“I don’t know if what I’m going to say will hurt or help, but screw it. Do you know what’s really happening right now? You’re learning what it is like to be human. All humans are aware of death. So… we’re all a little bit sad.”-Eleanor Shellstrop from The Good Place
I’m watching an absolutely mind boggling American TV series these days called “The Good Place”. The show is witty, quirky, funny and the theme also involves a fantasy element which is a big win-win situation for me. What I love most about the show is the underlying philosophical interpretation of every human’s life in general. I’m drawn to philosophy and finding out the greater meaning of life, any person, show or thing that connects me over and above the basic knowledge of our existence has all my attention.
In one of the episodes of this show (I don’t want to give out any spoilers, watch it, you’ll be mind blown!), they discuss the concept of existential crisis, in a witty and funny manner of course. The show has an immortal being who doesn’t have a conscience. The concept of having regrets or guilt doesn’t apply to this being as they live on forever. They don’t have to deal with these feelings at the present moment as it disappears with time which they have in abundance.
Humans on the other hand have a fixed shelf life. Our biggest fear is the fear of non-existence. I always felt that I feared many things above death, but that’s not true. When I say I fear public speaking, I am scared to make a fool of myself and end up in an embarrassing situation. This will cause me to lose face in front of others and become non-existent in a manner that I won’t be acknowledged, respected or considered unworthy of attention. We constantly feel pangs of sadness, guilt and episodes of depression all through our life as we believe that we aren’t making the fixed time of our existence on this planet, worthwhile. At the end of each day I feel upset for not having a remarkable day, wasting my time is considered the biggest sin by my mind, I constantly fear the future, I feel like I would eventually die without living an extraordinary life.
The fear of non-existence can make us do crazy stuff at times. But it’s high time that we slow down a bit and pause to pay attention to the present. There’s no yard scale to measure an extraordinary life. You don’t have to do everything that’s considered cool or awesome by others to feel cool or awesome yourself. As long as you do every single thing that makes you happy, you are doing a great job! It’s time I lift the heavy burden of this self imposed deadline on my life and cut myself a little slack. I don’t wish to feel sad every Sunday evening for not having spent the weekend productively, upset before any big event for not having prepared well or empty at the end of my birthday for having to wait another year to feel special. I don’t know if we can truly be unbothered by fear of the unknown or regrets of our past, I will try to divert my attention to the present at every single opportunity I get. That’s what I learn in my meditation exercise every day.
Distractions are everywhere. Notice what takes your attention, acknowledge it, and then let it go.-Headspace