We can estimate that the average human being spends 26 years of their life sleeping and 7 years of their life trying to fall asleep.
Sleeping is important. If you were awake all the time, you would die. But sleep has also taught us a dangerous lesson. And that’s that sleeping in bed is more comfortable than facing the day.
We have to wake up. Each day, we must sound the alarm, rally this troop, and march into the world of the awake.
Waking up means facing the timeless, unchanging reality of right now. It’s opening your eyes and looking honestly at who you are and where you are. It’s opening our eyes and looking honestly at who we are and where we are.
Waking up is difficult because it might mean realizing the toxicity of our thoughts, the ignorance of our politics, the collateral damage of our lifestyle, or the mess of our everything. We want to believe that we are fully awake, clear-thinking individuals who are right.
But often we’re not. I’m not.
We may feel as though we live in a safe home and in a safe country, with friends, cultural interests, money in the bank, and a bright future. And those things may be true. But they’re not the realist reality.
We can choose to wake up and face reality, but more often than not, an alarm — a chaotic, disruptive, life-changing moment — does that for us. This pandemic may be one of those for you.
The history of life on our planet shows that life is fragile, unstable, and unpromised.
“You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that.”
― Samuel Beckett
Our present pandemic might be a paradigm-shifting moment for you, bringing the reality of (your) life more into focus. It may be opening your eyes to the fact that we are, literally, 7.8 billion people trying to survive (and sometimes thrive) on a miraculous planet spinning near a burning star where, sometimes, things go wrong.
Each day is an opportunity to do the very hard work of waking up to who we are and where we are. Waking up is a war. It’s not fun. I’ve been going through my own string of alarm-induced wake-ups over the last few years. But we only have one life on this planet. We might as well not sleep the whole time.
There’s something heroic about a human being living in the full, unadorned reality of their life — the good, the bad, the ugly… the real. So, remember… sleep is important, but at some point, it’s time to wake up.
That’s day 4. I hope you’re safe and well.