Monday, August 6, 2012

Life is really very simple... or is it?

I haven't been able to get myself to write anything on this blog for more than a week. Last week was a very frustrating and angst-filled week, filled with, well, lots of frustration, angst, and yes, fear about what might or might not happen in the future. I don't particularly feel like going into the details here, because I don't feel like retelling this story, not even to myself. So I'll have to keep all this vague for now, if you'll bear with me here.

But yesterday, I had a very interesting realization. I was walking around the Hallmark store in the local mall, shopping for gifts for a friend, when I suddenly realized this: Life is really very simple. We need to eat. We need to have clothes to wear, and a roof over our heads. We also need to do something we love at least once or twice a day, and have at least one person in our life that we can share everything and anything with without fear of being judged. If we have all these things, life will be good. We do not need anything more. 

I'm still not quite sure how this realization hit me: Maybe there is something about the feel-good vibes in a Hallmark store that does this to me (Hallmark Therapy? :-)). But here's the question: If life is really so very simple, why is it so complicated? For instance, why do we worry about having a job, and then once we get a job, we worry about whether we will be able to do well enough in the job to not get fired? "Well, because you need to eat," somebody might say, "And if you don't work, you don't eat." Maybe this is true. I can't argue with this. But I can't help feeling that something seems to have gone terribly wrong somewhere along the line. Originally, human beings got together and dwelt together in communities because doing so enabled them to protect and take care of one another, so that human life is not so much at the mercy of wild beasts, bad weather, and other unpredictable acts of God. A natural result of this dwelling together is a division of labor among the members of the community, according to the aptitudes and inclinations of each member. A person who finds himself drawn to making shoes will make shoes, and sell them to others in the community in exchange for food or money with which to buy things which he wants or needs. A person who has a talent for singing or dancing will become a singer or dancer, and will be supported by the donations of the people who come to see him sing or dance. And the same goes for whatever other profession or vocation we can think of in human society (including yoga teachers :-)): The basic idea is that one produces or provides something of value for the community, and is supported by the community in turn.

Maybe you will say that this view of how we humans came to dwell together is too simplistic and Utopian. Maybe. But I like to think that it is not too far from the truth, even if it is a little simplistic. So what gives? What has gone wrong? Why do so many people feel that they have to push themselves to produce more and more (and more) at their jobs, or risk losing their livelihoods if they do not push themselves this way? Why does the treadmill of production get faster and faster every single day? Maybe because there are more and more people alive now than ever before, with more and more needs and wants than ever before? Maybe so. But I'm not convinced that this is the real answer. In any case, what the real answer to this question is is not the issue: The issue is, how long can we keep up this cycle of producing more and more?

Hmm. I don't know what else to say here. As always, I have many many questions, but no answers.       


  1. You and I are on the same wave length. I've been feeling the same things for the past couple of weeks. No answers over here either, just a "hey, I'm with you on that." :-)

  2. Me too! I totally relate and feel sad about it. We may even be in a global economic contraction, and hopefully change is coming, but change is hard, and often bloody. Still, my body, mind, and spirit crave simplification. Guess it's all just another chance to make it simple again.

    Another Tara.

    1. Here's to hoping that the change to come will not be bloody :-)