On a brisk morning walk through the Ontario suburbs the other day I happened across a set of swings. Beckoning me seductively across a snow splattered park, I couldn’t resist a quick swing; after all it had been years since I’d last had a swing. As I traversed the snowy green I felt a little twinge of maturity, a voice that suggested I was just too old for this, that without having had breakfast it would make me sick and that I wouldn’t enjoy it and it would ruin my memories. Drowning out my adult argument with a childlike zeal I, feeling quite sheepish, sat down and kicked off. It was within the ensuing enjoyment that a thought hit me.
Simple pleasure, such as that derived from swinging on a set of swings, is something that is accessible at any age; The reason for this being that it reveals a joyful facet of our ageless self. Our soul is stimulated, and this kind of stimulation is something that cannot be bought and cannot grow weary with time.
Further to this, our adult anxieties are all manifestations of a fear of the objective realities that reveal themselves in adulthood. All these fears are wholly centred on material necessities and promises. One worries about the rent, the bills, work, tax.. And the list can seem at times almost infinite. All of these worries however, are of material proportions. Our material being, as our material needs, ages with time. To one pursuing solely material ends, therein lies the ultimate suffering. One will always die, one will always feel unfulfilled as one cannot have every material possession that exists. In a material sense, we are doomed to grow old and die.
Within a more soulful perspective however there is found a simple solution to this perspective problem. The reason why swinging is still fun at the age of 26, 46 or 106 is because it stimulates our soul. Unlike our material being, our soul is ageless and cannot therefore grow old. It is for this reason that a life focused on fulfilling the soul is a life that can promise far greater joyful rewards than one pursuing material ends.
(Photo – Eli Woodbine, Suburbs, Ontario, 2016)