Read this short story by John Alexandra, and despair!
For a moment, he came alive. He knew nothing but the chill of his skin and the life and death of his breath.
He breathed in and took life from air. He breathed out and everything stopped. Thought. Expectations. Hope. Ambition. Fear. Regrets. He breathed out into nothingness, nothing. Died to himself and became.
Each outbreath drove a gossamer energy through his body. Chest. Gut. Legs. He let it flow. And presently there came warmth - like a fire in the belly, which he saw with an inner look.
It drew him, soothed, solaced, fed.
Then he found he wanted nothing - just to remain with the warmth. The cosmic calm, renewed with every breath.
But soon he was distracted. By thought. Reactions. Moods. And forgot about it. Forgot his birthright in a trice. Identified again with outer life. The primal bliss, discarded, drained away.
He no longer lived, felt alive.
He became a series of reactions. The mediocrity he found comfort in. The familiar fog of existing that deadened perception. Effortless. Automatic. Disguised as progress, competence, activity.
Again he sleepwalked through his life - a well-dressed, responsible zombie.
That night, in bed, he reviewed his day. And saw that, although everything was done well enough, he was absent from the process - never 'there'. He did not remember locking the door when he went out, where he put his keys, his glasses. Whether he'd turned off the stove. Yet he locked the door, found his glasses and keys and turned the stove properly off. But it was done in a dream. There was no attention at all. He acted from habit, automatically. He did not exist as it was done.
He determined, next day, to be attentive. He made a plan. He'd start off with a simple task. He'd be mindful each time he touched a switch.
As he drank his coffee next morning, he remembered he'd switched on the electric jug but while he switched it on, he was occupied with a program on the radio - the radio he'd switched on before he'd switched on the jug. The radio he'd been listening to at the time he shaved. Then he recalled that he'd also switched on his electric shaver.
So, before he left for work, he decided to switch on something intentionally. He switched the hall light on and off, trying to be aware that he was doing it. For an instant, life became more vivid. As though everything stopped and presence flowed.
Then he started his car automatically and switched the radio on in the same way.
In bed that night, when he recalled it, he realized that he was a reaction to events - a person in a waking dream.
Then he forgot his plan, his good intentions, for weeks.
But he functioned well enough. Everything got done. Inattentive he might be but it was the comfortable way to exist. A dull, familiar drifting that required no effort at all.
And soon his resolve to wake up became just a waking dream. Another thought.