One of the biggest challenges I face is getting out of bed every morning and starting the day. Seriously. It’s a monumental struggle.
At least that’s been the case since becoming an adult.
When I was a child, however, no matter how hard I tried I could never sleep past 6am. And I really tried. Every Sunday.
I would wake up, but refused to open my eyes, hoping that I would fall asleep again.
Because I really did not want to attend Sunday school at the local Dutch Reformed Church.
The indoctrination I experienced there ranged from subtle to fundamentalist and it created what I can only describe as a very unpleasant environment.
So I really tried to oversleep on Sunday mornings.
I was always strongly encouraged to go (and perhaps even gently blackmailed) but my parents never forced me to go at all costs. So I knew there was a decent chance that I would be excused if I overslept.
Unfortunately however, Sunday school only started at 10am and we lived a few blocks from the church.
And despite my best efforts I could never lie still and keep my eyes closed until after 7am. So there was little hope for my salvation. I simply had to suffer the burden of being preached at. Week in and week out I was surrounded by the local flock. And like the hordes of seagulls that lived on the roof of our primary school, they would spoil the playground as soon as they saw someone having fun.
This stopped as soon as I learned to stand my ground. Once I entered my teenage years and started wading through the sweaty morass of puberty, I simply refused to go. I really couldn’t stand it.
However, that was when something else also started happening.
Something far more devastating than my struggle with organised religion.
Around the same time that I finished primary school and entered high school, life started losing its magic.
I could never sleep late as a child because there were simply too many exciting things to do. Life was fun. It was all one big adventure.
Sure, there was the boredom of school and the transgression of Sunday school, but most of my time was spent simply enjoying life. We swam, we surfed, we built forts, rafts, and we explored. We did what we really wanted to do. For the most part we were allowed to freely express our creativity.
But as life went on, more and more time needed to be dedicated to doing stuff that we were supposed to do, but didn’t necessarily want to do. Our directive was no longer our own creativity, but rather it was imposed upon us by people who supposedly knew better. And the older I became the more I was being told what to do and the less I was allowed and / or encouraged to freely express myself.
School hours became longer and far more serious and we actually had to study to get good grades. But the work was mostly presented by burnt out, boring and tyrannical teachers.
And that ultimate and dreaded question slowly started forming on the lips of people who proclaimed to have our best interests at heart:
“What will you do with your life?”
Obviously I had no idea. Who the hell knows exactly what they want to do, especially at such a young age?!
Life dragged on and I found myself trying to live up to expectations and live a life that had already been planned for me.
I wanted to escape.
But there was no escape. No matter how far I travelled the same authoritarian mentality was all pervasive. Almost everywhere I went humans were being programmed to function like robots, and the results were catastrophic.
Uncontrolled anger, lethal violence, serious depression, suicide, endless consumption, materialism on all levels, meaningless entertainment and distraction labelled as valuable and addiction of all sorts…
I kept running away. And I tried other means of escape, like alcohol and drugs. Until it became apparent that I was now becoming a part of the problem.
So I stopped running and I started searching. Trying to understand the problem. Trying to find a solution.
Today I face the last hurdle.
I am now overcoming my final desperate unconscious attempt to escape.
It’s unconscious because we only attempt to escape for as long as we are unaware that escape is what we want. And the realisation that we’re looking for a way out is the beginning of the solution.
Ironically, while we’re looking for a way out, the solution lies within.
It is entirely possible to live surrounded by this madness and still live a happy, constructive and creative life.
Because, while society assumes that it must imposed by external means, the only true authority is internal.
Conscience and creativity, if cultivated and encouraged, is all that is needed to govern us.
External authoritarian rule is ineffective, just look at the chaotic state of the world. Despite our best efforts, creating thousands upon thousands of complex rules and regulations, society is struggling to function.
Furthermore, more often than not external authority runs counter to our own internal guidance. Precisely because the people who assume we need to be governed (and thus construct our parameters) are not in touch with themselves.
Just like anger, depression, suicide, addiction and all the other various distractions, my struggle to wake up every morning and get out of bed is an unconscious attempt to avoid living in a world that has been robbed of it’s adventure, magic and fun.
A world where the flame of creativity and freedom of expression has been extinguished by the black and white rigid rules of people who do not understand the value of a carefully cultivated consciousness.
And so we’re threatened under pain of punishment to spend our lives obediently searching, in vain, for meaning derived through external sources.
But the truth is simple.
Just as the nature of the one infinite creator cannot be fully expressed on the pages of a book, but must be experienced within the presence of our own awareness, so humans are by nature conscientious beings and our conscience lies within an infinite awareness. It cannot be encapsulated nor directed.
That being said, just as words are often still necessary to direct us toward an internal experience of the one infinite creator, likewise we still need to be governed by authority, for as long as we’re still out of touch with ourselves. Removing all rules and regulations overnight will result in chaos, just as removing organised religion will leave many bewildered.
If I had not been subjected to certain disciplines enforced by external means, I would not have experienced the internal awakening I am now experiencing.
However, that awakening does not suggest that the long term solution is more and / or stricter rules, structures or governance.
The awakening that I, like millions of other people are now experiencing, suggests that the only true solution is the inner cultivation of self-awareness.
Awareness of our presence and the intuitive guidance that we have all been provided with.
That guidance is the voice of the one infinite creator.
And if we follow it we’ll create a world unlike anything we’ve ever imagined.