Many are the times we so often underestimate the sense of wonder that lingers in life, even in the greatest state of normalcy. You get out of bed: either voluntarily or because your alarm won’t give you ‘the break’ which, in the moment, seems like an infinite source of joy and satisfaction. Eventually, after a couple of minutes of trying to override your subconscious mind, which will naturally gravitate towards pleasure rather than sacrifice, you’re up and ready to start the day. But even then, not unless you’re strictly confined to a routine that dictates what to do and when to do it, you’re likely to perceive your day as mundane and just another point in time.
Now, before I seem to be all pro-routine or like a meticulous planner who plans out every event of his day, I’ll enter a caveat here. It’s one thing waking up, going to work, having some meals within your day, returning home (assuming you have to leave home for work) and naturally giving in to your fatigue and letting your sleep paralysis take over. Surprisingly enough, not unless you perceive your profession as your calling or as a major source of joy (which from experience is almost never the case), are bound to perceive your day as just normal and conventional. Just another day at work. Think of a number between 1 and 31. Think of any month. And finally, a year of your life. Assuming you did not give too much thought to this and you just went with the first thing that came to your mind, such a day, with diminutive impact in your life, is what I am referring to.
Taking this a step further, let’s assume you don’t even have that job to keep you preoccupied. Or that lecture. Or that place you visit during the weekends. Or that friend you normally unwind with, sharing memories with in an attempt to break the monotony in your fixated lives. For a phlegmatic and introverted person like me, that’s just life in its typical sense. But for many who must have some activity going on or something to expend their energy on, it may be a different ball game altogether. And the worst case scenario is when it’s too great a shift for your mind to adjust and you end up stressed, anxious, and even depressed.
Such are the times we currently live in. Times that have little, if any, regard for status, personalities, beliefs, predispositions and what fundamentally drives human activity. More interestingly, times that couldn’t be presciently predicted amidst the daily hustle and bustle that is our lives. But I can’t help but look for the piece of the puzzle that is missing in all this. Something I don’t consider to be all that disguised for anyone who attempts to live meditatively. I pay credence to the fact that such are the things that frequently go unnoticed. Because of their familiarity, both our physical eyes and the mind’s eye let them slip through the cracks of our perception. That maybe the trivial isn’t all that trivial after all. Or maybe what is quintessentially considered to be important isn’t all that important. That maybe occurrences that are deemed as the trifles of life, such as the rising of the sun or merely waking up, have been invariably more important than earning a living or pursuing that education.
In my not so many years of life, I have radically changed my perspective of what constitutes adversity and how meaningful crisis is for us. I am of the belief that normal and abnormal are terms that could be used interchangeably, insofar as you are willing to tweak your perspective. If I may dare to be more direct, since most of us have been reduced to staying at home and some of us to even enjoying our own company, do you still think waking up is normal? Do you still view eating as this activity that just takes up some time of your day, which could otherwise be spent doing more ‘meaningful’ things? If you do, you must really like your profession. Notwithstanding, you’re blatantly missing a vital concept. If there is no day, there is no profession. In the absence of the routines we are repetitively rutted in, things like having a meal or taking a shower enjoy more significance and attention than they otherwise would.
Backtracking a bit to crisis. Crisis crucially challenges the one thing that we subconsciously assume we have. Something that is deftly hidden amidst our routines: control. We presuppose that insofar as we’ve laid out a plan for our week, only we can get in the way of such a plan. Even if we do recognize that our degree of control is limited, we still don’t appreciate that most of our plans are secondary. Additionally, they rely on a more complex set of eventualities for them to come to fruition. For you to close that deal with that customer you’ve been fervently trying to sell your merchandise to, you’d have to be alive on that set day. You’d also have to be in good health: physically and mentally. You’d have to get to work safely. To reel you in even more, the ‘work’ you’re getting to has to not only exist, but also be significant enough to allow for its perpetuity.
And in that sense, I offer a piece of my contemplation. In spite of the season, quite frequently in crisis, but more importantly, when everything seems so normal: Find some wonder in the rising of the sun; that walk to the shop; that conversation with your sibling who so often gets you riled. Appreciate your existence and the unfettered power of your imagination. Understand the meaning of your chest moving rhythmically up and down, every time you draw in air from a world you didn’t choose to be in. From your busy routine, take the time to reflect and to be grateful for what you’ve already experienced. And above all, find that sense of wonder that always linger in life.