The Crimson White

Follow your bliss

John David Thompson

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Joseph Campbell, the great American mythologist, wrote, “If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.” To “follow your bliss” you must have your mind clear and be centered.

As college students, it seems that we are frequently more concerned with the future than the present. While one’s undergraduate years are clearly preperation for the next step, it is important not to get so absorbed in preparing for the future, you forget to enjoy the present. There’s always something new to be preparing for. Between summer internships, classes for the next semester, job applications and graduate school applications or simply just figuring out what you want to do with your life, it is easy to become overwhelmed with concentrating on the future.

Our modern world, with its multitude of distractions, is not an easy one to experience the art of being. Therefore, fully living in the present takes a certain level of concentration. That is why practices, such a focused breathing and meditation, are so popular; they help people focus their thoughts and forget their stresses.

Learning to live in the present is one of the most important lessons to be learned. It can free the mind from stress, worry and even anxiety. Many psychologists claim that learning to live in the moment helps to assuage anxiety. Furthermore, by wholly living in the moment, free of interruptions and distractions, you enable yourself to perform at the highest levels of your potential.

Throughout college, students are faced with the task of determining the rest of their lives. In doing so, we often times allow our minds to cloud itself with far too many distractions and other priorities that make it impossible to find you bliss. To ultimately find freedom, and happiness, the ability to center the mind is what will ultimately lead to “enjoying that refreshment, that life within you.”

It is important to remember, however, not to get so caught up with living in the present, that you lose sight of the future. Seizing the day does not mean that you have to party or study all the time. It simply means to make the most of your time. In other words, find a happy, healthy balance.

The Roman poet, Horace, wrote, “Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero,” in English, “Seize the day; trust tomorrow e’en as little as you may.” We can never truly know just what the future will bring. Thus, we must learn to love the present, and make the most of every moment. Enjoy yourself. (It’s later than you think!)

John David Thompson is a junior majoring in political science and french. His column runs biweekly.

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Follow your bliss