Are You Sleepwalking Through Life?
Have you ever heard the statement, “sleepwalking through life”? There are times in my life where I feel this way. Sometimes I believe it’s a self-preservation tactic and other times it’s just plain ignorance. So exactly what is “sleepwalking through life”?
Wikipedia describes sleepwalkers as arising “from a slow wave sleep stage in a state of low consciousness and perform activities that are usually performed during a state of full consciousness. Sleepwalkers often have little or no memory of the incident, as their consciousness has altered into a state in which it is harder to recall memories.”
Using this as an analogy for life are there times in your life where you “sleepwalk through life”?
Have you ever driven home from work and as you drove into the driveway you wondered, how did I get here? Your mind was so preoccupied with the stress of the day, the “to do” lists, or the most recent problem, that you didn’t pay attention to your drive home. You were on auto-pilot and it was as if the car took over and brought you home. It’s as if you were “sleepwalking”.
This is the way some of us live life. It’s easier to “sleepwalk” through life than it is to awaken and pay attention to what’s really going on. One way we can tell if we’re sleepwalking is to look at our anger and frustration. How aggressive are you in everyday life situations?
Do you get aggressive when someone challenges skills, actions, or behaviors? This aggression is a defense mechanism to keep your persona or ego intact. It is very difficult to cross the bridge into an awakened world. This passage is very painful, humbling, and leaves you with a feeling of deep vulnerability. It’s no wonder people choose to continue to “sleepwalk through life”, it’s easier. So why would a person want to go through the emotional pain, suffering and loss? Because true peace and joy lay on the other side of the suffering.
When there is conflict in your life do you ever feel confused with a little disorientation? This is common for the sleepwalker. When conflict arises we look for ways to blame others. If the other person would just understand, or they are being so stubborn. It’s always someone else’s fault. There’s an old saying, “It takes two to tango” and this is true in conflict. It takes two or more people to create a conflict. So, where the other person in the conflict has some blame, so do you.
We get angry because the conflict challenges some insecurity we have within our deepest self. We’ve kept it hidden through our “sleepwalking”. If we want to solve the conflict we need to look at these insecurities, name them, understand them and take ownership. Naming, understanding, and taking ownership allows us to cross the bridge into an awakened life.
There are times when “sleepwalking through life” is a self-preservation tactic. During these times it’s ok to consciously make the choice to numb yourself towards life. However, this is a temporary tactic. If we feel like it’s the norm for life, then it’s time to make a change. It’s time to wake up and start to smell the roses.