So when Tyler Durden from Fight Club famously declared “We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives.” I had never really grasped the gravity of that claim until I had lived through a quarter. In fact, it really isn’t just me either. Everywhere I connect with friends, in person or over chat windows, everyone is really only looking to kill the perpetual boredom/depression in their lives. “What’s new?” seldom gets hit by another response than “same old”.
That said, these are people who work 12 hours a day, 5-days a week, spending a fifth of their day battling traffic jams, their schedules leaving no room for ‘pursuit of happiness’ or such in their lives, let alone the window for boredom. People who spend weekends tossing in bed, mulling over to-do-lists, drinking with the same set, and treating hobbies(if any) as a chore, but mostly just sleep-walking through life. Closing in gaps between themselves and material desires while letting walls build in relationships. Networking with a hundred people over social media, while connecting little with their partners across the table. Updating specifics of where, how and what they are upto each moment, while never posing the same question to themselves. Did I say ‘They’? Well I meant US.
Sometimes some of us venture out into the realm of the spiritual, to find the root of our perennial anxious, unfulfilled lives. In a similar attempt to unravel the truth to ‘enlightenment’, I took up Zen readings a while ago. Only, Zen confirmed and reinstated the common sense that lies rusting in most of us through years of looking for ‘something out there’ to fulfill our lives. Unfortunately there is no escaping our mundane lives, and thus our war on boredom because all of it is essentially fundamental to being here. The absolute joy, the insurmountable pain and the in-betweens. Common Sense, Yes. Easily understood, Not! Zen or any other faith/spiritual system promises no short-cuts to the ‘out there’, only stressing on the significance of right here, as is, no other way.
Till some time ago, I used to almost always identify with the most restless characters in popular culture- Ally McBeal (the goddess of neurosis), Carrie Bradshaw and very recently Ted Mosby. Now they bore me, irritate me even with their consistent refusal to settle for things/people, taking the ‘seeker’ business too far. I see my friends turned into them, switching partners/jobs/cities in a jiffy, never ever finding what will never be found. I am not anywhere close to being centered, but I have been hanging out at the circumference for a while, waiting to make that journey, at least knowing there is no permanent escape!
Someone very recently put the essence of the idea in these simple words below:
Before Enlightenment, Chop Wood, Fetch water. After Enlightenment, Chop Wood, Fetch Water!.’