Sad to say that some people – every now and then, sometimes, on occasion, not infrequently – are observed missing opportunities for simple enjoyment: the kind where it feels good to be alive, the kind where one has the leisure to stand and stare as long as sheep or cows without a world too much with us (see Davies & Wordsworth).
Such missed moments of simple enjoyment are akin to waking up with a start on the street suddenly aware of yourself in your skin, in your surroundings with the song across the universe playing in your mind. You suddenly realize there are no problems probleming you. SMACK! You’ve been sleepwalking in a reality forgot.
It’s simple. It’s enjoyment.
You look at your hand for the first time like you’re Timothy Leary on a psychedelic trip. You become aware of the world that’s been staring you in the face, but you were too preoccupied with the state of the economy, your finances, an argument, over-population and your uncomfortably tight under-pants.
With awareness of simple enjoyment, you feel freedom. You see humour in calamity. You see raindrops in puddles rippling outward for no reason. You hear a distant train haunting and birds on branches.
“Caa, caa, caa.”
Simple enjoyment is the feeling of a Norwegian wood. It’s a shift. Your face goes slack. Nasal passages open. You become Emerson’s transparent eyeball, blithe: merry, glad, cheerful, without thought, carefree…
“In the woods…. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, — no disgrace, no calamity (leaving me my eyes)… Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all…” (Nature, 1836)
Simple enjoyment of the non-technological and pharmaceutical kind is rarely sought and seldom found.
The philosophy of enjoyment is a reminder of what you know. Give yourself a shake. Slap your cheek gently. Throw cold water.
Take a breather. Even in the midst of chaos simple enjoyment is near. Don’t go anywhere.
Let human activity pass you by unheralded. Waste time by appreciating its passage. The world, she goes round and round. Hum to yourself, “Go and do what you want. I know you have the need. You’ll never make me cry“. Why? Because.
At some level you probably agree with the idea of simple enjoyment (stop what you’re doing, look around, enjoy), but actually doing it – capturing a moment of contentment – is another thing. It’s a waiting game and the immediate looms large.
Things up close (jobs, problems, temptations) appear larger than they are. It’s an illusion. The future disappears in immediate desires. The temptation to do what you’ve always done (not enjoy) predicts the future. But, if you bundle temptations (purchases, sex, booze, cake, drugs, computer games…) with the simple desire to be who you want to be in the future, you have a chance. Every time you forgive yourself Just this once! is sabotage.
Make the future large. Moments of simple enjoyment are subtle. Ethereal. Like Elmer Fudd said, “Be vewy, vewy quiet.” Time lingered on something small like a seashell, a rock, a leaf, can take you out of yourself so you enjoy serenity now!
Try this: When walking somewhere, stop. Freeze. Remain motionless until you giggle. Let only your eyes move. Such moments so-lingered are well-remembered. Even if Don Rickels – Mr. Warmth himself – were to mock you, you would laugh. Insults are nothing when enjoying.
In a song for his little boy, John Lennon sang: “Before you cross the street take my hand. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” (Beautiful Boy, 1980). It’s now a slogan, but do these lines strike a chord, or is it a rationalization for the unprepared?
Charlie Chaplin said something that’s become a minor slogan: “We think too much and feel too little” (The Great Dictator, 1940). Ask not, what you think, ask, what you feel. Emotions decide before we realize.
Provide yourself with the leisure-time of at minimum, a minute or two, to notice with senses attuned.
Look around and enjoy without demand. Tell someone about a beautiful moment of simple enjoyment you’ve had so as to re-live it and help someone else live it too. Simple enjoyment can save yourself and, in so doing, save your world.