Yesterday marked the passage of my first 6 months here in Poland. Ever since I arrived, I started having one recurring thought while riding the bus. Very often, I would look to the people around me or to the names of the bus stops and be struck by the paradoxal sensation of feeling completely alienated from this reality, feeling totally different from the people around me but at the same time being stunned by the fact that Warsaw was now my home and increasingly very familiar. As if I was somehow in between two dimensions, two realities. I was (and still am) the same self, yet my reality, my reference points completely shifted in a matter of weeks. It's like one day you are living a certain life and in the next you wake up, your life is completely different and yet, you still perceive everything as normal, as if that has always been your life, your reality. I dunno about other people, but to me it is a very fascinating feeling to have and it makes me wonder a lot. People often talk about reincarnation, about past lives and what they were or wish to be in different lives. Lately I have been thinking about the possibility of reincarnation within our own (and only, i'm sorry to say) physical existence.
But how can we do that?
I think the answer lies in two fundamental pillars: the notion of time (and how can we stretch it) as well as the notion of change, in the sense of a complete disruption of our reference points (what is usually described as leaving the comfort zone).
Ever since I turned 30 (http://1dream1000ways.travellerspoint.com/72/) that I became more and more aware of the importance of time. As a person that is interested in too many things and wants to absorb as much knowledge and experiences as possible from life, I realized that while one can't live and learn everything, one must lead a complete life, living it as fully and intensively as humanly possible. So I started trying to find ways to stretch my own notion of time, as it's obviously not possible to strech time itself. So gradually I found out that the more my days are occupied, the longer they seem. But here's the trick: it's not about being occupied only with tasks we don't like or being completely absorbed by things that don't motivate us. It's also not about only being occupied with leisurely tasks and activities. If we spend all the time just enjoying life, we tend to not appreciate those things so much after a while. On the other hand, if we spend all the time doing things only because we have to (work, groceries, cleaning, whatever....), we will tend to become more and more dissatisfied with our life.
The trick is to embrace all of that with passion, with a sentiment of purpose and commitment. Is to never give in to our tired body or let laziness rule our lives. How often we hear people complaining that they are so tired after work that they just want to lay in the couch? Or how people tend to sleep many more hours than actually needed, just because it's comfortable and cozy to be in bed? Or how often people cancel something just because they are slightly sick or not feeling so well, although it's nothing serious or life theatening? We must not let those external circumstances take control of our lives.
In 6 months here, I feel like I haven't stopped. I've been sick, I've been worried about my health, sometimes physically exhausted. But I haven't stopped doing things and I feel I have done a lot. I never searched for the most comfortable option in all my decisions. It might sound clinically insane, but there is so much beauty in enduring, in walking close to the edge of our own limits.
That's why I look back in my life and I don't feel it's passing too fast. I also don't feel it's passing slow. I feel like life is happening at its own natural pace and I'm embracing as much of it as I can, thus stretching my own notion of time.
I think that something is wrong when people look back in their lives and say it's passing too fast. If we look back and can't clearly separate different moments, if it's all mixed in one gigantic amalgam of undifferentiated moments, we're doing something wrong. I learned by my own experience that if we periodically disrupt something in our lives, it will help to stretch our notion of time. I prefer to use the word disrupt rather than change, because I like the drastic vibe the word implies. I think that's the key element, the necessity of a drastic alteration of some part of our life, if not everything at the same time.
But that's precisely the problem, I guess. In our day and age, we are induced (if not forced) by everything and everyone around us to search for comfort. It became an underlying element of existence. In our decadent and materialistic society, the search for comfort became the Holy Grail of everyone's life. Therefore, the value of comfort became very high and it's present in almost all of our decisions, making it very difficult for people to leave the so called "comfort zone", not to mention that the search for comfort itself is a source of great frustration for most people. If we combine that with another human weakness, the "fear of the unknown", we have the perfect conditions for people never leave the comfortable routines they create and they so mechanically and blindly abide.
But I believe that, however deranged it may sound, if we control that almost unbearable fear and deliberately disrupt our life, the outcome of that will be very rewarding in a spiritual way and will help us lead a happy and seemingly longer, more fulfilled life.
By disrupting life, I mean every things that produces a change in our "normal life". It can be as simple as choosing a different road on the way to work or ride a bike rather than going by bus. It can be also meeting different people rather than sitting on the same bar with the same people every weekend. Or it can be quiting your job and go travel the world. It's up to each one of us to decide and act according to our own reality. And there is so much magic in that.
When we disrupt life, we create landmarks, we turn normality upside down and that event becomes engraved in our memories. We create a before and an after, we stretch life. If there is not disruption, there is only continuity. And continuity is boring. It's safe, but boring.
I know all of this sounds quite obvious and easy. But is it really?
I guess that's all I have to say about my 6 months in Poland! I actually wanted to analyze the society and the upcoming challenges here, my own integration and perspectives about the city itself, but I got lost in my thoughts once again!
Here's to another 6 months!