I used to find it impossible to say 'no'. Not to my children, but to opportunities and involvements and more and more and more. I tried to say no. I intended to say no. But I couldn't.

    So. I decided to say no to every opportunity for two months. Maybe it was three months. I can't remember, honestly, but every time someone asked me to do something, I would say, "That sounds like something I would like to do, but I have to say no thanks. I'm learning how to say no, and I'm declining everyone for 2 months."

    And instead of people being disappointed, they were actually impressed. Most made comments about how they wish they could say no, or what a good idea that was.

    Also? Totally want to hear about all of the Things and the Stuffs.

  4. It took me a long time to pack that competitive part of my soul into a suitcase and put it in my closet.

    Surprisingly, I am so much more at peace.


  5. I am I to simplifying my life as much as possible. And that means to focus on a few things that I enjoy doing.

  6. This post speaks to me in every aspect... this is the most consistent struggle I've dealt with in my live and ultimately I found being an ex-pat is what helped me resolve the issue... I love that Micheal mentioned older and wiser nations understanding the notion of balance in these matters... I think as Americans part of the problem is that we are defined by what we do and not who we are- there should be a crucial separation there that would ultimately allow people to just be and not feel bad about enjoying that simplicity... and focus on being better people as well...


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...