“The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” -Albert Camus
Camus refers to the Greek myth of Sisyphus, a man doomed to endlessly roll a big boulder up a high hill, only to have it roll right back down to the bottom again, time and time again.
In experiments that test how workers respond when the meaning of their task is diminished, the test condition is referred to as the Sisyphusian condition. The two main conclusions of the experiment are that people work harder when their work seems more meaningful, and that people underestimate the relationship between meaning and motivation. (From Dan Ariely’s book “The Upside of Irrationality.”)
Here are some more quotes from Camus:
Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.
Life continues, and some mornings, weary of the noise, discouraged by the prospect of the interminable work to keep after, sickened also by the madness of the world that leaps at you from the newspaper, finally convinced that I will not be equal to it and that I will disappoint everyone—all I want to do is sit down and wait for evening. This is what I feel like, and sometimes I yield to it.
There is not love of life without despair about life.
The opposite of an idealist is too often a man without love.
Any one of these lines is a worthy springboard for mindfulness practice today.
Here is an audio link for a 3 minute meditation: