I decided to draw myself a bath late last night, mainly because I was so cold I could almost feel the bones ache beneath my flesh, but also because there is simply not a better place to relax than my very own bathtub. Usually, I either read a book or watch an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience when I’m soaking, but it was after 10 p.m. and I didn’t feel like doing either of those. A podcast should suffice, I thought, hearing someone talk whilst taking in the heat of the lavender-infused water and doing nothing other than breathing deeply, and maybe taking in some wisdom.
I’ve been having a self-proclaimed existential crisis for about a year and a half, it’s built up of multiple layers of worry that don’t seem to leave my mind, even though I consciously try to shoo it all away almost daily. One layer is thoughts of not understanding what life means, why we’re here, what all this is, and all such things that many a philosopher has written about and I still cannot wrap my mind around. The second layer is the one of who am I, what do I do, why do I do it, what if I suddenly stopped doing my own things in my own way – my mind worrying about itself, essentially. The third: am I doing enough, am I spending my time well, am I wasting my life? And so, I read, a lot, about other people’s ideas and answers on any and all of those questions, as though I am trying to make their answers my own. It’s tiring, really, to spend a big portion of my time worrying about time itself. It feels as though I am floating above myself, not truly participating in life because I am trying to analyse every aspect of it, which becomes terrifying, over time.
My man, my dear, my lover, told me a while back to listen to Alan Watts talks on YouTube, “you’ll like it, it’ll be good for you.” (He was right, as he often is.) But I didn’t, because I always keep myself busy with so many things that I tend to put off the recommendations others give me. Until last night, when my bathroom smelled of lavender, my bathwater was tinted a soft pink, candles lit up the room, softly, and I chose to listen to his advice after all.
It changed me. Took away some worries, replaced some others, and then took away those, too. I first listened to this one, then took out my notebook and scribbled down the thoughts that rapidly ran through my mind, for its shift came with new ideas to hold onto, and the best way to do so is to write them down, to clear things up.
The main lesson I took from this particular talk, and from some of his words I read afterward, was that Now is all there is. That our ‘I’ is no more than the happening of Thought and Feeling in the Now. That notion, with its simplicity, was freeing to me, it lit me up and took away the worries that were on my shoulders the year prior. For being in the Now means spending less time longing for days that have been and fantasising about futures that may never be, and instead brings forth pure focus. I’m grateful for it, and I advise you to read everything of his that you can find, because it may make you more light, more grounded, and more present, and those are some pretty big shifts to make within your self.
I’ll leave you with some of his words to fall in love with,
“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.”
“The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.”