"Joy Is An Obligation"
A long time ago, I thought of the phrase "Joy is an Obligation". This was too much for my German girlfriend at the time. It really was a joke, an oxymoron, but there was some truth to it also. What most of us forget is to acknowledge the constant flow of things, small and large that bring us comfort and pleasure. Children are more often much better at noticing these than adults.
It seems that all creatures are constantly seeking comfort, every second, whether we are standing, leaning, moving, sitting, or lying down. Dogs and cats do it, it seems all living creatures probably do this, even microbes and worms. We do it unconsciously mostly, just like our tongue moves in our mouth to place food in the best place to chew without us having to think about it.
We are both conscious and unconscious all of our waking time. We can only be conscious of the tip of the iceberg and the majority of what is, we miss entirely, so no matter how conscious we imagine we are we are always much more unconscious of all there is to be conscious of.
We share with all living creatures the same purpose; to eat and reproduce. Can you imagine what a job it is to feed every living entity on the planet a few meals a day every day of the year. So many open, hungry mouths, from microbes to whales.
However humans can have more purposes than this if we so choose. We can be love, we can give love in infinite ways as well as receive it. It could be a purpose reserved for humans, though it is possible that other creatures can be love too.
If a fruit tree has any kind of consciousness, we could imagine that by creating fruit, and feeding and providing a home for many creatures while at the same time seeding the continuance of its species, that they are loving plants or we could simply be anthropomorphizing. Science hasn't figured this out yet, though there is more and more evidence in this direction, like the mycelial networks that exist for miles under the ground and seem to communicate chemically.
Time, like friction, wears novelty away, the novelty of a new relationship, or a new house, or a new country, a vista, etc.. After a while the novelty is gone and you are left with what it really is without the patina of excitement. And so, one might say, that things must withstand the test of time, if the thrills of discovery are to last or not. The intoxication of the "new" is sobered by time. It is like coming down from being "high" on something. The "freshness" disappears and one can be left with a stale taste in one's mouth, so to speak.
We are then faced with the challenge of keeping it "fresh". It is like when someone is taking a photo of you, and they say "smile", and then they take forever to snap the shot and your smile loses its vitality and becomes stale and fake looking, or the novelty of a new born child fades into the deep and huge responsibility which comes with raising a child for many years, the sobering qualities of everyday life; we all have to deal with it.
If it is too much, you might feel depressed. If you are strong inside or clever, you find ways to keep things fresh. It is something that is done often without any thought or consciousness of this wearing away, we just do it in our constant pursuit of happiness. It is one of those areas in life that remains pretty much unexamined, it seems.
It is exciting to discover elements of our shared existence that may have been missed or overlooked and to bring them to light. Panning for gold in the nuances of existence, which can be very much like finding precious nuggets in the silty waters of a river.
One can enjoy exploring and adventure without ever getting up from one's chair, and I am not speaking of vicariously experiencing as one might do, watching a film or reading a book. Since life as we know it, through the gift of consciousness which we all have, has seemingly infinite possibilities, there is no end to what we might uncover, through the process of introspection, if we are open enough to take the time to think, to imagine, because one idea can lead to a whole tree of ideas, starting from a stem or seed of one thought and branching out and even producing flowers and fruit. Much like this contemplation.
One could also imagine that it is through our consciousness that we are able to keep things fresh and novel, and without this, one might suffer from boredom. If however, our consciousness becomes rigid or rutted into deep grooves that are confining and repetitious, it becomes difficult to keep a fresh outlook and boredom, ennui, depression are the results. Drugs and alcohol are the easy fixes that are often resorted to, or serial sex, or whatever solution that people can find, maybe simply, eating. These are all mediocre solutions to the problem of keeping life fresh and novel and are very commonplace, and it seems that it might be wise to avoid these as much as possible.
Since this is an area which hasn't been studied much as far as I know, I can only guess at what might be a healthy and effective solution, because I am someone who probably has more questions than answers. It really seems as though it is all about the journey rather than then the end of the journey, the goal, the answer, or the treasure. The journey is our life, and the treasure can be found between the seconds, if we can notice what is making us feel good. We all know how it is going to end.
Spontaneity seems to be quite important, improvising all the way, as we do, just naturally. That is why I don't like to rely on stories or jokes that I would have to repeat to keep people entertained or to enliven a conversation. I would rather keep it fresh, relying only on the unknown, relying on my wit.
To dwell in the past occasionally is not a crime, though it might promote stagnancy. It is by being in the present which is always new that one keeps things novel and original. But that is assuming that one's present is not tedious, mundane, or painful, or if it is, to go within to find the extraordinary in what seems extra ordinary.
There are many tricks that we often seem to do to keep things interesting, without being very aware that we are doing it. The main one perhaps is to be aware of what is making us feel good in as many moments as we can. This is a skill, a mostly unconscious skill that happy people probably have and can be honed by making it a conscious skill. It is very similar to being grateful all the time, a form of enlightenment.
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