How To Enjoy Life (And Stop Chasing Waterfalls)


How to enjoy life?

Is it about being rich and famous with a harem of men or women feeding you grapes while you watch from atop a podium as an elk and a walrus fight to the death? Or are there subtler ways to enjoy life?

I’ve always been a big dreamer. At 5, I wanted to be a firetruck. At 7 a veterinarian. 12 a gangster rapper. 16 a musician. At 21 a documentary filmmaker. I wanted to be a great success. An inspiration to my contemporaries. A paragon to my parents.

See, society does a good job of making you want to compete in the world of things. We sacrifice our autonomy to buy trophies of illusionary wealth, yearn for the approval of people we don’t respect, and like our social media feeds more than ourselves.

I Fell Into The Churning Cogs Of The Grind

The closest I got to a documentary filmmaker was working as a video producer in London for a marketing company. Convincing people to buy things they didn’t need and working for morally corrupt conglomerates such as Nestlé. My days went like this:

An hour cramped commute. Followed by eight hours in a fluorescent-lit room. An hour back home. An hour in a humid gym with more fluorescent lighting. Cook dinner. Eat. Flop on the sofa. Surrender consciousness to the TV. Haul ass to bed. Set alarm. Sleep.

A grey man walking up an endless flight of stairs trying to get to the top. Is this how to enjoy life?

Life had become a drag because almost every second of it was automated. I lived in a perpetual state of unconsciousness. Replaying the same thought loops over and over, and experiencing the same things.

And then one summer’s day, my perspective changed—a paradigm shift.

Boom! Grand Realisation

The day was hot. Lunchtime. The sun reflected white on the slated roofs. I stood on the side of the road waiting to cross. Consumed by thought. Worrying about the oncoming interaction with the sales attendant at the supermarket and how they’d perceive me.

On a conscious level, there was no concern over how I’d come across. I didn’t know the person, and there was no consequence if the exchange went poorly, but here I was wasting energy and attention on it. Who was projecting these thoughts into my mind?

An explosion of realisation. The answer of how to enjoy life is simple.

In that moment, I realised there were two entities in my head. There was The Thinker – The unbridled machine that churns on and on. And The Watcher – The silent knower that watches my thoughts come and go.

If The Watcher knows the thought is fake news. Why can’t I use that awareness and choose to stop the thought in its tracks? Drop the thought right there. Dispel it from my mind before the cogs start churning.

“What a liberation to realise that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.”

Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth.

Bound By Thought

I’d been putting importance on the wrong thing, and it’d led me to a dull cycle of work, eat, sleep, repeat. How engaged did I want to be day-to-day? Did I want to run on a hamster wheel for the best years of my life? Forfeiting my exuberance, watching grey clouds descend until I fall off the wheel depleted amid my wealth and regrets

Thoughts are cyclical and get us trapped in loops.

By increasing my awareness of my thoughts, I became familiar with the cycles they went in and noticed they were often cynical and a poor representation of reality. Collected from years of unconscious living. My life situation was a reflection of my actions, and my actions were a reflection of my thoughts. I was stuck in a loop.

Once there was space between the Thinker and the Watcher, it became clear how to enjoy life. It was available at any time, anywhere, and at no cost.

How To Enjoy Life

It’s the power to be conscious in whatever you do. Not anxious about a previous moment or stressing over a future moment. To be here and now. Fully in this moment.

An illustration of a person with the word "thoughts" popping up everywhere in their mind. Thoughts distract us from the simplicity of enjoying life.

It doesn’t matter what you do with life, if you do it unconsciously you’ll forever be striving for more and in a state of discontent. Notice how you idly check your phone without realising. Unconscious thought works the same. It happens whether you want it to or not. It keeps you inside of a box. Is that freedom?

If the mind keeps pulling up the thought, “You’re not good enough.” How will this manifest in your life? (This is what Hinduism refers to as karma.) Learning to live life in the moment will help to break the shackles of the mind.

So after realising that, my life changed drastically; I found myself free to do whatever I wanted without fear because I knew I’d be happy no matter what I did or where I ended up. In two months, I’d sold my things, quit my job, and left London to travel the world.

Clancy Gilroy, from the Midnight Gospel, clinks glasses with his Mum while watching a vortex twirl in the sky.

My priority switched from becoming to being. I disregarded my standing in the eyes of the world and decided to live life on my terms. For me, that’s writing and travelling.

I haven’t got it completely figured out yet. I have days when I mistakenly identify myself as the thoughts in my head. Realising hours (or days) later that I’ve been living unconsciously. There’s room for streamlining, but that’s part of the fun.

All the love,

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  1. Such a welcome awakening and something we should all read every month, on a rainy Monday. Keep them coming!

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