The Pursuit of Calm: #3

Nowadays, almost all of us wish we could be calmer, yet in a sense it’s remarkable that we ever manage to be anything but ‘wired’, distracted, and in some shape or form, intoxicated.

In this hyper-stimulating & hyper-connected world, there is so much to which we are exposed to, a plethora of unpredictable risks waiting 365/24/7 to threaten our state of mind, and thus trigger habits and behaviours that further compound our ability to take the best care of ourselves.

It’s unavoidable, the reality is…

We live on an over-crowded planet, bathed in an atmosphere of fear, populism, opinion, faux news and junk values.

Where constant-intrusion is the accepted default. The constant barrage of being distracted is benignly labelled as ‘notifications’. Mass media continuously inflames our passion and stokes our fears, while successfully deflecting our attention from the stillness, beauty, generosity and kindness that is all around us.

We are continually compelled to make significant life-choices, often without all the facts, or indeed, having to now entertain the possibility that facts are not facts…adding further doubt and stress.

We have an enormous capacity to beat ourselves up, and haunt our minds that we are never young enough, talented enough, or as beautiful or as intelligent as we think we need to be.

We are increasingly resistant and incapable to living in the now – with our thoughts constantly percolating the pain of the past, or anxiously and desperately peering into whatever tomorrow may hold…often to which we pin our hopes and happiness on this unknown tomorrow, that remains frustratingly out of our reach.

Our nervous system is activated every-waking-hour to arousal mode. We seldom have the notion, or sufficient time to access and connect to the quieter, reflective aspects of our mind. Even the way the majority of us we breathe sees our nervous system in flight of flight mode 24/7…yes, even while your are sleep.

We are so ‘activated, engaged, turned-on, and preoccupied’ that we can no longer experience calm spontaneously…it has to be actively sought, often as an afterthought…and ironically, that process in itself can create further stress.

The result?

We’re constantly triggered…so triggered in fact, it’s easier, and more comforting to be preoccupied, distracted and intoxicated, rather than being calm, sitting still & taking time out to reflect and disengage…essential time to restore and rejuvenate.
We are in effect not only struggling to notice ourselves, but we are actively engaged in living a life that is keep us at arms length from ourselves.

“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering”
– Friederich Nietzsche

 

Is distraction-addiction the fundamental reason why we struggle to take the best care possible of ourselves?

Is our hyper-stimulated lifestyles feeding and defaulting our habitual subconscious habits and behaviours to:
Over consume alcohol?
Eat unintelligently?
Heightened anxiety levels?
Quick to anger?
Sacrifice our sleep?
Unable to resist spending hours on our devices, submerged in social media, TV, streaming services etc?
Our propensity to keep doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result?

If we were calmer, could we better recognise our own triggers and see how they negatively impact the quality of our life?
If we were calmer, could we not live with more intention, and apply more attention…to live in the now and be a less of victim to our whims, and self-indulgences?

If we were calmer, would we have greater self-control?

“If you are defeated once and tell yourself you will overcome, but carry on as before, know in the end you’ll be so ill and weakened that eventually you won’t even notice your mistake and will begin to rationalise your behaviour.”
-Epictetus

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