Routines and the Waking Dream

If you’re like me, you have a day job. For me, I wake up, hit the alarm, get up before the sun and throw some clothes on. The I grab some coffee and it’s off to work. I put in my nine hours, clock out and head home. Some days I’ll hit the gym, some days I won’t. Then comes dinner. Watch a movie and get in bed before it’s too late so I can get up early and do it all again tomorrow. Sounds like a boring routine, wouldn’t you say?

That’s how it feels most days. Stuck in a repetitive cycle and watching my days go by as I continue to grow older. Don’t get me wrong, I do my best to break it up a bit. There is always dinner with so and so, visiting with friends and the occasional drive or outing. But most of my day-to-day life is made up of the same cycle. Days off are a little looser in structure, but even then there’s a routine.

Like most working Americans I am stuck in the rat race. The routine varies from profession to profession but repetition is there and it’s easy to get sucked into. I remember asking a friend of mine once, “What would you do if money were no object? How would you spend your time? What would you do if you didn’t have to work for your basic needs?”

He looked puzzled, but after a few seconds he turned to me and said “My dad’s retired… he says he hates it. I mean, you got to have structure in your life.. but I would probably go hunting a lot.” The conversion ended there but it got me thinking.

Do we really need structure? Furthermore, what effect does having a routine have on a person? Think about it: We’re born into this world and already our first 18-24 years of life is already planned for us. Once you are just old enough to start understanding things, it’s off to school. Then college or the working world. By the time you hit retirement your whole life has been a routine and then you say “Ah finally, now I can relax.” We spend our whole lives working and often, for many of us, it’s at a job that doesn’t mean much. Some spiritual teachers call this ‘the waking dream’, because with drift through life with our minds constantly occupied by meaningless tasks and concerns. It becomes pretty easy to turn into a zombie.

So, my friends, that is exactly why if you are stuck in a routine you should try and break it as often as possible. If you find yourself going through the motions of a mechanical cycle of bullshit (like me), shake it up a bit. Do something you wouldn’t normally do. Something random. Something spontaneous. Those are the times we remember. It catches us off guard and wakes us up a bit. Reminds us that life is found outside of our zone and it certainly does for me. Something to think about.

Cheers

-The Single Man

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