“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book … or you take a trip … and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death.” ~~The Diary of Anaïs Nin
Ask yourself this, are you hibernating? You might answer, “Of course not, I’m not a bear, I can’t hibernate!” But the great majority of Americans can and do hibernate their way through life. In fact their hibernation is so deep they think they are fully awake when in fact they are just sleep-walking through life. There is little joy or happiness in them, just the empty motions of going about the business of being alive. Oh sure, they try to fill their lives with hobbies and activates that bring them the illusion of living but just how much time do they have for happiness?
Their lives belong to their employer (or their business if self-employed). They sold their time and life’s-energy in exchange for money which is nothing but little pieces of paper that are an IOU promising them happiness. Of course the little piece of paper couldn’t do anything for them directly, they could burn it and stay warm very shortly, but otherwise it has no other value at all.
No, the only value in the little pieces of paper is to buy you things and a shelter to warehouse those things. But that rises a critical question, “Do those things and having a shelter to store them in make you happy?” Sadly, none of us know for sure because we have to keep selling our time in order to buy more things and to pay for the house to store them in; how could we know, we’re never there to use them?
And even if you ever were there in the house, does anyone really believe that those things will make you happy? If they did make you happy, wouldn’t you stop longing for and buying new things? And yet we never escape the desperate hunger for more, newer, bigger and better things. In fact the old things usually end up in the trash very quickly because they failed to bring us the promised happiness. “But, this new thing, that’s the magic ticket! I’ll finally be happy when I get it. But, it’s expensive, so I may have to go deep into debt to get it and then take a second job to pay for the debt. But it will be worth it to finally be happy!”
The insanity of that thinking completely escapes us because we are hibernating our way through life. We are sleep-walkers, going through the motions of living in a dreary fog of work~
eat~sleep ~buy … work~
eat~sleep ~buy … work~
How could we have possibly ended up like this? Is there any way to break out of the dream and become fully alive and awake?
It’s very difficult to wake up! You see our entire society is designed around keeping you a sleep-walker. Every element in the American Dream acts as a tranquilizer to keep you calm, controllable and mold-able.
Fear: You are bombarded by messages of fear warning you of the tremendous danger constantly lurking everywhere around you, ready to pounce on you. Practically all of it is grossly exaggerated, you are in no real danger, but because of the fear in your heart, you are happy to sleep-walk through life in order to avoid seeing the imaginary terrors that are all around you! Better to be hibernating with my head in the sand than torn apart by night terrors!
Advertising: Every day each of us are bombarded by hundreds or even of thousands of ads. all of them scientifically crafted to increase your longing for more and better new things. That hunger and craving for more stuff ties you to your job every bit as certainly as chains tied the slaves to the Masters Plantation.
Education: Every minute you spend in school had one goal, warping your clean pure mind into that of a brain-dead productive citizen. You had to be smart enough to handle the slave job that you would end up in, but not smart enough to risk you waking up from your hibernation. So the virtues of conformity were placed in front of you constantly—you were bombarded with messages every moment of every day with the supreme importance of traditional values.
Distractions: The greatest risk to the well-oiled machine we call society is that your unhappiness will become so great that you might rebel against it and actually seek some happiness. That must be prevented at all costs! Force won’t work so you need to be kept so distracted that you won’t notice your discontent. So just like the Romans watching the Gladiators, your life is filled with constant, pleasant distractions.
- Sports: are the direct equivalent of the Gladiators except the blood is kept to a minimum. But we all keep watching and hoping to see some, and eventually we do–just never enough.
- Hobbies: How many Americans use hobbies on their day off from work to make their lives bearable—an incredible number! It can be anything from gardening, hiking, camping, building things, arts and crafts, the possibilities are endless—just so long as for a few hours I can disappear from the drudgery of my life.
- Drugs and addictions: Addictions come with many faces, some are ugly and vile but others are beautiful and appealing, but each of them are intended for one sole purpose, to get us through another miserable day in our tedious, dreary, monotonous lives. The number and variety of addictions we use is staggering! Many are legal addictions like 1) tranquilizers 2) alcohol 3) compulsive eating 4) compulsive shopping 5) compulsive sex and love 6) compulsive working and success 7) compulsive gambling 8) and adrenalin junkie. And then there are the illegal addictions like drugs, prostitution, stealing and crime. No matter if they are pretty or ugly, they are all the same thing.
A Test to See if You are Awake
How do you know if you are hibernating through life? You seem to be fully awake but if you are sleep walking, you’d think you were awake even when you weren’t. So I propose a very simple test that is based on one of my favorite quotes:
“You’ve got a lot of choices. If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you’re not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice.” Steven D. Woodhull
Answer these questions as honestly as you can:
- Do you dread work days and the only bright spot in your life are your days-off and vacations?
- Do you look forward to every new day, month and year; or just endure it until the mythical “golden years” get here and you can finally be happy?
