Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Paradoxes of Life

It's one of the great paradoxes of human psyche.....we want to be left in our comfort zones and yet we thrive on the experience of being taken out of them!

Our intuitive understanding of that is why, even among the most settled and comfortable of us, there's a lurking desire for something to happen.

Perhaps that helps explain a fundamental contradiction in our attitudes to this thing called "peace of mind". We claim to be yearning for it, yet we often act as if that's a mere fantasy. We say we want to slow down, de-stress and learn how to relax. We pay a fortune to massage therapists, yoga teachers, acupuncturists and other practitioners in our search for relief.

We seek counselling; we attend meditation classes; we swallow tranquillisers; we drink too much; we cling desperately to "the short break" as a kind of high-octane holiday, or the furious weekly work-out at the gym to compensate for the lack of gentler more integrated exercise every day. We push ourselves to extremes, high on endorphins, mistaking exhaustion for contentment. The struggle to find ways of reducing our stress often looks stressful in itself.

Are we fooling ourselves with all this talk about de-stressing, simplifying and slowing down? Some people have found personal pathways to peace yet many more act as if stillness is tantamount to death! Most of us seem addicted to stimulation and find silence hard to cope with, even in small doses - like a pause in the conversation. Yet even the most restless souls occasionally claim to hanker after "peace of mind".

Observing these swirling contradictions, I'm tempted to ask: is the buzz, the rush, the stimulation generated by our busy-ness, something we crave - and perhaps even need - more that the stability and calm we often say we want? Most of us would say we SHOULD be trying to strike a balance between the two but why does the achievement of that balance seem so elusive?

I suspect it's because many of us actually welcome distractions from questioning the meaning and purpose of our lives. We half-know that, if deeply examined in a contemplative moment, such questions might lead us to a radical rethink about the way we live.

If we were all preoccupied with the quest for personal peace, perhaps nothing would get done - too much om and not enough oomph doesn't sound like the right balance either. After all, it's the irritating grain of sand in the oyster that creates the pearl; it's the itch that gets the book written, or the picture painted, or the deal closed.

The world needs souls to be restless sometimes!

"Paradoxically though it may seem, it it none the less true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life"
~~ Oscar Wilde

The Jacaranda tree and the tall building in Circular Quay, Sydney, Australia
(The Yin and the Yang!)


Christine said...

beautiful photo! I do long for peace most of the time.

Anonymous said...

Your article sums it up well - we say we want peace of mind, but we fill our lives up with 'things to do' and, as you say, finding ways to relieve stress can add stress! I suppose it comes round to how it feels. If you are busy busy and loving it - then carry on. But if you are feeling overwhelmed it's time for a rethink. Maybe being busy is a distraction. But then, as John Lennon says 'Whatever gets you though the night'. We have to find a way to navigate this crazy world. Maybe the answer lies in knowing your own limits and being unafraid to set them. This means sometimes saying no. It's about knowing when you've had enough. And it's about letting go and realising it's ok not to do, have or be everything.
Wishing you peaceful days.

Beautiful Sky said...

That was me (above). A bit of a rusty blogger...

miruspeg said...

Hi Christine
That photo is one of my favourite. I have blown it up and hung it on my photo wall in the hallway. It was taken on 11/11/11!
May peace and happiness be yours this year my friend.
Peggy xxxx

miruspeg said...

Hello Celia (Anonymous)
I have forgotten how much I enjoy reading your comments!!
I've been looking for a way to navigate this crazy world for many decades. Cat Stevens wrote "the answer lies within" maybe he is right.

I like your observation about "knowing our own limits and being unafraid to set them" - I am all for self-empowerment.

Be well my friend
Warmest heart hugs
Peggy xxxxx

miruspeg said...

Beautiful Sky (Celia)
This link now works and takes me back to your website.... well done!
Peggy xxxxx

Marja said...

Good point I often need peace and usually get it through a walk in the bush. At the same time that is being busy as well. I agree with Celia that when you enjoy your business than it is ok as long as you are aware of your needs

miruspeg said...

Hey Marja
I find bushwalking one of the most mentally relaxing activity. Being close to nature is my heaven on well as swimming with dolphins!!

Occasionally though I would like to step out of my comfort zone and be that irritating grain of sand in the oyster that creates the pearl.

Keep shining my friend
Peggy xxxxx

Bill Lisleman said...

I never guessed that my journey would show me the many conditions that can affect a mind. Adult ADHD, I believe is one reason for seeking the need for activity and stimulation. I enjoyed reading your post and its questions but these wants and desires are very different for different minds. I like simple, reflective time but many don't. The many differences make for an interesting world. However, ADHD and driving make for some really bad drivers.

miruspeg said...

Hello Bill
Thanks for sharing a different perspective about "peace of mind".

I also like simple, reflective times but in my case they can lead to laziness and non-productive periods.

I agree we are all diverse people and celebrating our differences can help unite and educate us and to understand others perspectives.

Take care my dear friend
Peggy xxxxx

Wendelyn DeMoss said...

Always love your posts! They make me think:)

miruspeg said...

Hellllloooo Wendy!
How lovely to see your name pop up in the comments box.
Are you going to start blogging again? Remember how much fun the 5 of us had back in 2009 with our one little word monthly posts.

Hope you are happy and well dear Coach, been missing our interactions.
Love you heaps
Peggy xxxxx

Mike Smith said...

I do find silence difficult to deal with. Usually when Marion isn't talking to me and I struggle to find a reason why...

miruspeg said...

Hi Mike (my humourous Scot!)
When I was young I was never a big fan of silence. When it was really quiet it was like the volume on the chatter in my brain got turned up really loud and I heard all the negative thoughts about myself.

These days with meditation as a big part of my life, I relish the silence.

Be well my friend
Peggy xxxxx