If the purpose of life is to enjoy it, then the thing to do is lose yourself in enjoyment by embracing life. (Cue music.) But how does a person lose one’s self in the enjoyment of embracing life? What does that even mean? Is this just one of those nice things people say without really understanding?
Almost everyone has felt the kind of enjoyment where they’ve lost themselves in a happy experience. A day at the beach, for example: walking on the sand, looking at the waves, smelling the ocean, feeling the wind, hearing seagulls and so on. Such enjoyment is easily felt by one or more of the five senses, but if your mind is busy running numbers, stewing over a relationship or worrying about whatever it is you worry about, you will not lose yourself in enjoyment. The surface of your awareness is continually provoked by practical necessities. That’s to be expected. You might be at the beach, but if your mind is otherwise occupied, you can forget about experiencing real enjoyment of the losing yourself in it kind. It takes an act of will.
First: decide to enjoy yourself. Second: dedicate yourself to enjoyment.
You’ve probably been taught that it’s selfish to think of yourself like this, but when you’re in an air-plane going down, you’re told to secure the oxygen mask on yourself first before you help others. Enjoyment is like that. You’re going down – eventually. Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think. Secure enjoyment on yourself first – like an oxygen mask – and then harness your fighting spirit to make yourself enjoy. It sounds crazy, to be sure, but it isn’t. People use their will to force themselves to do things all the time. When you’re on vacation, you try not to let things bother you. On a bleak Monday morning you might have to will yourself out of bed. The same goes for enjoyment.
One would think that you are either enjoying yourself or you’re not. How can you force yourself to enjoy? Is that natural? You can’t very well stick a fist in your face and say, “Listen you! I mean, Me! I know you’re in there! I know you can hear me because I’m hearing me! I got one thing to say to you: ENJOY YOURSELF! OR ELSE!”
According to the Philosophy of Enjoyment, there is only one purpose to conscious life and that is to grow calmly, steadily, and quietly more conscious, but what does that mean? If a person is awake and thinking and moving, that person is conscious, correct? Can a person be more conscious?
The first rule of the will to enjoy is to recognize that life is only caught, only felt in its larger, calmer, more magical sense by someone who has learned the master-secret of loneliness. Loneliness, not in a longing or sad sense, but in the recognition that this is you and you are alone and so is everyone else (see post “Only the Lonely“). Inside your skull (hopefully) there is only you. You see things through your eyes. You hear things with your ears (or you don’t). If you want to touch something, you reach out your own hand. You do it. Sure, you can connect with people, but when you die, you die alone. You are your home. You’re like a turtle.
The second rule of the will to enjoy is to not let anyone persuade you that you’re wasting your time when you’re day dreaming. When you’re dreaming at a window, eyes fixed on a far off road or whatever, it is not wrong. Idle sensations are beautiful. In unpleasant situations you can have idle thoughts of past idle thoughts. The trick is to reduce yourself to a minimum (see Yes We Have No Bananas) so you can lose yourself and not feel self-important.
Life is a succession of experiences but these experiences need not be exciting or dramatic. There is profound enjoyment in the ordinary. Just because cities resemble the insect world and people run around like ants who are slaves to machines, doesn’t mean that you have to be that way. You can be natural. You can get more conscious. Don’t be an ant. Think like a turtle.