- Are you smiling on a regular basis? I don’t mean when you seek out mindless distractions to try to endure another grinding, miserable day. Anyone can smile when you go to a comedy show or ride a roller coaster.
- Are the only good things in your life your various distractions? The mere fact you need to seek them out to put a smile on your face should tell you something very important.
- How often does a spontaneous smile come to you as you are doing your daily routine? Just a simple, little grin at how good and happy your life is! And I don’t mean on an especially good day when something goes really right, anyone can smile then. No, on just another day with nothing special going on, just a small feeling of joy will well up from deep down inside you and you think to yourself, “Man, I have a really good life.” In the first 40 years of my life, that never once happened to me—I mean never! In the last 8 years of my life, it happens on a very regular basis! What made the difference? I woke up from my hibernation!
If you don’t like the answers you are getting from this test, isn’t it time for a change? You really do have other choices!
Just like in the quote from Anias Nin at the top of the page, it took a shock to wake me from my hibernation. In my case it was a divorce that rocked my world and forced me into living in a van. That was enough to rattle me awake and forced me to confront my own misery—and do something about it. I was confronted by a terrible choice, wake up and live or lay down and die. It was a very hard and painful choice, but I decided I would live. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but now I’m so glad I did!
Today, an incredible number of Americans are waking up and becoming aware that they have been hibernating their whole lives. They are suddenly aware that they’ve been sleep-walking and their lives are empty, shallow and meaningless. They are nothing but wage-slaves, drones in a hive making someone else rich while they barely survive month to month. I see it every day on my website, forum and Youtube Channel. People come to me hungry for a change, searching for a choice and a new way to live–because they can’t endure the old one any longer.
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. ~Henry David Thoreau
What happened, what has caused all these people to wake up?
In 2008 when the world economy slid into a deep recession, the resulting chaos sent a shock wave across the whole planet, but it was especially bad here in the USA. Suddenly the fragility of our lives was made crystal clear to all of us. Millions of Americans lost their jobs, their savings and then their homes. Suddenly the American Dream was revealed for what it really was, a Nightmare. The extremely weak recovery that we are in is the continuing shock wave that is waking people up. Their lives have turned bad and there is no hope for a better future. The fear and distraction that are supposed to numb us to the truth are no longer working, it’s finally dawning on the general public, “Is this as good as it gets? There must be a better way!”
There is a Solution
“It is very important that you only do what you love to do.
You may be poor, you may go hungry, you may lose your car, you may have to move into a shabby place to live, but you will totally live.
And at the end of your days you will bless your life because you have done what you came here to do.
Otherwise, you will live your life as a prostitute, you will do things only for a reason, to please other people, and you will never have lived…
and you will not have a pleasant death.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
The solution is very, very simple, refuse to do anything that you don’t love and doesn’t make you happy! We each need to throw off our indoctrination and begin to do only what we love to do instead of what we are told to do. Of course balance is required, you must always do some things you don’t want to do like, 1) brush your teeth and go to the dentist, 2) get some kind of exercise, 3) be nice to people you don’t really like, 4) pay your taxes and 5) work to make some money. Let me summarize:
- You always have to do temporary, short-term, less-pleasant things.
- But you must reject life-dominating things that rob your soul of all it’s joy.
So what am I saying? Do we only do things we love or don’t we? Here’s the point, don’t do life dominating things that you hate. When I lived a “normal life” I hated nearly everything about it and liked only a few, tiny aspects of it. We must reverse that!! I still have to do some things I dislike, but mostly I love my life.
Most of your life should be spent doing things you love!
The minimum amount of time should be doing the few things you must do but dislike.
If you’re reading this post, chances are what you love to do is travel and have adventure—so do it! Sell all your worthless crap, buy a van or RV and hit the road. Most of your life will be drastically happier even though you still have to brush your teeth, get exercise and work at seasonal jobs. There is no such thing as perfect freedom, each of us needs to make some money and do some planning for our future, so you will still have to work and make money somehow.
But even as you are working your seasonal job, you’ll know it’s only temporary. Maybe you can work 3-6 months a year and because you live so cheaply, have plenty of money to live the other 6-9 months. Some people work a full year, then take a year or two off with no work. How much better will you life be then!! Hopefully, you can find a job you love, or at least actually like. I really enjoyed being a campground host and I had many moments of spontaneous joy doing it! Smiling was a genuine and regular part of it!
No, your life won’t always be easy or fun or even pleasant—sometimes it may be terrible. But you’ll be alive and awake and you’ll feel pain and joy, sorrow and exhilaration. Only the sleeping or the dead never feel those things!
But best of all, on a regular basis a sense of joy will bubble up from deep within you that brings a big smile to your face, and you’ll spontaneously say, “Man, do I love my life!”–that’s worth whatever the cost!