Some parts of the Purpose-Driven Life feel like Xanax

by phil on Tuesday Jan 13, 2009 1:04 PM
dlog, secular religion

Last night, I read "Day 4: Made to Last Forever," in the Purpose-Driven Life, and it felt like I was taking Xanax (an anti-anxiety pill).

BTW, I'm an atheist, which makes this all the more interesting.

Before that, in the afternoon, I found myself really anxious about my work options, and I could see my whole evening already laid out: me lying on my bed, analyzing myself to death. I tried everything from "thinking positive" to "bearing the pain" to "working through the anxiety" etc., but nothing seemed to work. I then took a sort of random, maybe from-left-field course of action: continue through The Purpose-Driven Life.

The question at the end of "Day 4" is "Since I was made to last forever, what is the one thing I should stop doing and the one thing I should start doing today?" And so I opened up Notepad and typed in my response to that question. Go ahead, try it. It takes 5 minutes. Here, I'll make it easy for you:

After going through the process of imagining me in an afterlife for eternity, and then speculating about what that might mean, I felt this wave of muscle-relaxation come over my body. The gist of what I wrote down was that I would stop trying so hard. There's maybe three major areas of my life where I feel like I'm just treading water. I find myself really stubborn about aspects of my life. "My life has to be this way!" "Letting go of this would be unacceptable!" But cast in the light of eternity, I asked myself, "What if it's not unacceptable?" "Why don't you cut yourself some slack?" The attitude I felt was that, if I knew I was going to live forever after death, then really I should just be focused on "getting through" my life on earth, rather than trying to make a big deal about so much trivial crap. It seems like the kind of attitude that would also be useful if you were stuck in jail: "Just get through this."

I just really like the idea that five pages of rhetoric can cause the same physical impact that a Xanax would.

(cross-posted on Drunk Log)


Squidhelmet said on January 13, 2009 1:40 PM:

Xanax gives you existential doubt? (I've gotta score some of that)

Philip Dhingra said on January 13, 2009 2:17 PM:

Haha, maybe the physical symptoms of someone who just got hit with existential doubt.

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