How much do we live on the surface of life?
Sometimes life on the surface seems easier.
Health care on the surface would go for the quick fix. Instead of going to the trouble of making an appointment – or even establishing a long-term relationship – with a family physician, why not just go to a walk-in clinic?
You could just treat the problems that pop up as quickly as you can with a prescription rather than the commitment and work of lifestyle changes. You could expect a professional to solve all your problems rather than learning what you need to do to prevent disease, promote well-being and actively self-manage chronic conditions.
And when you’re feeling old before your time – from the accumulated effects of smoking, drinking, mood-altering drugs, inadequate rest, unhealthy eating and physical inactivity, you could go for the quick cosmetic fix of a tummy tuck, facelift, Botox or fillers.
Exercise on the surface would be similar.
You’d just do what it takes to look better. A young man may focus on muscle building without the cardio, balance and flexibility of more rounded exercise regimes. He may even take the shortcuts of steroids to look better on the surface at the cost of his long-term health.
Dieting on the surface targets weight loss without providing our bodies with sufficient nutrition. We might choose a high-caffeine energy drink to make up for a good night’s sleep.
Relationships on the surface seem simpler. The focus is fun. All of our friends – even our closest – would be facebook friends with a complete preoccupation with appearances.
We’d judge others by the way they look.
We wouldn’t share our heartaches or our deepest dreams. We wouldn’t go out our way to show our commitment or our feelings. We wouldn’t demand the best of one another and say what needs to be said.
Knowing ourselves on the surface would be too simple. We would react and give in to the feelings of the moment, seek to satisfy our cravings and avoid discomfort. We wouldn’t reflect on the origins of our emotions, master them and learn from our mistakes. We wouldn’t grow.
Going to school and work on the surface would take less effort. We’d just be putting in the time day after day. We’d wait for the bell to ring and for the weekend to start. We would do the bare minimum to get by, and we’d get back exactly what we put in.
Living our lives in this world on the surface would be simpler but empty. We would mind our own business, not giving out, away or forward. And when we die, our lives would end having not touched the lives of others. We would have existed but not really lived, enjoyed the depths of human experience or approached our personal potentials. No one would have really known us – not even ourselves.
From this moment on, don’t live your life on the surface.
Dive in . . . live deeply, and love completely.