Some people live their entire life asleep.
by Sanford Coggins
Though perhaps they are unaware of this, they are not fully alive. They are not trained to open their eyes to see what’s around them; to be aware of what’s going on inside them. I heard Tony De Mello say one time that “if you’re not fully alive, you’re asleep; you must open your eyes”. Most people, even though they don’t know it, are born asleep, may live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, and they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call the human lifespan.
The problem is that people don’t really want to wake up. Life is hard. It is easier to stay asleep. You ask someone how they are doing, and they say, “Fine”. Most people are unanimous in that response. Yet, their lives are all jacked up! You know what I mean! Relationship problems, career vs calling confusion, mask or no mask, philosophical disagreements of what’s right and what’s wrong. They all agree on one thing though, and that one thing is “all is well”! All is well and yet everything’ is a mess. This is an odd paradox, because they are asleep, they live inside of those two worlds in what could be framed as a small and unnecessary nightmare.
Some of you have heard the humorously sobering story of an elderly gentleman who knocks on the door of his son who is fast asleep. He says, “Jimmy, get up.” And Jimmy says, “I don’t want to get up.” And the old man says, “Get up Jimmy, you’ve got to go to school”. And Jimmy says “I don’t want to go to school.” “Why not?”, says the old man. “Because, first, it’s so dull. Second, the kids all tease me. And third, I hate school.” So the old man says “I’m going to give you three reasons why you must go to school. First, because it is your duty. Second, because you are 45 years old. And third, because you’re the Headmaster.”
You and I are adults. Too big to be asleep. We must stop pretending. Stop playing with broken toys. Adults say that they want to get out of kindergarten, but do not believe them. What they really want is for their broken toys to be mended…
Give me back my family. Give me back my job. Give me back my money. Give me back my reputation…my success.
This is what they want. They want their toys repaired, but to really fix them takes real change. Yet, real change can only occur when we are awake. Sometimes we are awakened by pain, sometimes it is by our contrast and comparisons with others, which can also produce pain. In most cases, change requires that we reach our “Day of Dispair”2. The point at which the pain is greater than the risk of changing.
Sometimes the cure is painful. Waking up is unpleasant. The warm and comfortable bed is so good, at least as long as you’re asleep. It is irritating to be awakened.
But when you cannot afford the stress of not changing, when you see the real risk in staying as you are, you become more motivated to ask for assistance, and to seek out a way to break free from the nightmare of “same-oh”, to the dream empowered by peace and productivity.
When we are awake, we are like no other creature on earth. We can make change happen, and contemporaneously change not only our entire future, but perhaps even the future of those who watch us in their “sleep”.
We can be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water. But unlike a tree, we are free to move about, to explore other parts of the stream, to create our future as long as we’re awake. Life is not just a matter of time. It is a series of experiences, with different levels of intensity. Life is not easy, but it can be wonderful if you’re awake. Don’t be satisfied with sleeping through life. And for heaven’s sake, don’t die with your dreams still in you! When you hear that still small voice whisper something that makes you come alive and wonder, awaken from your sleep and go to school on the subject. Learn what it takes to seize the opportunity. Take action, you are, after all, the “headmaster” of your life.
VisionWise Capital can help you make sense of your “small voice” prompting you to do something different with your investments.
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