I got to thinking again about the subjects of freedom, happiness, and just what it means to live a satisfied life. I think about these things as I continue to marvel over my Mexican neighbors, many of whom seem to live such joy filled lives. And the question arises like why do they appear to be so satisfied and content while so many of their more prosperous northern neighbors seem so miserable?

I spent a good part of my life pursuing freedom, believing somehow that freedom and happiness were intrinsically interwoven. And it took a lot of years to figure out just how wrong I really was.

Looking back I guess one could say that I applied an aspect of the scientific method in trying to problem solve the nature of my existence by going through an iterative process of elimination. Meaning, I went through a series of downsizes by throwing out this and that, eliminating things along the way that eventually kind of helped me sort out the important from the unimportant.

In ’91 I got rid of my TV and my nice car; it was a divorce so that decision was actually made for me. But for whatever reason, I never replaced either. In ’98 I took a long leave of absence from my job. In ’99 I quit, sold my house in California, gave away about 25% of my stuff and moved east.

I took the next 5 years off, built a pretty cool house in the mountains but by 2005 I was still no closer to the how or why of just exactly what made a satisfied life. I was free, so to speak, but I was still doing the same things; meaning I was really just another one of those guys who had a lot of free time on their hands.

In 2005 I moved to Washington, DC and took another job. In January 2007 I sold that cool, custom built house in the mountains and in the doing got rid of most of the remaining 95% of my stuff.

And yes, I loved living in Washington, DC but the whole career thing, I discovered, was moving me further away from my objective; as my life was still not satisfying.

However it is a bit ironic that my life mission began to coalesce during that time when I experienced a layoff (2007) which was when I [finally] sat down and completed a draft of my yet to be published first novel entitled ‘Journey to La Paz’.

And I found that I kind of liked that. I always liked the written word and soon discovered that it got much more interesting and way more personal when those written words were mine. And somewhere during that time I got back into running again. I reacquainted myself with the endorphin buzz. Oh, yeah. And I liked that too.

Gradually I started coming around to a more complete awareness of self. That I was no more (or less) than the sum totals of the strength of my body and the power of my mind. I liked the notion that if everything that was extraneous to self was stripped away, then what was left was who I really was. Naked me, possessing no more than a pencil and a piece of paper. Nothing to hide behind. I liked the simplicity of that truth and that was my metaphysical starting point.

My awareness spun out from there. A greater awareness of God. The greater awareness of God as the creator. The awareness of the finiteness of self. I came to the realization that if I was going to continue to live in this world then I would need more than ever to find a truer reason for living. A life filled with meaning. A life that was satisfying.

I concluded that the transcendence of self could only occur somewhere in the participation of an act of creation. Just like in E = MC², where C, the speed of light is the toggle between energy and mass, so is a creative act the toggle between man and the divine.

So I reasoned that man does not achieve his true divinely ordained potential without first finding and then engaging the engines of creation. Conversely, I came to the rather unoriginal conclusion that if all a person does is consume someone else’s content then they are completely missing the point of why they’re here.

Happiness is transitory. But joy is deep and the wellspring of joy is satisfaction. And I also came to the conclusion that electronic entertainment is making our society sick. That modern culture is making a few people on this planet very rich but depriving the rest of us of our souls. And that our primary quest for comfort and safety is blinding us to the realities concerning the true needs of our souls and spirits.

Mexican’s live joyful lives because they are totally engaged in the process of living. And unplugged living – living in the now – is somewhat an inexplicably creative act. Much like primitive man where nature was not so much a nuisance but a spectacle.

The Mexican demonstrates this connection by living their lives outdoors, surrounded by family neighbors, and friends. Mexicans do not shut themselves away in their houses. The walls of their homes were not constructed as barriers. Their architecture, just like their lives, is open.

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