<post-dated: blogged on 9/24/07 from previous journal entries>

I walk this path because I walk this path.

I watched TV for four hours today. That’s not a crime in itself, but I had planned to do other things — or if not exactly “planned”, at least imagined I would. But today — for the ten-thousandth time — I passed over opportunities to seek my true desires and instead escaped into fantasy of one sort or another. And when I snapped out of it, I asked myself — for the ten-thousandth time — why do I do this? Boredom? Depression? Fear? And what can I do about it? Not just today, I mean, how do I avoid coming here in the future? Well, that depends on why I’m here in the first place — why do I come here? Answering that — getting to the source of the problem — will enable me to figure out a way to avoid it. But then again, here I am now, today, sitting here thinking about all of this — again — rather than going out and finding my true desires: I should just get out there and live them. But… if I could finally only once figure out why I’m here, then I could break this habit and finally participate fully in the abundance of the world. But… <begin endless loop here>

You see where I’m going with this.

Asking “why did this happen and how can it be prevented?” is typical of how I respond to incidents like today, and it often works out well. At work, it allows me to not only get to the bottom of issues, but to prevent their recurrence. It has literally earned me hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But it’s not always helpful. Unlike work issues, my mind isn’t a buggy computer program where a line-by-line code review can help me determine the exact source of a problem. It’s more like a mass of spaghetti code where some unknown logic from my pre-awareness years can trigger a whole chain of events that I can neither predict nor effectively control.

What is more helpful sometimes is simply to realize that I’m following a well-known path. Escaping reality in some form or another was necessary for some developmental stage of my life. Long ago, it got me somewhere I needed to go, but then it stuck around longer than it was needed: a simple path turned by much use into a deep muddy ravine. Today, my original reasons for walking this path are lost and have been for years: I walk this path because I have always walked this path.

Knowing that is incredibly helpful to me. Knowing that a tendency toward escaping reality doesn’t indicate a fundamental flaw in me, but a response to past conditions, I can move past “why am I this way and how do I change me?” and on to “I am this way; what do I want?”.

I never thought I’d admit this, but asking “why did this happen and how can it be prevented?” can sometimes be less than helpful. I am reminded of the 80’s movie “War Games” where the supercomputer eventually realizes the futility of its Global Thermonuclear War plans by playing all the permutations of tic-tac-toe until it concludes “the only winning move is not to play.” You can’t get out that way.

Sometimes simply climbing out again and again is the only way to build a new path. But oh, it’s hard to let go of the comfort of why.