By: Ethan Maurice
I'm two weeks into a road trip around the South Island of New Zealand. In my two months here leading up to it, I've been dedicated to reading, writing, and The Living Theory, but the past two weeks I've tried to do the total opposite—to just let go.
I'm naturally an organized, stick-to-the-plan kind of guy. But in the name of adventure and bending against my nature, I've let go of structure, plans, and literary ambitions for a bit. Not just for a break from a year-round focus on doing what I love, but to allow myself to drift in an unusual direction and see what I might discover. Instead of steering, I'm just enjoying the ride for a while.
And what adventure is unfolding before me! Mountains, caves, beaches, alpine lakes, waterfalls, rain, sun, cars, boats, camper vans, cliff jumping, dance floors, police encounters, French people, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have mixed together over the past two weeks to form one of the most memorable stretches of my life to date.
Last week, I helped translate a short passage written in German months before in a friend's journal. A German girl in our group roughly translated it into English and I pieced it together from there. We're rarely alone in our ambitions. I found the passage's focus strikingly similar to mine as I try my best to let go:
"Stop thinking. Start living to live. Does thinking hurt more than it helps? Though our thoughts create, too much thought blocks us from acting. The reality we each live in is just our imagination and we all see reality differently.
We all know the present, that complete focus on the moment. When we're climbing the highest mountains, we have no thoughts of grocery shopping or anything else. We're just present, here, in the moment. It's a feeling of freedom, of happiness.
Countless people meditate to reach such a state of thoughtlessness. A state where you're not thinking, but being. Despite our pride for our human intellect, we would paradoxically be happier if we could just shut off our thinking mind and relax. Without a doubt, it's amazing what we can do because of thinking, but at the end of the day, what makes us most happy is not thinking, but living."