Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Only dead fish go with the flow

I ask myself periodically, just to check on my own progress, if I'm doing what I want to be doing. If the way I've given direction and meaning to my life is working for me. Some people might want to go on a retreat, meditate or use a mindfulness-method to accomplish this. I do the opposite: instead of staying in comfortable house with it's relaxed and mindful atmosphere, I go and get myself a job.

For me, it's about avoiding the few things that keep me stuck in a rut. One of my pitfalls is too much going with the flow. While it's a good idea not to fight the river of life, not to offer resistance to the tide that wants to sweep us along, it's good to periodically remember that only dead fish go with the flow.

Things that seem so natural that they are rarely considered keep us stuck in a rut. Making a change can help us escape from doing the same thing over and over. Einstein gave us a beautiful definition of insanity, he said: "Insanity is doing the same thing time after time, expecting the results to be different."

If you want different results, do something different! It may sound strange, but basically anything will do. Any change, no matter how small or large will jolt you out of your comfortzone and give you an added awareness.

Lately I've done some work in a Social Hostel. Here I work with people who have suffered a psychiatric illness of have an alcohol or drugs problem. The way things are done here are more than stuck in a rut, they are etched in stone, ingrained in the people, confirmed by the way things are organized.

Being confronted with a strict regime like this helps me question my own routines. It's quite a shock to my system to work in a place where dinner is served at a specific time, where people have coffee at a specific time, where every aspect of life is pre-ordained by rules and regulations. Where people have become institutionalized to the extend that they no longer question the way things are. My own life is highly disorganized in terms of time. I make appointments with customers at a time when it's convenient to them. I rise when I feel like it and go to sleep when I'm tired. Just having a job is throwing me out of my "normal routine". Having a highly structured work environment is taking me quite a ways out of my comfort zone.

Whatever your normal is like, I believe it's a good idea to do something different now and then. It doesn't really matter what aspect you change, any type of change will bring about a heightened state of consciousness. Breaking your normal pattern means you become aware of the pattern and what your pattern offers you. Sometimes this means you become more firmly attached to you pattern: you notice how well it serves you and you get a renewed sense of value from it. Sometimes it means you break your pattern permanently, because you notice that the pattern you once had no longer serves you. Instead you are now free to choose a different mode of operation. This freedom of choice enriches your life.

1 comment:

  1. I sometimes brake my habbits (which are strong) by eg using another hand to open the cupboards, or the washingmachine, or the other hand to turn the key: and only that change makes a difference in my perception.
    And is very nice to experience.