There are times in our lives when we all feel restrained by some confining state that limits our freedom or capacity to function as autonomous beings. Whether they are short or long term moments of incarceration it can incapacitate us on so many levels. The claustrophobia that exacerbates our anxiety awakens the flight or fight response, the amygdala in our brain that tries to distinguish between a perceived or real threat to our liberty.
Our bodies then begin to mobilise a lot of energy in order to cope while looking for an escape route from the immediate threat of internment. When we find ourselves taken prisoner by powers that have the ability to overwhelm our sensibilities the will to live begins to conspire with hope in order to create a new trajectory going forward. Sometimes we can misjudge our situation and try to find ways to prematurely alleviate our stress by promoting an imaginary evacuation philosophy that feeds our escapism.
Religion has been guilty of promoting this mentality by demonising the world we live in and suggesting an afterlife alternative that subtly manifests as an avoidance of responsibility towards re-enchanting this world. The real escape we need is from misleading agendas and distorted promises about an alternate home that is better than the place we have. Heaven has become an escape destination and has lost its everyday presence as a metaphor for God-with-us.
Christianity’s goal is not escape from this world. It loves this world and seeks to change it for the better. - Marcus Borg
Escapism is a curse that feeds off of discontent and dissatisfaction with the fragility of our fantastic humanity, a by-product of a comparing and competing culture of one-up-manship driven by a consumeristic need for success. The burgeoning over-expectation of the over-promising culture has caused many of us to over-medicate on self indulgence in order to cope or keep up with the Jones’s.
Is it time to remind ourselves of what the ancient poet said, 'LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places...'
Maybe what I have is enough, good bad or ugly, and I can find pleasantness and security in knowing that there is someone or something working on my behalf to free me from all the false assumptions and expectations that have befallen me.
What I might actually need to do is actually express some appreciation and gratitude for the life that I have and embrace the mystery of God that leads me. When I feel imprisoned by circumstances outside of my control no amount of worrying or anxiety will help free me, so accepting my lot may lead to a new kind of liberation.
'Today I take one long breath in and let spirit fill me again with the hopefulness I need’