Early December marked the beginning of a rough few weeks for me. I lost my job due to circumstances beyond my control, dealt with intermittent coughs and colds and, finally, concluded the month of January with Covid (a family affair).
Today was the first time in a long time I was able to sit in an empty house, sipping my coffee slowly and just taking the time to breathe. Honestly, I hadn’t realized how burnt I was until this very moment. Almost two years into Covid working full-time from home with young kids under recurring lock downs, limited social interactions, minimal activities and negative sentiment all around, it’s no wonder the mental health of Canadians is deteriorating. In fact, a recent study conducted by Environics Research sponsored by Dialogue shows that almost half of Canadians report worsened mental health due to the pandemic. With so much chaos surrounding us, I think a little time for reflection is now more important than ever.
In doing so, I came across a short video in which world renown yogi and spiritual guru, Sadhguru addressed humanity’s ongoing quest for purpose and meaning. According to him, the pursuit of purpose is madness and driven by the pettiness of one’s mind to seek meaning. He goes on to say “If you pay attention to this process of life, it will keep you engaged for a million years. You won’t need purpose.” He explains plainly, “All we have is our body and minds which, if in a constant state of pleasantness, makes just being grand enough.”
It seems simple enough yet so many of us rush through our days and essentially life completing tasks that are meant to give us a sense of accomplishment (purpose) and hopefully peace of mind. Just last week as my kids returned to school and daycare for the first time in over a month, I found myself compiling a list of arbitrary “To Dos” in the hopes of countering the emptiness due to the absence of full-time work. I painted my house, applied to a few jobs and started some online courses. Ironically, the most pleasant part of my week was arranging some freshly cut flowers into a vase. At one point I sat down next to said flowers and scrolled through old photos. When I came across videos of my kids in 2020 I found myself shedding a few unexpected tears, realizing that time has the tendency to pass us by. Did I even enjoy or remember the moments in those videos or was I too busy thinking about my new job and responsibilities?
That right there is the issue. Racing through life to complete, accomplish, move on to the next, all the while missing out on the present – engaging in life as Sadhguru puts it. Even as I write this post my subconscious is telling me to hurry up so I can quickly complete a yoga session and move onto my Inbound Marketing Certification with Hubspot (eye roll). What am I thinking? Yoga’s not meant to be “quickly completed”. If you’re rushing through a yoga class I can guarantee you’re missing out on the merits.
I’m not having some sort of an epiphany but rather a reflection. One that regularly consumes me when I take the time to sit back and sip some coffee next to freshly cut flowers. Perhaps Sadhguru is right “You don’t have to do anything to make life meaningful. If you sit here for one moment and experience this, you would know that just being alive is grand enough.”