The world can be a complex and daunting place to live in. A myriad of emotions and thoughts inundate us daily as we navigate the nuances of expectations, datelines, disappointments and conflicts in our workplace and at home. Modern devices and technological advances that were meant to simplify and help us live better create new demands for our attention and energy. We are hooked onto social media and the ‘like’ button. We binge on drama serials and live vicariously through our favorite stars, and interact less with fellow human beings. It becomes a vicious cycle such that after a while, unfamiliar and uncomfortable with personal human interaction, we retreat even further into our den of Netflix, YouTube, on-line shopping, gaming and other forms of escape. The self with its emotional and existential pain is numbed and distracted for a time, but deep in our hearts we know that hunger, that longing, that desperate gnawing for intimacy and meaning will be back with a vengeance. You need to choose your reality in order to break free from pain and this vicious cycle.
It is against this backdrop that we are forced to confront the travails of our modern living. Our physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyles have led us to have neck and back pain, along with obesity and the attendant diabetes and high blood pressure. An accident or trauma or surgery can easily tip us over the edge, given that most of us lack emotional and physical resilience. Living for the moment, for pleasure, and working for money which is the currency of our contrived god of happiness, we have become ‘soft’ and lost. We often misinterpret that sense of loss as a lack of romantic love and thus search for the “right one” and for someone to sweep us off our feet and set our hearts aflutter. We may float from one relationship to another, from one glitzy social event to the next without ever finding what we are looking for. ‘Cos we never really knew what we were looking for.
As we grow old, our bodies age. Alarm and anxiety and fear of what lies down the mortal road become the bitter brew mixed in with the aching joints and pinched nerves. The one feeds on the other, and together they become twin-headed monstrosities that we are forced to confront and slay lest they completely take over our lives. The loss of loci of control is accelerated by the usage of opioids as evident in the current opioid crisis that has swept across the globe. The pain patient taking opioids may have their pain reduced by a certain amount, but the trade-off is in the form of apathy. Opioids are great for treatment of pain in the short term, when the injury has just occurred. But taken long term, barring a few exceptions, high doses of opioids do more harm than good. Taking opioids, you simply do not care about the pain, and may lose interest making changes in life in order to feel better. You accept the status quo. You become more ambivalent things in your life. In extreme cases, one can end up craving, fighting , plotting, manipulating and lying to the doctor, to loved ones, to oneself in order to justify the chemical dependence. The struggle becomes within rather than without. It becomes difficult to breathe, let alone truly live.
So what can we do? It starts with choosing our reality:
- Which part of our past do we want to keep with us?
- Which part of the present do we want to allow to shape us?
- What type of future do we want as our reality?
Choose your reality, and sow the right seeds today so that you can blossom in the seasons of life to come.