Recently, I recognised my current state of mood to be Apathy. When I looked back on the last 3 years – well really, ever since my mother died in September 2000 – I saw that apathy was a recurring theme. What happened to the vibrant self that was interested in life, people and places?
When a traumatic event knocks us sideways, we often collapse into ourselves. We withdraw from the outside world and retreat more and more into that which we believe is a safe haven, away from hurt. We believe we are protecting ourselves from the shocks and the bruises that life hits us with from time to time. While it can be a good thing to give ourselves some space, peace and quiet to re-centre ourselves, if we hang out here too long, we can become apathetic.
Apathy is a condition of being disinterested in the world. It is difficult to get motivated. There doesn't seem to be a point or meaning to anything. After a death, it is a common feeling of "what's the use? No one will get out of this life alive, anyway". Day to day drudgery of work, chores, responsibilities drag us deeper into this feeling that whatever we do is pointless and therefore worthless. Why bother?
Cloudy, overcast days seem to enhance this melancholic mood. And then, the clouds part. A rainbow appears! A bird sings! Suddenly, our heart beats faster. For a moment, we feel elated. Something made us smile. For a split second, everything had a purpose.
So what is the purpose of apathy?
Apathy teaches us that we have only this one life to live that is guaranteed. And in this life, only this moment is truly real. All that is past, all that is to come, is stored in the imagination. If all I have is one moment, this, precise moment… what's the point of preparing, planning, efforting or toiling?
The point is: the moment in which you prepare, you know what it is to prepare. The moment in which you plan, you have the experience of planning. The moment in which you effort or toil, you understand what it is to labour. Apathy depresses all experience. Apathy makes us live in the past or the future: a place that does not exist. Apathy teaches us that where there is no reality, there is no place for us. Apathy is the real death.
In between apathy, in the here and now, is the breath of life. The moment we choose to gasp it, breathe it, we are alive. The moment we choose to embrace the present, and acknowledge who we are, in relation to this or that, or our surroundings, is the moment we leave apathy behind.
I realised that the moment I indulged in present moment awareness, became keenly engaged in the here and now, all apathy leaves me. It takes no motivation. It takes no pre-organisation. It simply requires being fully aware of what I am doing NOW. Indulging in NOW. Involved in NOW.
Apathy is running away from overwhelm. It is fearing complication. It is pre-supposing unfavourable outcomes. It is guessing that a particular scenario will be a let down. All these things are not real, they have not happened. They are simply a negative state of mind.
The way to snap out of apathy is to be completely and utterly spontaneous! The second you have a thought, take action and dive straight in! Become avidly involved in this moment. Give your full attention to it.
This is vibrant living. Experiment with it and see what happens.
It's all down to a matter of choice.
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