“I’ve Had Enough Tap Water for Now.”
Why too much routine can kill the human spirit.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who is traveling through Southeast Asia. Our conversation resonated with me more-so than any conversation I’ve had in months.
She made the claim that she’s, “had enough tap water for now”. Which, on the surface, doesn’t make much sense. It wasn’t until she explained herself that I started feeling moved.
My friend is amidst a life-changing experience as most of us have while traveling. Like me, she had never been outside of the Western world until taking on her current trip to Southeast Asia.
She describes is a lifestyle and culture that is completely unknown to me.
She explained further. . .
Being on the more developed and fast-paced side of our planet, our lives fall into the routine. People become busy, free-time is lost, and generally, we tend to lose sight of what is really important to us.
We tend to get caught up in obligations we’ve made for others, tasks that are meaningless to us, and start working toward the next step of a life that has no passionate direction.
We suffocate ourselves in our pursuit to further develop ourselves according to society’s standards.
“I’ve had enough tap water for now.”
She said this being fed up with the life she was feeling pressured to lead. Like she was drinking the Kool-aid that others were serving.
Being in Southeast Asia proved to her that she wasn’t getting what she wanted out of life. The brand newness of the world she was experiencing in Southeast Asia is what she wanted. It inspired her to escape conformity.
In reality, probably most of us have had enough tap water from the developed world, so-to-speak. Maybe it’s time we all take a step back from our routine to re-evaluate what we want.
We move through life so fast in this hemisphere that we don’t take time to pay attention to where the journey is taking us.
The “A-ha!” moment
My friend spoke with a Theravada monk in Chiang Mai, Thailand for several hours, which she referred to as one of the most enlightening moments of her life.
She realized when speaking to this monk, just how big the world really is. There are millions just like us, on the other side of the planet, who live a life unfathomable to most.
Theravada monks do not believe in wanting happiness because happiness is intertwined with struggle. In order to be happy, you have to get through the struggles.
In other words, why struggle for happiness?
We are only responsible for the obligations that we commit ourselves to. There should be no reason to live a life you don’t seek simply for the sake of another’s happiness.
That is difficult for most of us to understand. The simple freedom that life offers is completely disharmonious with the structure of the western world.
Life can be as simple as we want it. There’s no reason to worry about yesterday. There’s no reason to worry about tomorrow. Living for today will bring us a life that we seek.
This is exactly what the Theravada monk spoke to my friend about.
Connecting the dots
I may be rambling now, but I believe in what you are reading. I think at some point in our lives, everyone will come across their enlightening moment. A point in which things start to make sense and the way your life is moving starts to reveal passion.
There’s so much to be learned from the way others live or don’t live.
For starters, maybe we should consider how we define the word “developed”.
The countries that we consider inferior to the western world may be more developed culturally, communally, and morally. Maybe instead of looking down on the “third world countries”, we should instead be inspired by the lives they lead.
Even more, it made me realize just how big this world is (I know it is cliché, but it called for some reflection).
How is it possible that there are humans on the opposite side of the world that are living a life so pure? It bites at me not knowing what it’s like. I want to know.
The conversation I had with my friend has inspired me to search for my own “a-ha!” moment.
Hell, maybe that conversation was my “a-ha!” moment. The conversation moved me, and I hope by sharing, it will inspire others too.
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