There is such joy and freedom in not taking yourself too seriously. Yet, it’s really hard to accomplish, the non-taking. Every message that penetrates the airwaves all about us is screaming TAKE TAKE TAKE…
I’m reading a great book, published nearly 40 years ago, called Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. The key premise is examining how so many of our attempts to “be” spiritual are really the ego putting on guise after guise, seeking to justify itself. True peace eludes us in the midst of these exhaustive efforts to try to become someone, attain something, get somewhere.
The chapter that particularly struck me is titled “Sense of Humor.” It exposes the silliness of our extreme viewpoints, of our intense need for things to be right or wrong. It illuminates the value of being able to laugh not just at others in their rigidity, but at one’s self.
While reading, I began to scoff at my decision of a few nights ago to take a “sabbatical” from Facebook.
The spontaneous decision sprang from a felt need to spend more quality time in the evenings working on my new novel, doing my back stretching exercises, and going to bed earlier in general. All worthy things. The problem was, I perceived that I needed to go to an “extreme” solution—completely getting off of Facebook for a while—in order to find moderation. It didn’t work, as extreme solutions seldom do lead to sustainable moderation. It became more of a distraction than a pathway to freedom.
Being able to navigate conflicting priorities, emotions and opportunities is the surer path to bliss, for joy and freedom are found not so much in the self-made certainties of life but more within the corridors of its ambiguities.
When I logged back into Facebook last night and poked fun at myself in a status update, I felt a burden roll off of my shoulders. Not that I had missed Facebook so much that my life was meaningless without it (although I truly had missed staying connected with friends), but that I had given myself permission to not take myself so seriously. To just figure things out night after night, trusting in my ability to balance it all, rather than having to create and live by some unlivable code.
I would make a bad monk, I guess. But I bet a lot of monks have a wicked sense of humor, taking themselves far less seriously than the caricatures we create about them. rap. The challenge for each of us is to tackle head-on the caricatures we’ve created about ourselves.