There was a buzz in the air of Chicago Sunday morning. Football season had begun. Yesterday was a great day for Bears fans. We won our game, and the Packers lost theirs. Personally, I have never felt compelled by football. That was until yesterday.
My boyfriend was so overjoyed all day, and I as I watched the multitude of fans on TV cheering from the stands I saw football in a new way. Football has no utilitarian purpose. It isn’t a necessity for survival. (Although I know some who would disagree.) Football is a game. And people love watching games. They are full of joy. While some describe it as an escape, I would venture to say that football is as real as any other aspect of life. Humans brush their teeth, we eat food, we build ourselves shelters. Games, art, creativity, and playing around are integral aspects to the human experience. Our minds tell us that joy is not as important as survival. This is because the mind doesn’t experience joy; you experience joy. Meanwhile, survival thoughts are very real to the thinking mind, which thinks it has to control its environment to survive, that it has to fight and work hard.
Those thoughts are all very productive at providing momentum for the thinking mind. Joy is not. Often in moments of joy our minds become still, with all of our attention placed on the present moment experience. These moments make being alive feel “worth it.” Has the voice in your head ever questioned you when you decided to relax and do something purely for enjoyment? Perhaps you sat down to read a book or listen to music, and your mind said something like, “You shouldn’t be doing this right now. You have so much to do.” Even though our thoughts are convinced those “other things” are more important than an experience of joy, we don’t have to buy into it.
I’m going to do an experiment, and I invite you to join in with me if it speaks to you. Be alert the next time you do something just for yourself, with no end goal or purpose besides enjoyment. If the voice in your head attempts to sabotage that joy, see what happens if you don’t take it seriously. Maybe even smile or laugh at the thoughts trying to convince you there isn’t enough time for enjoyment. After all, you cannot waste time. Past and future exist for us right now as thoughts in our heads. The only moment you’ll ever have to actually live through and experience is the present moment, right now. And you have all the now in the world.